By Patrika Darbo

The weather is warming up—spring has sprung and summer is just around the corner. So, what does this mean? It’s time to get into shape. Like many women, I start thinking about ways to meet this challenge without feeling anxious or deprived. Experts encourage exercise and healthy eating—we’ve heard it all. We try it out, get busy, and then try again. It’s a rollercoaster ride, and I’m not having any fun. How about you?

I had to learn what works best for me.
When I walk, I feel healthier and then I want to eat healthier. I take morning walks with my best friend, Reesee, my rescue dog, who happens to be one of the best motivators for me to get outside and get in my daily fitness. (Particularly on those mornings when I am not on the golf course.) As with most women, schedules can get overwhelming, so I look forward to my morning strolls. I also encourage my gal pals, many of whom have kids and careers, to take their dogs for a power walk as a way to become centred, less stressed and stay fit.

Then there is food. As one of many millions of women who are considered full figured, I have tried everything from calorie counting to crash diets, only to realize that most of them do not work. I have always been an emotional eater. The good news is, through trial and error, I have learned what food items help me to stay on course. Steamed broccoli is a great superfood. It keeps me feeling full! Raw pumpkin is great for my digestive system and it works well for dogs, too! Salmon is another food that I eat about three times a week—high in omega-3s. Soy lattes are full of protein and they satisfy my coffee cravings. Yogurt is sweet, filling and gives me probiotics. Plus, when I add blueberries and oats, it tastes all the better and curbs my sweet tooth. Superfoods can help anyone eat healthy, stay full and keep the weight off.

The best way to help keep the weight off is to look beyond the scale. Do you have any inflammatory conditions? This issue features anti-inflammatory recipes that will open up your palette and won’t leave you feeling guilty reaching for seconds. As well, check out this issue’s Allergy Guide for natural options, you might find they help you keep motivated to venture outside without a box of tissues.

Patrika Darbo is a Primetime Emmy winning actress for Acting Dead. She has guest starred on countless programs such as Devious Maids, The Big Bang Theory, American Dad, The Middle and garnered a Daytime Emmy nomination for her regular role on Days of Our Lives. She has also been in feature films such as Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil, Leaving Normal, and In the Line of Fire.

Twitter: @PatrikaDarbo Facebook: PatrikaDarbo Instagram: PatrikaDarbo