You take good care of your kids. You make sure they are cared for in body, soul and spirit!  But do you sometimes forget to take care of yourself?  If so, you're not alone.  Recent reports suggest that obesity may soon overtake cigarette smoking as a serious health risk. And only 22 percent of Americans enjoy the recommended amount of regular physical activity. 

If this sounds like you, take a moment to review these fitness tips offered by Danna Demetre, author of Scale Down. Demetre urges single parents (and other people who forget to take care of themselves) to incorporate these five easy tips into their schedules this week. These simple and realistic tips will help you take small steps which, taken consistently, add up in a big way over time. Your first small step it to start reading . . .

TIP #1: Change Your Thinking
Do you really believe you can get and stay lean for life? If you don't...you won't! Get in tune with your self-talk. Discover your lies...and replace them with truth! You believe what you tell yourself most often. So, what do you believe? In the human mind, the most dominant thought wins. If you tell yourself a new truth long enough, your behavior will change. Make an audio tape with the new messages you truly want to believe and play it a two to three times each day. You'll be amazed at what can and will happen over time. Within a few months, your new self-talk could reset your "automatic pilot" and lead you down a leaner lifestyle path!

TIP #2: Change Your Attitude
Get rid of your old diet mentality and legalize all foods. If you can have any food you want, any time you want it...then you don't need to have it all right now. Give yourself permission to enjoy your favorite foods without feeling guilty. Chances are your cravings will diminish and your will power will increase. And, while you're at it, get rid of your "all or nothing" attitude as well. It's not either a "diet day" or a "blow out day". Every time you think you've gone a little too far off the path...start fresh right then and there. Don't wait until the first day of the week, the first day of the month or the first day of the year. Restart again and again...right now...even if it is Wednesday afternoon!

TIP #3:  Increase Your Energy
The higher your energy, the less likely you will be to overeat. There are several important factors that will energize you to the max. Each is important in its own right, so make sure you don't neglect any of these critical factors:

1. Eat to stabilize your blood sugar:  Include a good source of protein and fiber in most meals and snacks, especially at breakfast and lunch. Shoot for at least 30 grams of fiber everyday. Try to avoid highly processed or sugary foods until after lunch. This will help you maintain a more stable blood sugar and that will significantly diminish cravings.

2. De-stress your life:  Stress releases hormones and sugar into your blood stream creating a vicious cycle of fat storage and adrenaline rushes. When the excess sugar released during stress goes unused, (since most of us aren't being chased by a wild animal) it ends up getting stored as fat. The answer: Decrease your stress.

3. Sleep until you are rested: Well-rested people have higher mental, emotional and physical reserves. The body regenerates at the cellular level only during deep, quality sleep. Most people need a minimum of 71/2 hours per night. Try it...you'll be amazed at how well you'll perform in many areas of your life...including your lifestyle.

4. Exercise for maximum energy: Don't wait to get up and get moving until you have enough energy to exercise. Get moving purposely every day and you will have more energy. You'll feel better, more focused and have better self-control. Get at least 10 minutes of purposeful activity every morning before you jump in the shower. In seven days, you will definitely feel a difference. The ideal is to work toward at least 30 minutes of purposeful activity (a.k.a. "exercise") most days of the week.