1. Keep a water bottle with you at all times and drink from it often. Water should always be your drink of choice. To kick things up every once in a while, try adding lemon, lime, cucumber, or a few berries to liven up the flavor without adding significant calories.
2. Look at exercise as a pleasure and a privilege, not a burden or chore. Think positively about the changes regular exercise will produce. Rather than obsessing about your next meal, get excited about your next workout!
3. Eat well-balanced meals and remember that excess calories, even if they’re from food that’s fat free and high in protein, will turn to excess weight. No matter what the latest fad diet says, extra calories equal extra weight!
4. Limit caffeine and exposure to even secondhand smoke.
5. Focus on short-term fitness goals with an emphasis on completing daily exercise.
6. Keep a daily log of what you’re actually eating. This includes every time you grab a handful of chips here or eat the crust of your kid’s sandwich there, and ALL of your snacking.
7. Enjoy an occasional (once a week) “unhealthy” treat, but never an unhealthy week or unhealthy vacation.
8. Enjoy contributing to the health of others by having a partner or friends to exercise with, as well as recruiting others who want to feel better and have more energy. Have a neighbor who’s sitting on the porch every morning when you walk by? Ask him or her to join you on your walk!
9. Avoid monotony by taking up new forms of exercising, or using things that keep you motivated and inspired, like new shoes or great music.
10. Subscribe to fitness magazines to keep focused on health as an overall way of life.
11. Invest in the right tools—good shoes, a portable MP3 player or iPod®, fitness equipment, a new series of tapes, etc.
12. Make it your goal to do some form of exercise 6 or 7 days a week. If some days you exercise once in the morning and once in the evening, even better! If you’re eating right, exercise will fuel your energy level!
13. Don’t compare your body to others’. Instead, work to be your personal best.
14. If your diet is unbalanced, take daily vitamin and mineral supplements for total health.
15. Work to take your exercise to new levels of intensity.
16. Create an exercise schedule the day before instead of leaving it to chance or waiting to “find” the time. If our last three Presidents of the United States can make time to work out every day, you can make time too!
17. Move beyond the boundaries of weight loss and into total fitness. Measure success by the way your clothes fit, not some number on a scale.
18. Stick with eating plans you can maintain indefinitely. Remember that no matter how hard you’re working out, if you’re consuming too many calories, you’ll never see the muscles that lie beneath layers of fatty tissue.
19. Get adequate amounts of sleep, but remember that people who exercise regularly fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
20. Limit alcohol intake to special occasions.