There's no rpoof diet drinks causes weight gain

DO YOGA PANTS AND DIET DRINKS MAKE YOU FAT?

This post was originally written as a guest blog for TheSkinnyOnLowCal.org. You can read the original post here.

Have you noticed how many more people are wearing sweatpants, yoga pants or leggings instead of jeans these days? If you have, or are among those who have made the switch, it is a growing trend. According to one market report, jean sales have been declining for the last three years while sales of “active pants” have been on the rise.

What you also may have noticed is that not everyone wearing athletic attire looks like they spend a lot of time in the gym. Do you suspect that their trendy new attire has made them gain weight?

Probably not.

My guess is that while it’s nice to be in fashion, the elastic waist bands and stretchy fabrics are very forgiving for anyone who has put on a few pounds and doesn’t want to buy bigger clothes.

This observation reminded me of another common misperception that isn’t as easily debunked. Many people believe that diet drinks can lead to weight gain because so many of the people who regularly drink them are overweight. But what we really should be asking is, which came first — the excess weight or the diet drink?

While there may be an association between wearing yoga pants or drinking diet beverages and being overweight, the behavior didn’t cause the problem. Overweight people may simply be more comfortable wearing yoga pants and may drink diet beverages to help them reduce their caloric intake.

There is no evidence of cause and effect here.

That’s an important point to keep in mind whenever you see headlines that proclaim an association, correlation, relationship or link between a population and a particular behavior or food choice. So if you happen to drink diet soda or wear sweatpants, you’ve got nothing to worry about. And if that active wear makes it easier to get more exercise, that’s even better!

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN is a registered dietitian and cultural anthropologist whose 30+ year career includes maintaining a busy nutrition counseling practice, teaching food and nutrition courses at the university level, and authoring 2 popular diet books and numerous articles and blogs on health and fitness. Her ability to make sense out of confusing and sometimes controversial nutrition news has made her a frequent guest on major media outlets, including CNBC, FOX News and USA Today. Her passion is communicating practical nutrition information that empowers people to make the best food decisions they can in their everyday diets. Reach her on Twitter @EverydayRD and check out her blog The Everyday RD.`

 

 

Calories, nutrients in food, physical activity and more can all be tracked using new online tool

Keeping Track of Food, Calories & Fitness Just Got Easier!

CALORIES, NUTRIENTS IN FOOD, PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MORE CAN ALL BE TRACKED USING NEW ONLINE TOOL

This blog was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated in July 2013, but you can read the original post here.

Have you been eating more fruits and vegetables? If so you can credit the USDA and its private sector partners for getting out the message to “Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.” That campaign began in September 2011 following the release of the ChooseMyPlate icon, designed to help reshape the nations eating habits.

Now it’s time to take it up a notch.

From January through April 2012 the key message is “Enjoy your food, but eat less.” I love the message because it reinforces the fact that eating is meant to be enjoyed – not something we hear too often from a government program!

The best part about this new campaign is that it comes with a great line up of online tools to help you plan and keep track of your food, fitness and health. It’s called SuperTracker and includes:

Food-A-Pedia – Includes over 8000 foods you can look up to see their nutrient content and make comparisons to other foods

Food Tracker – Lets you enter the foods you eat each day to track your intake and compare it to your nutrition goals

Physical Activity Tracker – Lets you enter your daily activities and tracks your progress

My Weight Manager – Get weight management guidance by entering of your weight and tracking your progress

My Top 5 Goals – Select your personal health goals then sign in for tips and support from a virtual coach

My Reports – Get reports to see progress towards goals and trends over time

All you have to do is login and create a personal profile to take advantage of all these valuable tools and resources. I can’t think of a better way to learn how to “enjoy your food, but eat less.”

Enlightened Food & Nutrition Resolutions include diversity, poverty, illiteracy and human rights.

Become Enlightened with These Food & Nutrition Resolutions

ENLIGHTENMENT COMES WITH KNOWING MORE ABOUT THE FOOD AND NUTRITION ISSUES OF OTHERS

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you can read it here.

I’ve seen my fair share of “diet, exercise, lose weightresolutions as a registered dietitian. Fortunately for me, I’ve never had to make those kinds of resolutions. I just live it every day.

My resolutions are more of the self-enlightenment variety. It’s a continual process to be more aware of the world around me and my place in it.

