Lunden Souza: Now's the time to prepare for summer

03/10/2012 1:30 AM

03/10/2012 2:57 AM

So here it is, ladies and gentlemen -- summer is around the corner. I know that the weather in most areas may not reflect that, but it's going to be beach, pool, swimsuit time in the blink of an eye. The time to get into shape starts now!

There are so many things we can add or cut out of our lives that can truly make a difference in how we look and feel this summer. I have been extremely observant the past couple months and here are three tips that I have put together, based on what I have seen:

For those of you who read my blog or follow my Facebook page, you know that I strongly endorse breakfast. I have even said that it is the No. 1 "fit" secret that most people don't practice. Just because it's your first meal of the day doesn't mean that it's breakfast. You absolutely must eat within 30 minutes of waking up for your body to interpret that meal as breakfast. If you wait any longer, your body will start to waste your lean muscle and use it as energy.

That is not something you want to happen because lean muscle is what burns fat, which is something that we do want to happen, right? Have lean protein (eggs) and carbs (oatmeal) for breakfast every day and your body will thank you.

My second tip is to skip the sugar. This means alcohol, those sugary coffee drinks, sugar in your coffee, cakes, cookies, sweet cereals, candy, etc. The more that you eat these types of sugary foods and drinks, the more your body will physically crave them. Cut the habit now, because all that sugar turns to sticky, stubborn body fat that just loves to congregate around the midsection.

So when you go into Starbucks to order your tall skinny cinnamon dolce latte (only 100 calories) or your tall Americano with a splash of nonfat milk, please skip the sample of the mini-

frappuccino. To really get rid of the sugar craving, you have to eliminate all of those things and your taste buds will change.

Foods such as fruit and peanut butter with cinnamon will become sweeter and able to satisfy that sweet tooth.

My final tip is to increase your physical activity to at least 30 minutes a day three days a week. If you can do more, definitely go for it. But make sure that you can master at least three days and then increase from there. Avoid "gym spurts," and make sure you are being active in a way that you enjoy. Feel free to invite friends and family members.

Go to the gym, run or bike with a friend, play Twister with your friends and family, go snowboarding or skiing. There are ways to appreciate life and what your body is capable of physically. It's also important for your mind, which is the majority of the battle.

The real bottom line here is simple: Fuel your body with the things that it was made to digest and it will respond kindly. Don't underfeed or overfeed yourself. Your body works like a machine and if it's not fueled up, plugged in and ready to go, how will it ever function properly or produce the desired results?

The transition isn't always easy, but that's why I'm urging you to start now. It may take a couple of weeks or maybe even a month to get the hang of it, but then you have more time to reach your goals.

Lunden Souza can be reached at lunden.souza

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