width=119If you live in one of the northern states, like me, then you've probably noticed two things: The sun -- which hasn't been around for about six months. And the swimsuits, which have been popping up at local stores since January. Believe me, trying on swimsuits under a bright fluorescent light after a long winter buried under heavy sweaters makes it impossible to deny that Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's didn't really happen.

But as painful as swimsuit shopping is, it's a necessary part of enjoying summer fun. Forget those fashion magazines with Photoshopped beauties on the cover ... bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and if we all waited until we looked like supermodels to hit the beach or pool, no one would ever go. Instead, try one of these tips to feel good in your swimsuit this summer, no matter how fit you are.



Find the right suit for you. This accomplishes two things: First, the right suit will accentuate the parts of your body you're proud of and camouflage the parts you aren't. But secondly, choosing a suit that fits well will help you feel more comfortable so that you don't spend your entire time at the beach hiding under a cover-up.

Tone it up. Whether you have three months until swimsuit season or three weeks, start your strength training routine now. Sure, you might not have six-pack abs by summer ... maybe not even close. But those workouts will tone your muscles and make you feel stronger and more confident. Almost any workout will do, but here's a great get-ready-for-swimsuit-season workout to try if you aren't sure how to get started.

Pay attention to your skin: Hey, if a Victoria's Secret model can admit to a little cellulite, so can you. Marisa Miller's secret to hiding those lumps and bumps is some moisturizer and a good bronzer. Skin is huge and there are so many great bronzers... if you have a little glow it really hides the imperfections -- bruises, spider veins, we all have a little cellulite. When y

Skip the chips. Salt can cause water retention, which can make you look and feel bloated at a time when you want to feel fit and firm. Avoid salty and fatty snacks, carbonated drinks, and starchy, processed carbs.

Have fun. It's shameful, I think, to miss out on life because you're worried what other people think. Instead of hiding under your beach blanket, get out there and enjoy a good time (and some exercise) with your friends, partner, or family. After a few minutes, you'll forget you're even in a bathing suit.