DEAR HARRIETTE: I go to the beach every summer, and I am looking forward to it again this year. I have a bit of trepidation, too. I have gained a lot of weight. As much as I like to sit out on the beach and tan and walk around and collect shells, I am feeling more and more self-conscious about my body. I know that nobody is checking for me like that, but I feel uncomfortable in my skin. I have told myself year after year that I am going to get fit for the summer, but I have yet to achieve that goal. What can I do this year so that I will feel better about myself in a few months? -- Beach Body Dreaming
DEAR BEACH BODY DREAMING: Who says you can’t be successful this year? Make a commitment today for what you can and will do toward your fitness goal, and go for it. Instead of creating a Memorial Day deadline, just promise yourself that you will do something every day. Consider getting a physical so that you are crystal clear about your present condition. Talk to a dietitian to help get your eating habits in alignment with your health objectives. Consider hiring a trainer. You can find trainers online for virtual classes, at gyms and one-on-one at your home or another site. Getting someone to teach you safe methods to strengthen your body is a good way to jump-start your fitness, and it can be a lot of fun. Plus, it doesn’t have to be expensive. The main thing is that you commit to taking action for yourself. Turn your focus to your health and to meeting your own goals rather than pleasing those who may see you on the beach. That will make it easier for you to be successful.