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10 Motivational Tips to Keep You Healthy

Experts explain how small steps can help you stay on track to meet your diet and exercise goals.

6. Forgive Yourself

If you slip up on vacation and overeat, drink too much, or fail to exercise -- forgive yourself. Don't beat yourself up! Instead, say, "I really enjoyed my vacation," and let it go at that.

Allowing yourself time to enjoy a few indulgences occasionally is OK. If you start to feel guilty for having dessert on a special night out, forgive yourself and start back on your more disciplined program the next day.

7. Never Go Hungry

Katherine Tallmadge, MA, RD, author of Diet Simple, says the biggest cause of overeating is undereating. "People go too long without eating, and then pig out when they are ravenously hungry."

Rigid diets don't work for anyone. Include planned snacks in your daily diet to prevent binges. Make sure you allow for treats once a week without feeling guilty. Have a brownie every Friday, and enjoy every bite.

8. Remember That Change Takes Time

It's easy to see thin people and think how lucky they are. But here's the truth: If a thin person is over 30 -- or even over 20 -- chances are they are working hard at being thin each day.  Learn from them. Find out how they stay thin. Is it through more exercise? Eating fewer snacks?

According to Kathy Kater, a LSW and psychotherapist in St. Paul, Minn., the research on body diversity is conclusive. "Even if we all ate the same optimal, wholesome diet and exercised to the same high degree of physical fitness, we would still be very diverse in our shapes. Some quite thin and some quite big, but most in the middle."

Make the commitment to change some lifestyle habits and allow yourself plenty of time to see your goal. In addition, accept the fact that your body is meant to be a certain size -- even if that size isn't skinny -- and feel good about it.

9. Move Around More Today; Sit Less

Make healthy choices by being more physically active. Park at the end of the lot when grocery shopping. Change your TV channel manually. Take the stairs at work. Go on a long walk with your kids or grandkids. Raining outside? Walk or run in place while watching TV. No excuses!

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