That’s why I take a little more time to make my New Year’s Resolutions. It’s like buying shoes. I don’t like the blisters that go with either if they rub me wrong.

Instead I walk around in my new resolutions for a while to see if they feel as good after a few days as they did when I first tried them on.

I’ve been breaking in some resolutions for 2012 over this past week. They’re now at the point where they feel right. The next big step is, of course, to share them. Making a public announcement is like throwing out the receipt for a new pair of shoes. There’s no taking them back after that.

In my role as a registered dietitian blogger, I hereby resolve that when writing or speaking about food and nutrition I will:

Acknowledge the diversity of the U.S. population in age, ethnicity and religion as well as income, education and geography – all factors that impact food choice and dietary patterns.

Recognize that the food supply and health care in this country are determined by economic and political forces, not human rights, so until that changes everyone does not get their fair share.

Never forget that nearly half of the U.S. population now lives below the poverty line or are counted as low income when all living costs are factored into their budget, making eating well a bigger challenge. 2010 Census Bureau data

Not overlook the fact 22 percent of American adults score below basic literacy levels, so are not capable of understanding basic food and nutrition information or making informed healthcare decisions. National Centers for Education Statistics.

Are you doing all you can to understand the needs of those around you?

Use these simple eating tips for form good eating habits in the New Year

Eating Tips for Good Health and Weight Loss in the New Year

USE THESE SIMPLE EATING TIPS FOR FORM GOOD EATING HABITS IN THE NEW YEAR

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you can read it here.

Anyone old enough to stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve will probably make a resolution to drop a few pounds in the coming year. It’s one of the top resolutions made in the first minute of the first day of every new year. If it’s on your list, I have a few eating tips that can help you reach your health and weight loss goals in 2013.

The key is forming good eating habits so the preferred behavior happens automatically. A habit is a habit whether good or bad, so swapping out your old way of eating for something new, and better, solves the problem for good.

The biggest challenge is interrupting the status quo. It’s like switching off the cruise control in the car when we’re driving on a highway. Once we do, we’ve got to think about maintaining the speed limit again. The same is true when we‘re making food decisions. It’s not that we dislike every brand of high fiber cereal on the shelf; we just keep selecting the same low fiber one over and over again because that’s what we’ve always done.

But that does not mean you should skip the resolutions when the clock strikes midnight on December 31st. If you’re really willing to leave the old year behind, let this be the year you ring in good health and weight loss for the very last time.

Top 10 Eating Tips For 2013

  1. Pick a start date that works for you. There’s nothing magical about January 1st, or the 52 Mondays in the year, or your birthday. There’s also no reason to wait a minute longer if you’re ready. You can start right now.
  2. Be brutally honest with yourself about what has blocked your success in the past. Do you feel entitled to eat certain foods? Procrastinate about meal planning? Blame others for your food choices? It’s time to deal with those disabling thoughts and beliefs.
  3. Make educating yourself about good nutrition part of your commitment. It is much easier to eat well when you understand why it matters.
  4. Talk about the changes you’re making to those who need to know so they can be supportive of your efforts and so they’ll understand why you stopped eating the way you used to do.
  5. Don’t try to make anyone else change along with you, just be an example for them. You can only change yourself.
  6. Plan each meal and snack around a fruit or vegetable – or both – instead of thinking about the meat or starch first.
  7. If you eat out more than once a month, it’s not a special occasion. Those meals should be as well- planned and carefully selected as the meals you eat at home.
  8. Don’t worry about disappointing others if you don’t eat as much as you used to or celebrate with food the way you once did. Worry about disappointing yourself.
  9. Small changes are all it takes to overhaul your life as long as you make enough of them and you stick with each one.
  10. Make sure you never view any food as a reward, no matter how tempting or delicious. If you’re thinking, “I deserve to eat this,” don’t eat it unless you can say, “I choose to eat this.”

How many of your resolutions from last year did you keep?

Have fun burning calories this fall

Family Fitness Tips for the Fall

This post was written as a guest blog for SplendaLiving.com on September 30, 2014. You can read the original post here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

The added hours we get to spend outdoors during Daylight Savings Time and mild weather that goes with it make it easy to be more active in the summer, even if it does just feel like you’re having fun. Who doesn’t jump at the chance to go for a swim or paddle a kayak on the lake?

