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Fat 2 Fit: Three Tips for Showing Your Heart You Care

To keep your heart healthy and strong, use the FIT approach: F=Fill your plate with food you enjoy that won't pack on pounds; find fun ways to exercise. I=Individualize your eating and workout routine. T=Team up with others.

The human heart beats around 100,000 times every 24 hours. However, unless we listen carefully, we won't hear its message.

Why should we listen? We need to because every minute, someone dies from a heart-related event. Heart disease is the number-one killer of both men and women in the United States.

If our hearts could speak, they'd tell us to take good care of our health not only during American Heart Month but throughout the year. If you're ready to listen, consider these three FIT tips to show your heart you care:

F: Find a way to make achieving your fitness goals fun. Create a positive image of your new self. Then begin to be that fun-loving fitness advocate. Your attitude will shift from "I have to" to "I want to," and you'll be more willing to adopt and maintain your new heart-friendly habits.

I: Invent the future you want. Implement the changes you need to make, and consider making them all at once. Contrary to popular belief, some research confirms that people who bravely tackle all their changes together fare better than those who take a more gradual approach.

T: Tell everyone about the changes you are making, and ask friends and family for their encouragement. As social creatures, we are profoundly influenced by the behavior of everyone around us. Use this insight to create a support team, and be a positive role model for others.

For Valentine's Day, consider heart-friendly ways of celebrating. Instead of devouring a box of chocolates as you watch television, go for a walk with a loved one, or call a friend and let her know how much you appreciate her. If you give gifts, consider a pedometer or heart monitor. And while you're buying it, get one for yourself.

When you take care of your health and your heart, you set a powerful example for everyone around you. Best of all, you improve your chances of enjoying future Februaries with those you love.

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