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Ten Ways to Be Your Own Valentine
Contributed by TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly)

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, February 14 can be an opportunity to renew your commitment to a healthy lifestyle and enhance your well-being. Chocolates and sweets may abound, but this Valentine’s Day, incorporate the following ten tips from TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, for increased peace of mind and tranquility that lasts well beyond the holiday. You may find yourself with a fuller heart and without a wider waistline.

10. Realize how great it is that you are one of a kind. Appreciate your voice, vision, and uniqueness.

9. Write down your many talents and qualities that you like about yourself. They can be as grand as flying an airplane or as simple as frequently leaving a tip at your local coffee shop. Continue being aware, and add to this list for a regular boost of self-esteem.

8. Get enough rest. According to a 2009 report in the “Archives of Internal Medicine,apostrophe people who sleep less than seven hours per night appear about three times as likely to develop respiratory illnesses as those who sleep eight hours or more. In addition to improving judgment, problem-solving, and creativity, a well-rested mind and body will have increased energy levels, making it easier to commit to an exercise and healthy eating program.

7. Indulge in a (non-food) treat. Perhaps you always focus on the needs of others without ever doing anything nice for yourself. Buy a bouquet of flowers to brighten up your home or pamper your feet with a rejuvenating pedicure. Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to treat yourself well.

6. Take time to write down and examine your goals. You may surprise yourself, as expressing your goals specifically on paper can be freeing and open up possibilities you might never have considered. Many of them might already be within your grasp.

5. Remember the special people in your life. February 14 doesn’t have to focus on the love you share with your significant other. Consider family members, friends, and mentors who make your life meaningful the rest of the year. Send a card to let them know how much you care or spend an afternoon just catching up, to leave both of you feeling treasured.

4. Try something new. Give yourself permission to take risks by exploring a new hobby, tackling that home improvement project, or training for a race. Don’t let fear or excuses hold you back from your best self.

3. Create a food and exercise/activity plan tailored just for you. There’s no need to hire a trainer or sign up for a pricey gym. Peruse healthy lifestyle magazines for workout tips, meal plans, and delicious, low-calorie recipes. Visit the local library or surf the Web for free materials and advice, as well.

2. Count your blessings. Think about what you are thankful for, and record them in a journal each night. The habit of looking on the bright side of each day and being grateful helps create an upbeat attitude and can add a sweet touch to life.

1. Relax, play, and enjoy life – without guilt. Just as a car’s battery won’t work unendingly without being recharged, remember that everyone needs to give themselves a break occasionally. Stop expecting the impossible from yourself and simply do the best you can with each day.

About the Contributor:
TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the original, nonprofit weight-loss education and support organization, was established more than 62 years ago to champion weight-loss support and success. Founded and headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., TOPS promotes successful weight management with a philosophy that combines healthy eating, regular exercise, wellness education, and support from others at weekly chapter meetings. TOPS has about 170,000 members in nearly 10,000 chapters throughout the United States and Canada, and several chapters in Europe. Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. To find a local chapter, view or call (800) 932-8677.