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How to love yourself inside and out

How to love Y-O-U

You've blown your healthy regimen with plenty of indulgences, and now you’re on a mission to berate yourself at every chance. Instead of beating yourself up, put these tips to task and learn to love yourself again.

Woman energized by walk

Summer seems to be all about indulgences. With all the parties, get-togethers, endless food and chilled drinks, it's not hard to forget how many calories you are consuming. And before you know it, you've skipped the gym again to hang out on the local patio with some friends. Slowly the pounds start creeping on and you're not as comfortable in that teeny string bikini as you were when summer began. It happens to the best of us -- sometimes life just gets in the way of healthy living. But it's not all bad news. This can be the best opportunity to pick your self-esteem up and get back into the good-for-you groove.

Tips to get back on track and love Y-O-U

1

Asses the situation

If you've been avoiding the scale because you fear the number, it's time to get over the fright and face exactly what you need to accomplish. Having a good idea of how much weight or how many inches you've gained can provide motivation to work it off (and maybe even a bit more) again. Remember that everyone gets into these situations, so don't beat yourself up too much. Instead, focus on one area you want to target right away (burn more calories or tone up) and hit the gym to do cardio and strength-training to get the job done.

2

Get motivated

The easiest way to get motivated is to remember how great it feels to be healthy, says Sharon Richter, a registered dietitian based in New York. "Remember how great it feels to wake up well-rested, not bloated, and energized," she suggests. Then think about how you're feeling right now -- which is probably not so good. Another great way to get motivated is to include friends on a summer weight-loss challenge. Having a support system always makes losing a few pounds or inches easier and it keeps you accountable to your goals.

3

Small changes make a big difference

It's true, the little things that you do can help you get back into loving your body once again. A drastic change can actually lead to another fall off the wagon. "Start with small, gradual changes such as just adding in one glass of water before each meal and leaving one bite of each item on the plate," says Richter. These little changes will help you look and feel better, clear your thoughts and give you more energy.

4

Ease back into a healthy diet

Eat your last ice cream sandwich and grilled cheeseburger (savor every morsel, though!) and slowly ease your way back into the great summer bounty of fresh fruits and veggies. To help assess the foods you have been eating, Richter suggests keeping a food journal, then adjusting it back to more healthy options. "Then clean out the pantry and fridge of all white foods (pasta, rice, flour), cereals and bars, and processed canned items," says Richter. If they're not in your home, the less likely it is you will want to munch on them.

5

Curb your cravings

After a summer of delights, you might still be feeling the cravings for salts, sugars, and fatty foods. To keep those cravings at bay, Richter recommends filling up on fruits and veggies to keep sugar and salt cravings at bay and to spend some extra cash on high-quality items such as good olive oil (for fatty cravings) and dark chocolate for a sweet treat.

6

Mind your portions

An easy way to prevent bloating and to help shed a couple of pounds easily is to simply cut back on your portion sizes. Richter suggests eating smaller meals throughout the day, so you feel satisfied, but not full. In addition, eat slow so you don't end up overeating before your stomach signals to your brain that you are satisfied.

7

Know that it happens to everyone

Even the fittest models have moments when they let their diet and fitness regimen slide, so don't stress! Stressing can lead to less sleep and even more cravings. To reduce stress and gain calm, do yoga, read, and sip decaffeinated herbal teas.

Instead of kicking yourself for falling off the health and fitness wagon, view it as an opportunity to improve your health, boost your self-esteem, and love yourself maybe even more so than before you added a few pounds. "Just remember, no one is perfect," concludes Richter. "My tag line is: You only have one body, so treat it with respect." Respect your body and it will respect you back.

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