What is it about the prospect of sunshine and exposing more flesh than usual that get’s us all in a tizz? Magazines and websites go into over drive all telling us how to achieve that perfect bikini body. Well I’m calling bull shit on it all, sorry but apart from a handful of good features most of them are just offensive!

However, I do totally get why a lot of us want to focus on our bodies and feel more confident at this time of year, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to feel your best. I just don’t believe you have to do that in a negative way that involves depravation and hating on yourself in the process.

Many years ago I set myself a Summer Confidence Challenge and looking back on that now I’m quite impressed with how I approached it! Many of my tips today are along the same lines and I believe the key to feeling truly confident in yourself and your body at this time year requires a much more holistic approach and an understanding that you aren’t going to drop 3 stone in two weeks, sorry. If you did I am telling you now you’d feel crap at the end of it anyway!

Here are some ideas for helping your feel more confident going into the summer time…

Focus on simple solid healthy habits without extremes

I’m taking starting the day with warm water and a squeeze of lemon, staying hydrated during the day with lots of water and eating plenty of raw green veggies. These things can work wonders, not only for your skin, but also your body. Remember you might not see a difference on the scales, but just increasing light raw vegetables in your diet can debloat you. If you find that too many veggies do the opposite for your body, try juicing them to remove the fibre, blending them to make them more digestible or lightly cooking them. My beat the bloat tea could also be worth a try. Focus on good proteins and fats like salmon, mackerel, chicken and turkey and try having a tablespoon of coconut oil each day for it’s wide range of health benefits. 

And yes, green smoothies are ace! Try having a green smoothie, green juice (if that suits your digestive system better) or a big salad once a day.

Dry skin brush or exfoliate and moisturise

Dry skin brushing will improve circulation, help the body to remove toxins and leave the skin looking smoother and brighter as will exfoliation, check out my ‘recipe’ for a lemon olive oil body scrub. Using a good moisturiser, maybe even a good oil like coconut oil, will help your skin to feel supple and look more luminous!

Fake tan

I know they may be packed with chemicals (although I have my eye on this one from Green People) but a bit of fake tan can make a huge difference to how you feel! I’ve kind of got used to white leg syndrome,and generally I don’t mind embracing the pale, but some light (not dark, you aren’t a member of a reality TV show!) fake tan can give you a bit of a glow.

Get a manicure and pedicure or do a one for yourself at home

I instantly feel better and more confident with my nails done! Go for a nice bright colour like coral, hot pink or turquoise. 

Start working those muscles

Starting some strength training using either body weight movements or weights can make a big difference in a fairly short period of time. Again, this is less about weight loss and more about body shape. Make sure you eat something containing protein after your strength training to maximise muscle building and therefore tone and shape. 

Buy a new swim suit that really works for your shape

I have been stood in many a dressing room wearing some bloody string bikini that barely covered my nipples looking like a strung up joint of beef too many times to count, and let me tell you it’s depressing as hell. There are some absolutely gorgeous swim suits out there and you should be able to find something you feel good in without having to resort to a tent like cover up. Personally for my shape I love vintage style swim suits with low cut legs and a halter neck fastening, as well as high waisted bikini bottoms and fuller cupped bikini tops. 

Give your head a talking too

This is the hardest thing of all, but we are really our own worst enemies when it comes to feeling good about ourselves. There’s no magic wand you can wave that will a) give you a ‘dream’ body or b) make you love the one you have instantly, so something has to shift. Life is too short! I think we can start by giving ourselves some perspective, I always try and avoid comparison, even if that means being more careful about the images I’m exposed to. Try creating a positive inspiration board full of images that make you feel good about yourself for the summer ahead. Remind yourself that celebs and models are airbrushed anyway, and most people that see you are more bothered about how they look to make any judgement on your body. Even if they did, why does their opinion count? Why give a shit? Life is too precious to be wasted away feeling crap about yourself when the sun is shining!

Life is here to be lived and enjoyed, so get down to the beach, eat the ice cream, but also eat the watermelon and fresh fruit too ;-)

How do you feel heading into the summer? Are you off on holiday anywhere nice this year? Go on make me jealous! Do you change your healthy living habits at this time of year?