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Take charge of your health

1. Physician Make an appointment with your physician every year (your birthday is an easy date to remember). Get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked, and discuss your diet and exercise regimen.

2. Tone to TV An easy way to add exercise to your day: step, march or jog in place for at least 15 minutes a day while watching television instead of sitting on the couch. Increase by five minutes until you are doing at least 30 minutes most of the week.

3. You're all wet Drink plenty of water. Carry a water bottle wit you throughout the day. An added bonus - carrying a water bottle can help tone and strengthen you arms as well.

4. Out of sight, out of mind Hide unhealthy foods. Have easy to eat and healthy snacks available and in front of your refrigerator and cabinets. If you keep eating healthy snacks, you can turn bad eating habits into good eating habits.

5. Cut out cholesterol Eating foods high in saturated fats or trans fats can elevate your cholesterol levels. Pick foods low in saturated fats or trans fats, such as lean chicken, turkey, fruits and vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, and whole grains.

6. Shake the salt habit Lower your blood pressure by watching your salt (sodium) consumption. Watch out for salt hiding under different names, such as sodium sulfite, sodium caseinate, disodium phosphate, monosodium glutamate.

7. Kick butt Stop smoking!! A four step plan that can help you quit smoking: Day one - cut the number of cigarettes you smoke in half. Day three - cut the number of cigarettes you smoke in half again. Day five - cut the number of cigarettes you smoke in half again. Day seven -- QUIT!

8. Shed pounds Carrying extra weight increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes and strokes. To achieve steady, healthy weight loss, start by cutting 200 to 300 calories a day from your diet. Also, exercise 30 minutes regularly.

9. Don't let a set back set you back If you slip up on eating, smoking or your exercise regimen - get back on track right away. Don't let a set back cause you to abandon your new and healthy lifestyle.

10. Great job! Keep a record of your achievements! When you reach a goal, celebrate!!