By Shana Daniel, registered holistic nutritionist

Farewell to lined jackets, galoshes and salt stains on the driveway. Time to turn on your outdoor water faucets, anticipate emerald-coloured grass and embrace the dandelions. Summer is around the corner.

Whether it’s the smell in the air, our circadian rhythms which govern our wake up time to sunshine or the whispers of crickets, birds and the local Go train, there’s something about this time of year which elicits a euphoria about being outdoors. With that, we connect to locally grown produce, plan weekend get-togethers, Google summer-inspired recipes and cringe at the thought of a water suit (albeit bikini, one piece, trunks, thong or a scuba suit – any apply).

Thoughts of instant fat loss, body sculpting and pouring water into your empty Big Gulp cup from the car floor races through your mind. The winter layers have taken their toll and other than an overdue wax session, you have only yourself to look in the mirror while you stand on your bathroom scale in disgust. Sound familiar?

If I had an açai berry for every time I hear my clients go through the explanation of what’s limited their success, well, you can draw your own conclusions. What may seem like the never-ending roller coaster may just have a finality by the time you’re finished reading what resonates here.

I’ve compiled my step-by-step recommendations to initiate your entry into your summer season feeling your ultimate best.

  1. Hydrate. Water is always advised, but let’s be honest – sometimes it’s just downright boring to drink. Infuse your favourite herbal tea bags in boiling water overnight. Let cool, refrigerate and use as a concentrate by adding to your water bottle before your day begins.
  2. Move. A gym membership may not be conducive to your after work schedule. Consider a stroll to the mailbox or a jaunt around he block. Walk? Run? Who cares – just move. Try eating dinner a little earlier and conclude your evening with a dose of fresh air.
  3. Sunshine. Think of those supplement manufacturers who capitalize on vitamin D sales in the colder months. Why not capitalize on it for free? Fifteen minutes – that’s all it takes for your body to produce vitamin D naturally, which allows your body to emit healthy levels of “feel good” hormones called endorphins.
  4. Skin care. Nice skin means you’ll want to show it off, so exfoliate and slather on a naturally derived oil after showering each and every day.
  5. Antioxidants. The powerhouse combo of vitamins and minerals allow your body to be its best. Radiance, immune system recharging and heart health are all attributed to these good guys. Where to find them? Any raw fruits or veggies will do – and even dark chocolate.
  6. Sleep. Your body is hardwired to recovery mode overnight while you sleep. Growth hormone is produced and protein synthesis (provided protein is consumed prior to sleep) occurs. Energy consumption reduction and brain cell restoration are two other aspects equally important. Ensure you’re getting at least seven hours and set a routine which is sustainable.
  7. Compost. Now that you’re consuming more antioxidants, recycle the discards and add it to anything outdoors. A planter, a tree or even a tiny herb garden. Watch the benefits of doing this as your garden specialties bloom to their finest and think back to the parallel of your body doing the same.
  8. Break the comfort zone. You will find the small sacrificial choices you make in the beginning become habit, as your eating choices do too. Be bad! Order a crispy chicken salad instead of that chemical laden fast-food burger. Try a colourful wrap and bake some potatoes instead of wolfing greasy fries and sugary shakes. Be your own personal chef. Try new recipes per week. The world wide web is your oyster for searching all about flavours and foods you’ve ever wanted to try.
  9. Self reflection. This applies to your inner self and outward self. We all have opportunities to look at ourselves at some point in a mirror at any time of the day. Infuse some assertiveness into your gaze. Be empowered with your every new move to be your best self.
  10. Moderate. It’s simple. We become creatures of habit very easily. Little additions and omissions can make big differences. Watch your portions, don’t make a meal out of snacks and add variety with healthier flavours and eating choices you’ve never tried before.

While this may seem to only cover the surface of some underlying issues you thought you needed deeper resolution to, it may just get you closer to achieving the feeling of welcoming your summer with satisfaction that much sooner. I say to every season, bring it on. Race ya’ to the produce section of your local grocery store.