The Best Advice On ... Body Image

1. Make peace with your genes. Although diet and exercise can help you make the most of your shape, your genetic makeup plays a key role in determining your body size. There's a limit to how much fat you can safely lose. (Aug. 1987)

2. Learn to accept your body. Don't focus on your perceived shortcomings; instead, embrace your best qualities. Love your collarbone? Flaunt it in a scoop-neck top. (March 1994)

3. Stay positive. Physicians, psychotherapists and sex therapists have all found that a poor body image has negative effects on health and may lead to anxiety, depression, eating disorders and decreased sexual function. (Sept. 1981) The Best Advice On ... Keeping Your Heart Healthy

4. Know your fats. Trans fat, which finds its way into foods via a process called hydrogenation, is a major culprit in the development of heart disease. Avoid it (hint: it's listed as "partially hydrogenated oil" on labels). (Jan. 1996)

5. Keep your weight in check. Added pounds mean added health risks -- especially if these pounds fall around your middle. (Jan. 1986)

6. Shake your salt habit. Overdoing it on sodium can lead to high blood pressure in some women, which in turn raises risk of heart disease and stroke. (Feb. 1984) 2006update The recommended daily intake is 1,500 milligrams, but you can get less!The best advice on ... lowering cancer risk

7. Kick the butts. A cigarette is not a cool accessory -- it's the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women. (Jan. 1990)2006update Good news for women -- female lung-cancer rates have finally begun to stabilize, after increasing for many years.

8. Get a mammogram. In general, you can't feel a breast lump with your fingers if it's less than 1 centimeter across -- about the size of a large pea. A mammogram detects lumps that are only 1millimeter across -- one-tenth as big. (Feb. 1985)
2006 Update Now, there are digital mammograms. But whether you opt for a digital or a conventional one, what really matters is that you get one annually if you're a woman over the age of 40 and you trust the doc who reads your results.

9. Research your family health history to know if you're more at risk for certain diseases, so you can begin taking preventive lifestyle measures -- like eating a lowfat, high-fiber diet and exercising regularly -- that will help you beat the odds. (March1991) 2006update Breast and colon cancers, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and depression tend to run in families.

10. Check yourself. Watch out for suspicious moles to prevent skin cancer from developing. (Feb. 1995)2006update Alert your dermatologist if you notice any of these "Mole ABCDs": Asymmetry (when one side of a mole doesn't match the other), Borders (irregular, ragged edges), Color (any changes or uneven coloring) and Diameter (a mole that's wider than a pencil eraser). The best advice on ... mental health

11. Manage your stress. Your body takes a beating from chronic stress -- in the form of heart disease, memory loss, gum disease, depression and weakened immunity. To squelch stress, try practicing mindfulness (focusing only on what's going on at the present) 20 minutes a day. (Aug. 2000)

12. Do good to feel good. Research shows that women who volunteer are happier, have more energy and enjoy a greater sense of control over their lives. (June 2002)

13. Go to bed earlier. Chronic sleep deprivation can weaken your immune system, making you prone to illness (most people need a full eight hours per night). Lack of z's also can cause irritability and lower your ability to handle stress. (July 1999)
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