5 ways to get your body back on track in the New Year

Put your health first in 2010 with these easy steps to losing weight and getting fit.

1. Get a checkup.

See your doctor if you don't know your most important health numbers: cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and BMI (body mass index). Think of them as guidelines that let you know if your health is off track. Once you see what you need to work on, you'll know better how to embark on your journey toward wellness.

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2. Find your motivation.
You know you should get healthy, but you'll need to search for your deeper reasons for doing so, beyond improving your physical appearance. Do you have a family history of heart disease? Do you want to be a good example for your children? These fundamental motives will keep you going on days when you want to give up.

3. Set yourself up for success.
Pinpoint what's preventing you from eating healthfully. Do you eat too much fast food? Do you snack late at night? And if you don't exercise at least three days a week, think about what's stopping you. If it's boredom, pick an activity you enjoy, like tennis or dance. Workouts don't have to mean running or boot camp!

RELATED: How to keep evening eating sprees under control - and cut 500 excess calories a night.

4. Get enough shut-eye.
Aim for seven to eight hours; sleepless nights can sap the energy you'll need to make healthy choices the next day. Regulate your snooze cycle by hitting the sack and waking up around the same time every day. If you can't fall asleep, write down whatever's on your mind - it'll help clear your head so you can drift off faster.

5. Keep at it.
Being healthy is a lifelong process, so you'll need easy ways to tap into why you want to do it when you hit a rough patch. Find quotes or mementos that remind you of your goals and place them where you can see them often. And stay connected to people who, like you, are striving to feel healthier and more energetic.

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.