Steps to a Healthier, Happier You

The weather is warm and the skies are blue. It's the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the day. It's also a good time to think about getting healthier.

Simply dropping a few pounds can boost your confidence, help you feel better physically and prevent some of the illnesses associated with obesity, such as heart disease, stroke and some cancers.

So how do you get on the healthy track? Follow these tips for success.

* Modify your diet to include more lean protein, fruits and vegetables. The goal should be to eat these foods at every meal. They're a smart way to fill up without consuming excess calories. Plus, they're full of the fuel your body needs to be healthy.

* Keep a food diary. A food diary can make you more aware of what you are consuming on a daily basis and where you may need to scale back. Studies have indicated that those who write down what they eat in a journal tend to lose more weight than those who don't.

* Stay hydrated. You should aim to drink eight glasses of water per day for optimal health. Drinking water is also a good way to feel full without doing unnecessary snacking.

* Make exercise fun. Vary your activities and have a friend join you in your exercise routine. If exercise is fun, you're more likely to stick with it.

* Indulgences are okay once in a while. If you deprive yourself of your favorite foods all of the time, you will have a greater craving for them. Therefore, have that dessert or special meal on occasion. Just don't overdo it all of the time.

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