Contrary to what some kids may think, the sound of school buses rumbling through the neighborhood doesn’t mean the fun is over. There are still plenty of ways for the entire family to enjoy outdoor activities together now that fall has arrived.

Energy Balance Knows No Season

Maintaining a healthy weight is all about energy balance. The calories we consume from foods and beverages must be matched by the number of calories we use up each day. The problem with most advice on how to do this is it often focuses on getting enough “exercise” to use up those calories. But what if you don’t belong to a gym and don’t have the recommended number of hours per week to spend in one?

The solution is to have more lifestyle activities. They can be things you build into your everyday routines, like walking the dog, or chores you do yourself instead of paying someone else to do, like mowing the lawn. It can also be doing things you enjoy, like dancing. As long as you get your body moving you are helping to stay in energy balance.

Here are 30 Family Fitness Tips for Fall to help get you started.

Parks & Playgrounds

  1. Gather pine cones, rocks or interesting leaves
  2. Climb the monkey bars
  3. Climb a tree
  4. Ride on a swing
  5. Have a scavenger hunt
  6. Hit a tennis ball against a wall
  7. Shoot a basketball and rebound it yourself
  8. Hit golf balls into a field and retrieve them
  9. Play catch with a baseball or softball
  10. Fly a kite

Driveways & Sidewalks & Backyard

  1. Play hopscotch
  2. Draw a mural with chalk
  3. Blow bubbles and chase them
  4. Have a beach paddle ball contest
  5. Throw a football
  6. Hula hoop
  7. Jump rope
  8. Play monkey in the middle
  9. Play bean bag toss
  10. Kick the can

House & Yard Chores

  1. Wash the car and bicycles
  2. Rake leaves
  3. Bag the leaves or pile at the curb
  4. Sweep the garage, porch, patio, deck
  5. Turnover and mulch garden beds
  6. Wash the windows
  7. Shake or beat throw rugs
  8. Paint a fence
  9. Plant fall bulbs in flower garden
  10. Wash patio furniture

And if you want a steaming cup of hot cocoa after your outdoor activities, you can save some calories without giving up the sweet taste by preparing it with SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. Keep a batch of this Mix Ahead Hot Cocoa Mix in your pantry so it’s ready when you are.

For more information:

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

 

Diets don't lead to weight loss, healthy lifestyles do

A Healthy Lifestyle – What Does It Mean?

This post was written as a guest blog for SplendaLiving.com. You can read the original post here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

What do you think is the best way to avoid gaining weight or to successfully lose weight? Did the word “diet” come to mind? If so, is there a diet that you believe really works to accomplish these goals? Most people I know can name several different diets that have worked for them for a while. Then, when life got in the way they were “off” the diet. If this sounds familiar, instead of looking for another diet, it may be time to examine your life!

The simple truth is establishing a healthy lifestyle, not another diet, is the key to losing excess weight and maintaining a lower weight.

Of course, eating right is part of a healthy lifestyle, but all of the factors that make that possible are tied to our way of life. For example, if your best breakfast options are either makingblueberry oatmeal with fat free milk and topped with blueberries, or bringing a high-fiber cereal bar, container of fat free Greek yogurt and a banana to work with you, that means you have to:

  1. shop regularly so you have all of those foods on hand
  2. allow enough time in the morning to prepare and eat breakfast before you leave
  3. have a tote bag with an ice pack so you can take your breakfast with you

Each of these steps is tied to lifestyle choices. Did we make the trip to the grocery store on our way home yesterday to buy more fresh fruit and milk? Did we avoid downloading another movie at 10:00 PM so we could get a good night’s sleep and awake in time to eat breakfast? Did we put the ice pack in the freezer after using it last so it will be ready to take tomorrow? Those are the choices that make it easier to eat breakfast and do all of the other things that help us feel our best.

PRIORITIES AND PAYING IT FORWARD

While this makes sense to most people, many still tell me there aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all. That’s when I remind them that we all get the same 24 hours a day, so why is it that some people with demanding jobs and busy families do manage to strike the right balance? When they’re stumped for an answer I tell them it’s all about priorities and paying it forward.

