By Dr. Julie T. Chen, M.D.

Every May we think about Memorial Day weekend and we think about the beginning of summer. One of the topics that keep coming up year after year is getting our bodies ready for swimsuit season. Many of my patients want to know how to get ready for bikini season without going on a crash diet.

In response to their questions and in order to help us all get ready for beach season, here are some tips on losing weight in a healthy fashion…and let’s get through some of those pesky fad trends into some real sustainable health changes that will keep your waistline trim from summer into winter.

First, let’s cut through the myths and fad diets so that we can get those questions out of the way. In regards to colonics, I am not in favor of them because our colon is an organ whose sole function is to cleanse. So, on a daily basis, our colon is already cleaning itself and sloughing away dead tissue.

In my opinion, I worry about colonics for my patients because when done inappropriately, colonics may lead to more frequent infections because it disrupts normal colon flora and for those with immune issues, this may lead to more problems. And for those who are aging or have inflammatory issues with the bowel, you may even be at risk for colon perforations…and those can be disastrous and land you in the hospital.

I know many of you are believers of colonics and it helps to “flush” you out quickly and de-bloat you, but a safer option may be to go on a whole food plant-based diet cleanse or even a vegetable juice cleanse instead and allow your colon to cleanse more optimally on its own…without the risk of potential perforations or infections.

This leads us to what I usually recommend for my patients for general health reasons and in order to decrease inflammation in our body. I usually recommend to my patients a more regular and consistent diet of anti-inflammatory components of vegetables, legumes, nuts, water, and fruits (less fruits if you have insulin insensitivity issues or pre-diabetes/diabetes).

For those who want to lose weight, I recommend a mostly plant-based diet without processed carbohydrates with plant-based or lean animal protein on a daily basis. For those who want to prevent disease and decrease overall inflammation in the body, I recommend this anti-inflammatory diet for patients at least a few days every week or month to maintain a healthy weight and to keep your body less inflamed. Whole grains are preferred over more processed carbohydrates, but vegetables are preferred even above that.

So, for those of you who are worried about transitioning into bikini season and beyond, I want you to keep in mind the following:

1. Eat a bowl of steamed vegetables or salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing at the beginning of every meal to cut down on calories from less healthy foods because you will be more full of healthy nutrients and fiber from the vegetables.

2. Drink a glass of warm water at the beginning of a meal or start with a bowl of water-based vegetable soup. Again, this will make you more full so that you’ll eat less of the less healthy foods.

3. Make sure that you keep your portion of carbohydrates from grains to at most 1/3 of your plate or bowl and let the rest be mostly plant-based.

When you stick to a diet that is mostly plant-based, you will naturally be getting the nutrients you need for healthy glowing skin and a trim waist line for this summer season.

Dr. Julie T. Chen, M.D. an integrative medicine physician who is board-certified in internal medicine and is also fellowship-trained and board-certified in integrative medicine. She has her own medical practice in San Jose, CA, is the medical director of corporation wellness at several Silicon Valley-based corporations, is on several medical expert panels of websites as well as non-profit organizations, is a recurring monthly columnist for several national magazines, and has been featured in radio, TV, newspaper, and magazine interviews. She incorporates many types of healing modalities into her practice including, but is not limited to, medical acupuncture, Chinese scalp acupuncture, clinical hypnotherapy, strain-counterstrain osteopathic manipulations, and biofeedback. To learn more about Dr. Julie, you can check out her website at