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Health and fitness heaven for 2013

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Have you made a resolution this New Year to get in shape? If you are determined to make this the year that you keep those resolutions, we are here to help you every step of the way. To help you get started, just follow these top 10 health and fitness tips.

1. Write down 3 reasons why you want to lose weight

This is the first and most important step. If you don’t know why you want something, it won’t be as important for you to get it. Be positive with your goals. Don’t write down things like ‘I don’t want to be this size' or something equally as negative. This is telling yourself what you don’t want. Try not to write down meaningless things; instead write down positive goals like, ‘I want to look great in my little black number on Valentine’s Day’ – this is telling yourself exactly what you want.

2. Believe in yourself

How often have you admired someone and their achievements and then instantly thought ‘I would love to be able to do that, but I just couldn’t’. We are all human and we all think like this on occasions. But don't limit your achievements by your thoughts. You can do whatever you want to do.

3. Identify reasons and occasions when you overeat

If you think about the places, times, people you are with when you eat, the occasions and reasons why you overeat will become glaringly obvious. Think about it – is it at work, at home, at the weekends, at night, when you are with certain people, when you are alone? Think and ask because the answers are in the questions.

4. Make gradual but permanent behaviour changes

Not an instant step, but a very necessary and a very possible one. Gradually change the contents of your fridge to healthier products, steadily increase your fruit and vegetable portions, phase out those biscuits and treats and make smart choices a part of your everyday life. Healthy eating will become a healthy habit.

5. Reduce your portion sizes.

It is a fact that if we weigh too much we are eating too much. Sometimes we are eating very healthy foods, but we are eating too much of them. So it is vital that we become aware of how much we are eating and that we reduce it. Use a smaller plate, weigh food on your kitchen scales initially so that you know the weight of the every day food items, use the same size of plate for meals so that you know how much food to put on it. We have to get used to controlling the portion sizes and hence the amount of food we eat.

6. Drink water

Dehydration, often mistaken for hunger, can lead to fatigue, slows the metabolism and can reduce our concentration and short-term memory. Drinking at least 1½ litres of water each day will not only help fill you up but can ease joint pain, help your organs such as the kidney and liver work more efficiently and improve the condition of the skin (and help banish cellulite).

7. Always eat breakfast

Skipping breakfast sends a message to your body that you're "starving" because you haven't had food in a number of hours. As a protective mechanism, your metabolism slows down and tries to conserve energy - exactly the opposite of what you want to happen. Breakfast also gives your body the fuel it needs to exercise effectively.

8. Make exercise a regular habit

Exercise is perhaps the secret weapon in successful and permanent weight loss. There is nothing with greater body benefits than exercise. We can start gently and build up gradually - a short walk is a fantastic way to begin or choose some other activity which you enjoy such as swimming, aerobics or playing tennis with a friend.

9. Tone your muscles with weight training

Toned muscles really boost your metabolism and cause your body to burn calories faster - yes, even while you're sleeping, you'll be burning more calories.

10. Look for situations to be active

Park as far from the shopping centre as you can rather than looking for the closest parking spot. Use the stairs rather than the lift or escalator, do more jobs around the house yourself, like washing the windows or the car or mowing the lawn. Look for the "difficult" way to do things - the way that requires the most effort.

When you start putting these 10 easy steps into place, you will start on the road to healthy weight loss this New Year.

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