If your priorities are aligned with a healthy lifestyle you use your time differently. For example, maybe you take a walk after eating lunch instead of catching up on Facebook. Maybe you write a weekly menu and shopping list before going to the store so you’re sure to have the things you need to make the meals that fit your schedule. Maybe you set limits on your children’s activities so you’re not chauffeuring them around every day during dinner time and resorting to a fast food meal. Having your priorities in order can help make it easier to make the right choices.

A healthy lifestyle is also a way to “pay it forward.” For example, no one wants to get sick, and when we do, it can cost us time and money to get well again. By taking the time to get routine medical checkups we pay it forward by reducing the likelihood we will need to see the doctor because we are sick. The same is true with eating right, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep. If we do those things now, we can pay it forward by lowering our risk of developing “non-communicable lifestyle diseases,” such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, which are so common today.

It’s important to remember, a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. Not even close. It means you are making better choices whenever possible that support good health. If you smoke and can quit, that will have a significant impact on your health, even if it’s the only change you make. If you take the stairs instead of the elevator, that will help, too. And if switching to a low calorie sweetener, like SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, helps you reduce the added sugar and calories in your diet, control your weight and stay on track, that’s a good lifestyle decision, too.

For more information, visit:

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

Calories, nutrients in food, physical activity and more can all be tracked using new online tool

Keeping Track of Food, Calories & Fitness Just Got Easier!

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you can read the original blog here.

CALORIES, NUTRIENTS IN FOOD, PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MORE CAN ALL BE TRACKED USING NEW ONLINE TOOL

Have you been eating more fruits and vegetables? If so you can credit the USDA and its private sector partners for getting out the message to “Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.” That campaign began in September 2011 following the release of the ChooseMyPlate icon, designed to help reshape the nations eating habits.

Now it’s time to take it up a notch.

From January through April 2012 the key message is “Enjoy your food, but eat less.” I love the message because it reinforces the fact that eating is meant to be enjoyed – not something we hear too often from a government program!

The best part about this new campaign is that it comes with a great line up of online tools to help you plan and keep track of your food, fitness and health. It’s called SuperTracker and includes:

Food-A-Pedia – Includes over 8000 foods you can look up to see their nutrient content and make comparisons to other foods

Food Tracker – Lets you enter the foods you eat each day to track your intake and compare it to your nutrition goals

Physical Activity Tracker – Lets you enter your daily activities and tracks your progress

My Weight Manager – Get weight management guidance by entering of your weight and tracking your progress

My Top 5 Goals – Select your personal health goals then sign in for tips and support from a virtual coach

My Reports – Get reports to see progress towards goals and trends over time

All you have to do is login and create a personal profile to take advantage of all these valuable tools and resources. I can’t think of a better way to learn how to “enjoy your food, but eat less.”

See my related post: Weight Control, Healthy Diet and Fitness Are All a Numbers Game

Bride, bridesmaids and mothers in different gowns at a wedding reception

Perfect Wedding Dress Designs: No Dieting Required

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, so the post has been reproduced here.

THE BEST BRIDAL GOWN FOR ANY WOMAN IS THE ONE THAT FLATTERS HER FIGURE WITHOUT EXTREME WEIGHT LOSS

Wedding season is here, a dangerous time for any woman in a bridal party. All eyes used to be riveted on the bride, but our image-conscious culture now expects everyone in her entourage to look picture perfect. And there will be plenty of pictures, from scenic location poses to live action videos to the endless candid shots taken by anyone with a cell phone.

As a result, every woman related to the bride or groom, from great-grandmothers to step-cousins, will want to look thinner, firmer, and younger for the wedding. Fortunately, there’s a way to do that without having to starve, sweat, or undergo surgery!

The Non-Diet Way to Fit Into a Dress

When I wrote The Wedding Dress Diet it was in response to all of the calls I received as a consulting nutritionist from brides-to-be who wanted my help getting in shape for their wedding day, or more specifically, their perfect wedding dress. They were determined to whittle their waistlines, tone their triceps, and boost their butts and boobs in order to zip up the dress of their dreams.

My goal for the book was to help newly engaged women of all shapes and sizes buy the best bridal gowns for their figures, then guide them through a sensible eating and exercise plan that would allow her to easily slip it on before the final fitting.

I soon found out this was advice every woman could use before buying a party dress for a big event.

You Can’t Diet Yourself Taller

The first step is taking stock of the things you can’t change and what you can do in spite of them. Choosing the right wedding dress design can add curves where you want them or minimize them where you don’t, all without extreme diet and exercise regimens.

