It's easy to fall into the trap of putting things off until tomorrow or next week or when the weather gets warm but, don't forget that when the weather gets warm, you won't want to be too embarrassed to wear your summer clothes and you definitely won't want to stay swathed in long-sleeved, high-necked winter woollens. The only sensible thing to do is to start your preparations right away.
Start on the inside
Make a few changes to your diet now that it's not so cold that you need to eat stew every day. Swap some of those biscuits for apples, use a vegetarian substitute instead of meat a few times a week and exchange every other cup of tea or coffee for an herbal tea or a glass of water. If you're in the habit of buying a stodgy meal at work, start bringing something healthy from home; you'll soon be feeling lighter and livelier without having to do anything drastic.
Stop neglecting your skin
If you've neglected your hair-removal routine during winter, this is the time to start it again, in case you experience any flare-ups from shaving or waxing. Give your skin a pick-me-up by getting into a good routine of care. Start with a thorough exfoliation every few days; it's easiest to do in the shower, while your skin is completely wet. Follow this up with regular use of appropriate moisturisers: a heavier one at night and a light one for the day before long, your skin will look and feel smooth and soft. As you'll almost certainly be quite pale due to lack of sun exposure, you should use good-quality fake tan products to achieve a healthy glow. Tanning products work best on exfoliated, well-moisturised skin, so you should be in perfect condition for applying it.
Get that body moving
It's all very well eating a healthier diet and having great skin, but it's also important to start moving more to improve your heart and lung health, increase the efficiency of your circulatory system and to tone up your muscles. Suddenly launching yourself into a heavy exercise regime could lead to injuries and loss of motivation. The best way to get back into the exercise habit is to make small changes: use public transport or walk, rather than taking the car take the stairs instead of using a lift or escalator and do some jobs at home that you may have been putting off, such as cleaning out a cupboard or repainting the bathroom. As well as burning off extra calories by doing these jobs, they will stop you from snacking and make you feel better about yourself.
Shake up your look
Since you'll be cleaning out the cupboards anyway, you might as well start with your wardrobe. Be honest with yourself about what you are likely to wear again, whether that's to do with size or style. Hoarding clothes from ten years ago can trap you in a rut and stop you from seeing yourself as you are now; if you can't judge for yourself, invite a friend over to help you to decide what to keep. You can recycle, sell or throw away anything you don't want.
When the summer arrives, you'll be so glad you started to take control early and you can even let yourself feel a little smug as your friends complain about their winter bodies. But, if you aren't the smug type, why not give your friends these tips as well? It's much more fun to get ready for summer together!