Spring is in the air, and with it comes excitement for warmer weather and planning those spring
vacations. I love spring for many reasons: the warm weather, the soft breeze, the flowers blooming, and
the longer days. But there are also a few things I don’t love about this time of year: talk about dieting
and exercise to make our bodies “spring break ready” or talk about needing to do a cleanse or detox
from “holiday junk food” This type of hyper-focus on dieting and exercise to “fix” the body can steal the joy from a season that is full of life and fun. Below are 3 tips to help you get your body “ready” for spring in a different way:

1. Start a thought cleanse.
What would happen if instead of trying to “cleanse” our body from foods that diet culture
deems “bad,” we focused on cleansing our minds of those negative thought patterns that
hold us in a shame spiral? Notice those shame-inducing thoughts you have around food and
body and practice re-framing them to thoughts of kindness and compassion. If you have
trouble with that, imagine what you would say to a friend or loved one and practice saying
that to yourself. Repeat after me: “ALL bodies are spring break bodies! And I am more than
a body to be looked at.”

2. Try a different exercise program: Joyful and intentional movement.
Rather than focusing on movement for weight loss or changing your body’s outward
appearance try focusing on movement that brings you joy, energizes you, and can support
you in enjoying the activities you plan to do on your vacation. Maybe you’re planning a trip
to the beach or to a theme park and know that you will be on your feet a lot. Incorporating
a walking routine in the weeks leading up to your trip can support your body in enjoying
those walks on the beach or those long days in the theme park.

3. Eat to thrive not deprive.
Dieting or calorie restriction deprives our bodies of the necessary energy and nutrients
needed to thrive, which can result in preoccupation with food, low energy, moodiness,
decreased concentration, and sometimes poor sleep quality. And all these negative side
effects can prevent us from enjoying that anticipated spring vacation. Eating 3 balanced
meals and snacks throughout the day provides the body with the fuel it needs to be present
and energized on vacation.

So rather than treating your body as a problem that needs to be fixed try treating it as an amazing
vessel that allows you to interact with the world around you. Practice showing your body
kindness this spring with more compassionate self-talk, joyful and intentional movement, and
consistent fuel!

By Julie Mason, RDN, LDN