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Things you can do this summer other than dieting

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

Think outside the box

Give up dieting this summer. These 10 non-dieting activities will support your overall fitness, health and beauty in a fun and freeing way instead. As an added bonus, all of these activities may actually make you feel better about yourself than a diet ever could.

1. Take a nap

Ladies, don't feel shame about crashing on your hammock this summer. Summer cat napping can totally improve your performance as a worker and mother, increase alertness and decrease the risk of accidents. Now, those are some health benefits we can toast with fervor.

2. Give up on blowouts

Since ponytails and beach-y waves are great for the heat, summer is the perfect opportunity to give your tresses a break from damaging blowouts and flat irons. You'll be surprised at how glowing and healthy your locks look after just a few weeks of letting your hair air-dry instead.

3. Make out like crazy

Kissing is more than just fun — it's great for your health. Making out can boost bonding, fight illness, burn calories and lower stress like a champion. This summer, pick a guy (or four) who thinks you're amazingly beautiful just as you are, and suck face for a new take on fitness.

4. Drink a super food smoothie

It's so easy to munch on chips and crackers rather than handfuls of kale and chard. Duh. Instead of dieting, make a point of blending a super food smoothie once a day this summer. Fill your blender with a few handfuls of spinach, blueberries, kefir and honey for a powerful energy boost.

5. Love a dress in your size

Purchasing a hot dress in the wrong size isn't doing you any favors. Many women purchase clothing in their ideal size rather than their actual size, thinking that the disconnect will serve as dieting motivation. Unfortunately, it more often leads to disappointment and guilt. You'll be more likely to practice healthy habits in the long-term if you learn to love a dress or two in your real size.

6. Play a crossword puzzle

Your brain thrives on activities like crossword puzzles and Sudoku, so go ahead and indulge. All of those neurons in your brain fire like crazy when you try to solve a puzzle, and people who regularly participate in tricky puzzles are more resistant to dementia and senility when they age than people who prefer to veg in front of the TV.

7. Power through a book list

Reading books can boost your brain power for days, so make summer the time to brush up on your reading list. You'll enjoy a richer vocabulary and a refreshed set of problem-solving skills when you allow your mind to relax into another world.

8. Drink a glass of lemonade

Throw back a scrumptious glass of lemonade for some serious health benefits (as long as you keep the sugar to a minimum). Refreshing lemonade can aid digestion, boost energy and balance your body's pH. Who knew health could taste so sweet?

9. Go fly a kite

Let's say you're exercising a lot and eating great foods. Super duper. However, it's unlikely you'll push past any of your weight loss plateaus until you learn to loosen up and have some fun. Put down the scale and walk away, and instead go fly a kite. Simply stepping outside and playing will mix up your fitness routine and keep your muscles and respiratory system guessing, which is one of the keys to maintaining a healthy weight over time.

10. Take professional boudoir photos

As one final flourish to love the skin and body you're in this summer, sign up for a professional boudoir photo sesh. The photographer will ask you to undress to your skivvies and drink a bit of Champagne to relax, but we promise this — the results of sexy, professional photography are completely breathtaking, and you won't regret your efforts to love who you are today.

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