ESSENCE Editor Sharon Boone's Top Health Tips

Learn how to maintain the proper diet and fitness plan for your needs.

Monique Valeris May, 02, 2013

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Sharon Boone, ESSENCE magazine's senior editor, health & relationships, believes that being healthy simply requires a solid plan to achieve your goals. Read on for Boone's advice.

2 of 7 Thomas Northcut

It's crucial to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Know your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels. "Once you start making those health improvements, looking good is going to follow," says Boone. "Nothing looks better than good health."

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Boone says it helps to bring a friend to the gym because you'll keep each other honest. Also aim to exercise at least three to four days a week. "Weight training or working with your own body weight by doing push-ups or jumping jacks is the best exercise to help build muscle, which burns calories," she says.

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Think back to when you tried new games as a child. Use that same level of curiosity to keep your workouts exciting, whether this means enrolling in an African dance class or taking Zumba. "I personally love using the rowing machine because it's self-soothing and works your muscles, lungs and heart," Boone says.

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Regardless of your schedule, it's important to eat a healthy breakfast. Oatmeal with fresh fruit, yogurt parfait, and egg whites with vegetables are all good choices. And protein like yogurt or eggs, rather than carbohydrates, makes you feel fuller longer.

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The trick to adopting a more healthy diet is to change your mindset. "Instead of thinking about what you can't eat, think about all the things you can have," Boone says. Also limit treats that aren't the best choices for you health-wise. If you indulge in ice cream or bacon four times a week, reduce it by a day.

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According to Boone, stress tells your brain that you need fatty foods when this clearly isn't the case. Keep stress at bay by exercising to clear your mind and sleeping for at least eight hours every night.