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Column: Loving yourself in the month of the heart

The month of February focuses our attention on love. In addition, it's also known as National Heart Month. A happy heart is a healthy heart. Our hearts can't survive without love or a healthy lifestyle!

When it comes to celebrating love instead of looking for love from others, do something different, decide to love yourself. It's easier to expect other people to treat you right when you treat yourself right first. Love you and all that you are, as is. Don't wait until you lose 100, 25 or even 5 pounds. Realizing who you are inside is what counts not the number on the scale or the size you wear. That number is not a reflection of who you are, but rather of how you treat yourself.

In order to be healthier, feel better and live a full life, lose weight if you need to, get some exercise and eat better and learn to love yourself. When you love yourself, you treat yourself better and when you treat yourself better, you're much more inclined and motivated to do things that make you happier, healthier and yes even thinner!

Take a step back and realize just how wonderful and gifted you are. Take a moment, think about and then write down everything you love about yourself. Bask in it, and realize just how special you are. By loving yourself first and treating yourself better you can start the journey to losing weight. Don't wait until you get to some point in your life or a number on the scale or the size pants you wear. Don't wait until the day you're thinner, have a flatter stomach, look better in your clothes and are just the right size. Don't wait for those outside things to make you feel better. You're a great person and have a lot to give the world so you might as well start living better and healthier right now.

Eating healthy foods and taking better care of you is an expression of loving yourself. Once you love yourself, you'll start to eat better, want to get more exercise, have more energy and look at food in a different way. You'll learn about what healthy foods are, how to integrate them into your life and how to cook them to be tastier and more satisfying. You'll learn that mealtimes are a chance for you to say, "I love ME, and I want to take care of ME the best that I can." You'll also learn how to have some chocolate and not let it overtake you. You'll eat a little less and will know you're completely satisfied. You'll realize you don't need more to feel good.

This can start your journey to a life where you can eat what you want when you want and know how to make the best choices in food that feed you and not your soul.

So, in this month of love, decide to love you for who you right now. Make the decision to eat healthier, exercise more and live better for yourself — because you love yourself and want to take better care of yourself. Your goal should be a healthier you, not a perfect you. Your jeans will start to love you and your heart will be happier because of being healthier and full of love! You only get one body, so own it, love it for what it is and take good care of it.

"To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance." — Oscar Wilde