Healthstyles: Don’t get in shape for swimsuit season

Yes, you read that title correctly. I’m advocating not getting in shape “in time” for swimsuit season. Needs explanation, huh?

Both the internet and the print media are rife with ways to get summer-ready fast, with some guaranteed weight-loss results in less than a week. I worry, however, that a good chunk of these quick-result methods are harmful and  destined to put their users on a spin-cycle of yo-yo weight fluctuations.

While the promise of pool-side lounging can make anyone think of their figures—“Hey, didn’t this swimsuit fit last year?”—I like to use the season as a way to re-focus on fitness and good health, rather than hurriedly changing body shape at any cost. So, when talking about summer fitness expectations, here are some of the “don’ts” and “do’s” that I try to live by.

And now for the do’s.

  • Do seek professional medical advice before beginning a new fitness or eating plan
  • Do tweak an existing fitness plan for the season, for example by incorporating more toning exercises…and not be bummed if it doesn’t seem to make a difference.
  • Do tweak an existing eating plan to compensate for the summer; for example by drinking more water or eating seasonal vegetables.
  • Do be realistic about when results will appear. With my present regimen, I saw results within six weeks, close friends saw results in eight weeks, and erstwhile acquaintances saw results at about 12 weeks.
  • Do be realistic about what shape or size is to be achieved. Not everyone is going to look like that photo-shopped model on the internet. After all, thanks to Photoshop, even that model doesn’t look like that in real life.

And the don’ts:

  • Don’t resort to any diet that is really just disguised anorexia. For most people, this is any diet of less than 1,200 calories a day (your doctor can tell you where this threshold lies for you.)
  • Don’t resort to any diet or supplement that is really just disguised bulimia or dehydration. This includes teas, herbs, pills, etc. that promise to “help” your body get rid of unwanted body weight “quickly.”
  • Don’t resort to any diet that advocates dropping an entire food group out of your diet for a length of time. Even if it’s whole grain carbs. I know, I know…it’s the “in thing” right now, but I can’t see prolonged periods of whole grain carb-elimination as healthy–fiber is my friend.


Neera Siva is a health enthusiast, mom, patent attorney and writer, in no particular order, and a South Bay resident. All opinions expressed in this column are hers and hers alone. Check out her website at