width=300Making the decision to get into shape can be an enormous thing, overwhelming and stress inducing. Instead of setting a far off goal - I'm going to lose 150 pounds and run the NYC Marathon! - why not focus on making small changes that can add up, over time, to a healthier, more fit you? You will be able to make that larger goal more easily obtainable and be successful before you know it!

1. Make a decision to avoid eating out. I know, it's easier to just grab a meal when you are out, rather than having it go home and cook. But, when you eat out, it's tough to know exactly what is in the food you are choosing, and studies have proven that we underestimate our caloric intake at restaurants by as much as 40 percent.Instead, spend one day cooking a chicken (or two), baking some sweet potatoes, measuring almonds into portion control baggies and salads into containers. This type of pre planning makes meal time a cinch.

2. If you must eat out, take a minute to look at the restaurant's website and see if they offer nutritional guidelines. Pick one or two foods that will help you maintain your diet choices. Planning ahead often takes the struggle out of your choice.

3. Make a plan to exercise with a friend. Making plans with a friend keeps your feet to the fire, so to speak, and makes it more difficult for you to skip out. Plan to walk, run, take an exercise or spin class together.

4. Alternatively, keep a stock of fitness videos on hand for those times when the weather is nasty, your friend cancels on you, or your schedule just doesn't permit the meet up. Comcast on Demand, as well as many other cable companies, also offer fitness videos so you can work out at your convenience. This option also keeps you from getting bored by mixing up your choices.

5. Don't tempt yourself. It's tough to stay focused on doing the right thing when your cabinets and refrigerator are filled with cakes, cookies and chips. If you must have those items, try splitting them into single serving sizes and putting the other portions out of sight.

With just a few simple steps, you can feel confident that you are on your way to a healthier lifestyle!

Reprinted from Dietsinreview