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Aim for a slow, steady drop. Try to lose 1-2 pounds a week by being active and eating better.

"It doesn't have to be an hour of intense exercise every day," Meng says. "Any little bit helps."

As you improve, dial up the time and how hard you work out. If you want to lose a lot of weight, try for 300 minutes of exercise a week.

"Eating a healthy diet will go a long way," Meng says. Start by cutting sugar, which she says is often hiding in plain sight -- in store-bought items like salad dressing, packaged bread, and nuts. Try to avoid soda and sugar-laced coffee drinks, too.

Visit Your Doctor

Get regular health tips. Your doctor keeps track of your medical history and can help you stay healthy. For example, if you're at risk for osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones, he may want you to get more calcium and vitamin D.

Your doctor may recommend screening tests to keep an eye on your health and catch conditions early when they're easier to treat.

Keep the lines of communication open. "If you have questions, ask your doctor," Meng says. "Make sure you understand things to your satisfaction." If you're worried about a medication or procedure, talk to him about it.

Cut Down Your stress

It can take a toll on your health. You probably can't avoid it altogether, but you can find ways to ease the impact. Don't take on too much. Try to set limits with yourself and others. It's OK to say no.

To relieve stress, try:

1. Deep breathing
2.Meditation
3.Yoga
4.Massage
5.Exercise
6.Healthy eating
7.Talking to a friend, family member, or professional counselor

Create Healthy Habits

If you make the right choices today, you can ward off problems tomorrow.

Brush your teeth twice a day and floss every day.

Don't smoke.

Limit your alcohol. Keep it to one drink a day.

If you have medication, take it exactly how your doctor prescribed it.

Improve your sleep. Aim for 8 hours. If you have trouble getting shut-eye, talk to your doctor.

Use sunscreen and stay out of the sun from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Wear your seatbelt.

Take time every day to invest in your health, Meng says.

It paid off for Montgomery. She says she overcame health problems, feels good, and has a positive outlook. "My life," she says, "is forever changed."

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