Getting In Shape for Summer: A Doctor's Advice

Dr. Cindy Haines Health Guide
  • Summer is fast approaching and everyone I know (myself included) is starting to think about all the fun things they are going to do this summer. For most of us, this means a lot of time outside, perhaps at the pool, maybe at the beach, and definitely with a lot less clothing than we have been wearing all through the winter.


    This gets us thinking: “What kind of great diet and fitness plan can I start now that will have me ready for that itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, yellow-polka-dot bikini (or boxers) by Memorial Day?”

    Well, I would love a quick fix as much as you, but the truth is the results you really want (the long lasting and healthy kind) are those you get the old-fashioned way. But what about those deals we keep seeing on TV? You know, the ones where they promise results in just weeks? My advice: think twice.

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    As long as there are people who need to lose weight, there will be people selling expensive and/or complicated diet or exercise programs to them. Many of the well-known programs that we are hearing about may very well assist you in your weight loss endeavors; however, I have found that commercialized plans often fail in the long run. People tend to slip back into their old routines after a certain amount of time, unable to make radical lifestyle changes stick. While a formal diet or exercise program may aid in one’s resolve towards achieving a weight loss goal or motivate one to make changes in their lifestyle, such formalities are not necessary and may end up sabotaging your progress.  Too radical plans may be unrealistic or, even worse, unhealthy in the long run.


    I prescribe getting back to basics and focusing on a healthy routine that one may adopt and maintain for life. For all the hype with high protein, low or no carbohydrate, liquid diets, weight loss surgery, and fasting, there remains no substitute for the basic regimen of eating fewer calories than you expend. What this means is you must eat sensibly and exercise regularly. True, it is not a glamorous or high profile plan, but following this advice will save you plenty of frustration and energy, as well as keep your cash in your wallet. Of course, prior to starting any new fitness routine, you should have a complete check up with your doctor. 


    Moderation is the key with anything in life and the same holds true for diets and exercise programs. If you have a craving for something, go ahead and indulge, assuming that most days you continue to follow your healthy regimen. And with exercise, while you should strive to engage in rigorous activity more days than not, it is just as important to schedule some off days to let your body rest. I think you will find that as you gradually change your ways to incorporate healthier choices and habits, you will crave less nutritious selections less often and miss exercise on days you take off. If you faithfully track your calories, keeping them in a range healthy for you, and exercise regularly (preferably every day for at least 30 minutes), and are still unable to lose weight, I recommend that you revisit your doctor to give you a complete physical which may uncover a medical condition such as an under-active thyroid or insulin resistance syndrome (pre-diabetes) which may require treatment with medication. 

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    There are many paths to take in the quest for weight loss. Believe me, if there was a magic pill or one magical super-quick routine, I would be the first in line! But truth be told, it all goes back to the basics. If you follow a healthy diet making sure to watch your calories and exercise regularly, you will be rewarded with a weight that is right for you, no special plan required. Enjoy your summer!


Published On: April 02, 2007