Too Tall – If you’re tall and want to visually knock off a few inches, choose a dropped waistline. Your height will also allow you to wear tiered dresses or those with contrasting patterns and colors that break up the visual canvas.

Very Short – If you’re short and want to look taller, consider a high waistline, such as an empire waist, with the seam just under the bust line to make your torso appear longer. Other elongating options include a column dress in a single shade or with a vertical pattern.

Broad Shoulders – You can make them appear narrower by choosing a draped, wide-collared dress or V-neck, but not a deeply scooped neckline. Also steer clear of shoulder pads, puffy sleeves and halter necks.

Boney Shoulders – Detract attention from them with a high neckline and a simple capped sleeve. Puffy sleeves will dwarf you and clingy fabrics will show every protruding bone.

Big Bust – You can minimize your endowment by drawing the eye away from the chest with an elongated bodice that drops to a V in the center of the front of the dress. Detailing on the hemline, such as lace, will also keep the eye going down. Avoid a dress that is pinched at your natural waistline, a plunging neckline, and any froufrou on the bodice.

If you want to accentuate your voluptuousness, go for a strapless or off-shoulder gown, a V-neck or a high-necked bodice with a keyhole or cut-outs at the throat.

Small Bust – A higher waistline in a dress will give the illusion of having more up top, as will a strapless sheath that has shirring, ruffles, beads or other embellishments over the bust. Avoid plunging necklines, low waistlines and unfitted gowns with no defined shape.

Thick Waist – Look for a slightly higher, banded waistline seam attached to an A-line below.

Tiny Waist – You can emphasize this asset with an A-line dress due to its fitted bodice and waist that flares gradually below the waist or a Princess design that is snug on top with a seamless waistline that flares slightly at the hemline.

Wide Hips – Reach for a halter neckline to pull the eyes away from your hips and any type of contrast or embellishment on the bodice that will keep the eye focused up rather than down. Wrap-around dresses do a nice job of cinching you in at the waist and gently flowing over what lies below the waist.

Narrow Hips – You must take advantage of a flared skirt to convince your admirers that there is more width underneath that fabric than is actually there. For the same reason, avoid straight shifts that have no defined waist, but if you must wear one, belt it.

See my next blog about how to accentuate your best features from the neck up with the right hair style, make up and accessories. You might be surprised to discover what is your best asset of all.

Smiling older woman hugging her black dog

Pets and Health: Benefits of Pet Ownership

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, so the post has been reproduced here.

RESEARCH SHOWS PETS PROVIDE HEALTH BENEFITS TO PET AND OWNER

If you’ve tried meditation but had trouble getting into the zone, I feel your distraction. I can’t sit still, block all my random thoughts and focus on my breathing either. But put a purring cat in my lap while I stroke its fur and I’m in nirvana.

This is all the evidence I need that there is a connection between pets and health.

Don’t like cats? Allergic to fur? Sit in front of a fish tank and see if you don’t get mesmerized.

People and Pets, The Perfect Partnership

Human beings have cohabitated with animals for over 12,000 years. Our earliest motivation for domesticating wolves was to make them part of our hunting parties to help track other animals, but they ended up doing much more for us. Ancestors of today’s dogs were soon valued as a source of warmth, companionship and protection.

Pet ownership has been big business ever since.

Now the American Heart Association says pets, especially dogs, may be associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

The Scientific Statement published in the journal Circulation made it very clear that buying or adopting a dog would not undo the damage caused by smoking, eating poorly and not exercising. It might even add to your stress if you can’t take care of the animal properly. But if you make needed lifestyle changes to lower your risk for heart disease and have a pet, you could benefit more than someone who lives without fur balls under the bed.

A majority of Americans have apparently figured that out on their own. Even though pets require a lot of time, money and effort, they are found in 62% of U.S. households according to the 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey. Dogs are in more households than cats, but cats outnumber dogs since people tend to have more than one.

Pet and Owner, Healthy Together

While the research reported by the American Heart Association looked primarily at decreased risk for heart disease, there are other benefits of pet ownership. Here’s my informal list that is not necessarily supported by scientific studies, but has the endorsement of pets and owners alike.

Structure Your Day – If you are responsible for feeding a pet, providing water and cleaning up after it, you tend to get up on schedule, get home from work on time and go to bed at the same time each day.

