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Track Your Progress
Many of us have no idea of how many calories we're eating or whether our diets are balanced until we track our food. Without measuring your portions and counting calories, you have no idea how much you're putting into your body or where you need to make changes. So begin tracking your foods all or most days of the week with SparkPeople's Nutrition Tracker. The format is very easy to use, and you can set goals for calories and other nutrients, such as calcium to fiber. And based on your height, weight, activity level, and goal weight, it even gives you an estimated caloric range (and suggestions for meals and snacks) so you know exactly how much to eat in order to reach your goals by fall. But remember, eating too little can backfire, so be sure to reach at least your minimum calories each day.
If you're unsure of what to eat, remember that foods from Mother Nature are best. Fill up on lean proteins like grilled chicken and beans, fruits, veggies and whole grains like oatmeal and whole-wheat bread, and try to replace soda and other sugary drinks with water. For more nutrition tips, check out the Nutrition Resource Center.
Do What You Love
Now that we've talked nutrition, let us talk exercise. Regular physical activity does wonders for your health: It helps your body look more toned, supports weight loss, strengthens your heart and lungs, improves your mood and even sharpens your mind. In fact, a recent study showed that college students who exercised had higher GPAs than those who weren't as active. Even more reason to keep up with your workouts, right?
A good mix of activities would be a combination of low-intensity exercise that you can do anywhere—like walking—most days of the week with some strength training mixed in every other day or two. Otherwise, get active doing things that you love. Remember that it doesn't have to be at a gym (although if you do belong to a gym, group exercise classes are a great way to exercise and have fun with new friends). Hiking and running are great activities for those who love the outdoors. You can try a wide variety of workout DVDs at home without having to buy any expensive equipment, too. So find something you love, grab a friend or loved one, and get to it! Soon it'll be a habit to be active, and a habit that makes you feel great.