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Women's Health

20 New Year's Resolutions You Can Really Keep

Downscale your expectations and supercharge the results by taking five easy steps in just four areas of your life.
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TAKE 5 for Your Body continued...

Cinch an inch. We're all weight-obsessed, but good health is less about what you weigh than about how many inches you can tighten your belt. The fat that sits around your middle is the most dangerous kind. Experts say a waist size of 34.5 inches or less is the target for women, but taking off just an inch or two can reduce your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems. To trim your waistline, eat less sugar and increase your physical activity, Andersen says.

Dish the fish. Put fish on the menu at least twice a week. "We know that people who eat several servings of fish each week live longer and have less heart disease than people who don't," says Andersen. Salmon, lake trout, tuna, and flounder strike a good balance between high omega-3 fatty acids and low mercury levels. (However, if you're pregnant, limit fish and shellfish to 12 ounces total a week.) Avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish, which contain high levels of mercury.

TAKE 5 for Your Face

Reach for retinol. Many products claim to tighten lines and wrinkles, but the closest thing to a cosmetic time machine is a retinol-based cream. Yes, it really works. "Most dermatologists agree that retinol is the best topical anti-aging product," says Paul M. Friedman, MD, a Houston- and New York City-based dermatologist and co-author of Beautiful Skin Revealed:  The Ultimate Guide to Better Skin. Not only will retinol (or Retin-A, its prescription name) smooth your skin, it will also diminish sunspots and acne.

SPF your skin. Before you coat your mouth in color, spread on an SPF 30 lip balm to protect your most kissable asset from sun damage. While you're at it, don't forget the rest of your face. Apply a sunscreen/moisturizer combo every morning to keep your skin hydrated and protected against skin cancer and premature aging. "It's the most important thing you can do" for your skin, says Friedman.

Butt out. Not swayed to quit smoking by cancer and lung disease warnings? Maybe the thought of a face full of wrinkles will finally convince you. Research confirms it -- smoking prematurely ages your skin. Can't quit on your own? Ask your doctor for help.

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