Stay Physically Active – Even if you don’t have to walk a dog, you may have to scoop the poop from the yard, birdcage, or hamster habitat; vacuum fur, sweep kitty litter, and pick up toys from all corners of the house.

Source of Companionship – No matter the species, your pet is someone to “talk” to so you never feel alone.

Offer Emotional Support – Being needed by our pets increases our sense of self-worth and their loyalty improves our self-esteem.

Increase Socialization – People who don’t talk to strangers do talk to a stranger’s pet, whether in the veterinarian’s waiting room, pet supply store or walking through the park with a ferret on your shoulder.

Enhance Therapy – Dogs not only serve as eyes for the blind, they assist those with Alzheimer’s and autism and can be trained to detect a drop in blood sugar, some types of cancer and oncoming seizures.

Provide a Play Mate – If you’ve ever purchased a toy for a pet, you know it takes two to have fun! Teasing a cat with a feather on a string, tossing a Frisbee to the dog or trying to get the bird to ring bells in a certain order is entertainment for both of you.

summer grooming involves special attention to skin, hair and nails

Top 10 Ways to Get Your Body Ready for Summer

This post was written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you can read the original post here.

YOUR SKIN, HAIR, AND NAILS ARE LIKE YOUR OWN PERSONAL BILLBOARDS: THEY ADVERTISE YOUR HEALTH TO THE WORLD. SO BE SURE TO SHINE ‐‐ HERE’S HOW!

If your skin, hair, and nails have been hidden beneath layered clothing, woolen hats and thermal socks for the winter months, it’s time to get them ready to show off again as warm weather approaches. Use these tips to look your best when you step out into the sun in your shorts and sandals.

SKIN

1. Exfoliate your body from shoulders to heels to remove dry, dead skin cells and give your skin a soft, smooth glow. While the bathtub is filling with warm (not hot) water, rub your body with oil to seal the dry, scaly patches. Submerge yourself in the water, put a mild-textured exfoliant on a clean wash cloth, and lightly rub it all over in a circular motion (do your face separately). Rinse under a warm shower, pat yourself dry, and liberally apply moisturizer, which will be absorbed more deeply into this new layer of skin.

2. Brighten and tighten your complexion with a facial mask. You will feel rejuvenated as you peel off the mask and remove dead skin cells with it. Plus, once your mask is applied it provides a perfect opportunity to relax for 15 minutes while it seals your skin in its protective shield.

3. Protect your hands from the elements when cleaning and weeding. Your skin can quickly become cracked and rough by exposure to harsh cleansers and garden soil, so wear gloves every time. For added protection, keep some moisturizer where you store your gloves so you can apply it before putting them on.

4. Block the harmful rays of the sun whenever you go out by wearing sunscreen. Replace old products whose expiration dates have past and any that were exposed to high temperatures at the beach or pool last summer, or left in a hot car.

HAIR

5. Condition your hair to prepare for the humidity of summer that replaces the dryness of winter. Those weekly deep conditioning treatments may only be needed twice a month now. And if your hair starts to feel limp or oily, a lighter conditioner may be all you need after regular shampooing.

6. Highlight your hair professionally for a fresh new look without making a dramatic color change. Highlights can also give you a jump start on the natural lightening provided by the sun and be used to make a gradual shift towards a lighter shade.

7. Style your hair for the change of season so it gets a break from the old routine. If you’ve been blowing out your look, try one that can be towel dried. If you’ve been holding your hair back in a ponytail, get a cut that keeps it out of your face. And if you’ve been going straight, maybe it’s time to make some waves.

NAILS

8. Soften your ragged cuticles by soaking your feet and hands in warm water. Frayed cuticles leave your nails prone to infections, but clipping can damage this protective skin. Instead, soak and soften the cuticles, then gently push them back with a washcloth. Then you can blot them dry and apply cuticle oil for stronger, healthier nails.

9. Resume regular pedicures so the stubbly toes and calloused heels that have been hidden in boots are ready for sandals. Make a standing appointment in your favorite salon and enjoy the pampering that only a pedicure can provide.

10. Paint your fingers and toes in contrasting colors to announce spring 2013 has arrived. Creamy pastels, pearlized nudes and colors with sparkle and texture make up this season’s palette.