The heat is on and the outdoors beckon…but for some, the idea of Summer conjures up fear of revealing more of our bodies.

Want to know how to be part of the Body Appreciation Club and learn the secret to feeling happy in your own skin? Discover how to radiate confidence this Summer – and all year round.

Let’s get started….

1) Do your “nutritional homework”

Often the reason we don’t feel body confident is not actually down to our size or shape. It’s because we feel self-conscious that our tummy is sticking out and we feel uncomfortable and bloated. The secret to beating the bloat and creating the appearance of a flatter tummy is easier than you might think.

It’s as simple as starting the day with a cleansing cup of fresh ginger and lemon tea (mix peeled and grated ginger and squeezed lemon juice with boiling water). This will rev up the metabolism and cleanse the digestive system.

Then you need to up your protein intake. This means eating lots of fish like salmon, haddock, and mackerel. The protein in the fish will make you feel fuller for longer and stop you snacking in the day, while the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats will make your skin glow!

You want to find yourself thinking ‘protein’ at every meal and snack. This is one of the key ways of keeping your energy levels (and weight) balanced. Protein-based snacks can include a piece of low sugar fruit like an apple, pear plus a small handful of nuts, hummus, and veggie sticks, or even some nut butter or peanut butter (sugar-free) on toast.

Next, stock up on asparagus, a natural diuretic. In other words, eating more of the spears can help flush out excess fluid and salt from your body, which can help you look leaner and feel more confident.

2) You are what you eat

Carbs certainly aren’t the enemy, and the body uses the right kinds of unrefined carbohydrates – like brown rice, lentils, and oatmeal – to generate energy.

Calories don’t make you feel full – nutrients like fibre, protein and healthy fats do.

Boost your body confidence by cutting back and swapping refined carbs for high-fibre foods like beans, brown rice, and nuts. Instead of white toast and sugary jam for breakfast, toast some tummy-friendly rye bread and eat with a protein-rich poached egg, which will fill you up until lunchtime. For lunch, have a crisp green salad with omega-rich fish

and lots of raw veggies. Then feed your body with nutrients with a dinner of stir-fried chicken and broccoli with brown rice. Alternate your lunches and dinners with different proteins and vegetables, and you’ll soon see the kilos fall off.

3) Try the Toothbrush Workout!

Fitting exercise into our busy lives isn’t always easy. But you can make a real difference to how you look and feel about your body with as little as ten minutes of exercise a day.

For that perfect peachy bum – squat once in the morning for five minutes while you clean your teeth, and again at night-time.

The squat not only helps to create a perky posterior and lean legs; it also works the abs giving you a flatter stomach and bags of summer body confidence. Exercising in the morning before you’ve eaten breakfast also forces your body to burn stored fat.

4) Drink yourself slim

Water keeps us energised and hydrates our skin. So if you’re full of energy and your skin is glowing, that’s one surefire way to feel good on the beach.

Studies have also shown that drinking water raises your metabolism and improves your fat burning rate. And drinking water before a meal can help you feel fuller and eat less. A good goal is to have a 1.5l bottle of water and ensure you finish this by the end of the day – on top of any other drinks you’re having. Ideally, you want to work up to having 2 litres a day.

Not a fan of water? Coconut water is another great option for keeping you hydrated while controlling your blood sugar levels, helping you feel fuller and reducing cravings.

5) Work with what you’ve got

Feeling confident in a swimming costume or bikini isn’t really about losing weight or having a supermodel body. Confidence comes from feeling good about how you look. Choosing a flattering swimsuit for your body shape is key.

6) Embrace your uniqueness            

When you feel envious of what someone else has, be it long legs, a flat tummy or toned arms, you are creating negative feelings around your own appearance, which crushes confidence and mood. Remember: to wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are.

Why not be as nice to yourself as you are to the people you love? Ask yourself: would I say this to my best friend, my sister, or my mom? If you can’t imagine saying something so nasty to them, then why are you saying it to yourself? Rather than use negative language to describe your body and the areas you dislike, pinpoint the bits you’re happy with.

Confidence is contagious so banish body shaming and surround yourself with positive people who make you feel good.

7) Stand up straight

Good posture not only makes you look confident, but it also helps you appear long and lean. Even the most toned women don’t look their best when they are hunched over. And no matter how flat that tummy is, slouching will naturally curve the spine forward, creating rolls on the belly. It can also make you appear inches shorter than you really are.

Posture can even affect your frame of mind. It’a believed to alter hormone levels, decreasing the stress hormone cortisol and increasing testosterone, causing us to feel more powerful and in control.

8) Love the skin you’re in

Being happy and confident doesn’t mean that everything (and that includes your body) is perfect. It simply means that you’ve chosen to accept and embrace life, warts and all. Our bodies were designed to function, so think of all the amazing ways your body has been good to you. Celebrate daily how incredible you are and be grateful that you have a healthy, working body! This is a fantastic exercise that sends a really empowering message to the brain to feel happy and confident.

Love your body this Summer and all year round

Warm regards