Writer  /  Meredith Iacocca, AbundantPlateWellness.com

I hear it like clockwork when I speak to women as warmer weather approaches. School is almost out, kids are getting restless and vacations are on the horizon. But what is the one thing of utmost priority?

“Oh, I’ve been doing (insert fad diet) because we’re going on vacation in a few weeks and I don’t want to look like this in my swimsuit!”

“I’m cutting out carbs because I need to slim down before going to Cancun!”

I hear it All.The.Time.

Insecurity and outward comparison I’m sure play a huge role in making us feel so self-conscious to look our best. But really what do you gain by obsessing over how you will look in that suit? Does it bring peace of mind? Most likely not. And is cutting out entire food groups a sustainable and healthy lifestyle for you? Again, probably not!

Well, I’m here to tell you, you will look great! Probably the only person who cares how you look is you. Instead of focusing on the physical, I want to discuss just a few other things to pay mind to as summer comes along. Things that are not about a diet or a number on the scale but can help you feel energized, grateful and get the most out of your summer.

1. Go Outside for Vitamin D

The sun is the best source of vitamin D we cannot obtain through food. We’ve been fear mongered to believe that even an ounce of sunshine will ruin you with skin cancer, but, in reality, going outside and being in nature and sunlight is good for you! Not only is it linked to helping with anxiety and depression, but it keeps your skin and bones healthy as well.

2. Get to your local farmer’s market

One of the many reasons I love summer is because of the amazing farmers markets we have. Not only is it a great way to support your community and local economy, but it’s a great place to bring your family to learn a little more about where food comes from. The produce you will find there will blow your typical grocery store produce out of the water. Most local farms practice much more natural and organic farming methods that are better on the soil and keep more nutrients in the produce because they are grown free of pesticides and chemicals in soil that is healthy!

3. Invest in a better sunscreen

This may sound contradictory to point number one about getting more sun but hear me out! There is a huge difference between going outside to soak up some rays versus being outside and in the sun to the point of sunburn. Overexposure can be extremely dangerous especially when repeated over and over. But do you know what’s in your sunscreen? Often what we turn to for sun protection is riddled with toxic, harmful chemicals that are just as damaging as the sunburn it’s protecting us from. One common additive, oxybenzone, has been labeled a hormone disruptor, affecting testosterone levels in young boys and even being absorbed into women’s breastmilk. After all, our skin is our largest organ. It’s so easy to forget that what we apply to it can have a negative impact on our health. Instead, look for sunscreens with a Made Safe Seal on them, which signifies they are made without harmful ingredients.

4. Be present

Sounds easy, right? But being mindful to your inner thoughts and creating gratitude for what’s around you can take some practice. It’s so easy to let the negative thoughts overcrowd being present in the moment. By focusing on what’s behind or what’s ahead of us, we lose sight of what’s right in front of us. Which if you think about it is really the only thing that’s important. Your ‘now.’

Health and wellbeing are so much more than the number on the scale. It’s about your mental health, nutrition and overall disposition of your life. Focusing on the minutia of one number brings you nothing more than an unnecessary stressor and a skewed view of what’s important. So, go outside a little more, enjoy what’s surrounding you and eat food that makes you feel good!