By Kathy Smith

With a big event appearance on the way, I decided to get a manicure and pedicure. In the close quarters of the salon, I couldn’t help but hear the conversation going on next to me. One woman was giving a play-by-play account of her battle with the flu. Fever, aches, chills and pains—it sounded just horrible!

Then, her friend responded, “Well, at least you lost weight!”

“I know, isn’t it great?” the woman replied.

As I started getting a bit antsy in my seat, the story got worse. The woman added that a mutual friend came to visit with the intention of getting sick so she too could lose weight! I know this sounds crazy, and it is, but I was reminded of the drastic measures some people will take in order to lose weight.

What saddens me most about this story is that many who are getting in shape often overlook getting healthy—whether it’s going to extremes with food or exercise, or popping dietary supplements with ingredients you can’t pronounce. A commitment to reshaping your body also means a commitment to reshaping your health.

Yet, with so much information out there, it can certainly be overwhelming and confusing. “What workouts should I do and when?” “How much fiber do I need each day?” “How often should I lift weights?” ” Is it OK to eat carbs?” It’s around this time of year that I hear these questions most often.

Through the years, I’ve read so many letters and emails from fans sharing their fitness and weight loss success stories, and those who are most successful with getting and staying in great shape are those who see the bigger picture. From better sleep to regulated blood sugar levels, increases in bone density, and a better sex life. These are the stories I love to hear, the stories that give me chills.

So, if you’re striving to get fit and really healthy, keep the focus on the inside as much as the outside. Sure, set a goal for the scale—for example, “I want to lose 20 pounds by spring”—but also set a goal for your health, “I want to lower my cholesterol by 25 points.” Remember, this combination is key to getting in the best shape of your life.

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