Summer is here which means if you're anything like me, you have copious amounts of free time. While this free time is probably used going to the pool or hanging out with your friends, maybe you’ve been thinking about using some of that time to go to the gym and lose that weight you gained over the course of the school year. Going to the gym and starting a new health routine can be a little daunting, especially if you’re not motivated. If that’s the case, here are some tips to help you get yourself to the gym and get in shape:

1. Drink lots of water

Make sure to drink plenty of water during the day to keep you hydrated and energized. Drinking water before a meal can fill you up as well and make it less likely for you to overeat.

2. Make working out fun

If going to the gym by yourself intimidates you, find a friend who's willing to go with you! If the gym really isn't your thing, find other ways to exercise that excite you. Whether it’s a hot yoga class you’ve been eyeing for months, or going for a run outside, there are so many ways to get your exercise in for the day.

3. Track your meals

If you're trying to lose weight, tracking your meals is a good way to monitor your success. Apps like MyFitnessPal and Lifesum let you track your meals and keep up with your exercise. Keeping up with these kinds of apps can help you stay focused which means you're more likely to reach your goals.

4. Don’t cut things out

Even though you want to lose weight, you're still human. Don’t deny yourself food; listen to your body. If you really want that piece of chocolate or a handful of Cheetos, go for it. If you don't, you're just going to overcompensate and eat more of something else later.

5. Eat less

Try not to limit yourself too much. Trying to eat healthily can be difficult, especially if you’re living at home and the rest of your family isn't willing to change their eating habits. If you find yourself in that situation, try to eat less. I’m not saying that you should starve yourself, but start off with a smaller portion and wait awhile before you go in for seconds. More often than not, you’ll find yourself full and won’t need that extra helping.

6. No scale victories

If you’re on a fitness journey, try not to stay focused on the scale. Weekly weigh-ins might discourage you rather than pushing you forward. Instead, you might want to focus on no scale victories. Those victories might include things like being able to fit into shorts you haven't been able to wear in months or having something not fit anymore because it’s too big. Focus on how you want to feel rather how much you weigh.

7. Listen to your body

Try to figure out what makes you overeat or skip meals. Once you’ve figured that out, you can start creating better eating habits, which will ultimately help you lose weight and feel better.

These are just some things that I’ve learned from trying to lose weight myself, and I realize that everybody is different. Ultimately, your health needs should be somewhat tailored to your own body, but hopefully, some of these tips can be helpful for your fitness journey!