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10 Ways to take control of your health

Kathy A. Johnson is a freelance writer and editor in central Florida. Her work has appeared online and in print publications ranging from Mothers & More Forum to Horse Journal.

Be your healthiest in the new year

Have the last few weeks of family gatherings and holiday festivities left you feeling unhealthy and out of control? Take heart — a new year is upon us and with it, many ways to take back control of your health. Here are 10 tips to help you lose weight, get fit and increase the quality of your life.

Woman eating oatmeal

6Use technology to test your fitness

Websites can do everything from calculating your body mass index to determining your "real age." If you want health and fitness tips at your fingertips, check out apps like WebMd Mobile or Eat This, Not That! — the Game. Gadgets like pedometers, activity monitors or even the Wii Fit can make health and fitness more fun. (You'll probably want to skip the Wi-fi scale that can transmit your weight and body fat percentage to Twitter, though!)

7Try something new

Jump-start your health this year by trying something new: a different form of exercise, a new food or method of healthy cooking and so on. The very act of trying something new is good for you, too!

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Keep regular doctor appointments

Stop putting off that physical, well-woman exam or mammogram — make that doctor's appointment you've been avoiding.

9Make your health meaningful

Why do you want to be healthy? It's not just, well, for your health. You probably want to be healthy so you can pursue your passion, your purpose in life. Remembering why you want to be healthy can help you make healthy choices even when you don't feel like it.

10Eat naturally

Make the majority of your meals and snacks real, unprocessed (or lightly processed) foods. Replace sugary breakfast cereal with oatmeal and fresh fruit, trade that fast food lunch for a tuna sandwich, or swap out packaged cookies with a piece of dark chocolate. Instead of empty calories or artificially sweetened diet sodas, sip H2O. Add a squeeze of lemon, lime or splash of orange juice for variety.

Diets come and diets go, but good health habits mostly remain the same. Pick one (or more) of these tips and start 2011 with a commitment to taking control of your health.

More health tips for the new year

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