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Cutting calories may seem like a daunting task, especially when you're trying to cut hundreds of calories each day to lose the recommended 1-2 pounds per week. Will you go hungry? Will your meals taste like cardboard? Will you have to give up your favorite foods?

Don't worry. When you make small changes, the only difference you'll notice is a drop in the scale! Keep in mind that cutting calories can involve smart substitutions or changes in portion sizes, too. Just remember, start small and work your way up to a new—and healthier—way of eating.

Beverages

1. Split a 20 oz. bottle of regular soda with a friend. Save 120 calories!

2. Drink 1 cup of diet soda instead of 1 cup of regular soda. Save 97 calories!

Read more: 50 Easy Ways to Cut 100 Calories

Many of you have been trying to make exercise a habit. Some of you may have already succeeded in that goal. Either way, I'm proud of you for making fitness a part of your life—even if you're not always perfect at it. A consistent exercise routine offers so many benefits to your mind and your body, many of which you are probably already beginning to experience.

Now it's time for some tough love.

We all have our own ideas about exercise: what "counts" as a workout, how much we need to do, and how it benefits us. But some of those ideas are flat our wrong (or simply misguided). If you're exercising and not seeing the results you had hoped for, it could be that you're missing out on these eight truths about exercise. Now they may be hard to hear, but trust that I'm sharing them with you for good reasons. Understanding these realities will only make the habit of exercise easier for you—and help you get even better results from your efforts.

8 Cold, Hard Truths about Exercise

Read more: 8 Cold, Hard Truths about Exercise

When we're not feeling our best, whether we're stressed out or we're coming down with a cold, we often turn to "comfort food" to soothe ourselves. There's nothing wrong with using food to feel better as long as you don't eat something that will just end up making you feel worse later. But, don't worry, there are plenty of healthy comfort foods that you can enjoy with guilt or regret. Here are 15 delicious ideas:

1. Bowl of Oatmeal. There's no better way to start the day (especially a cold one) than with a warm bowl of oatmeal. Not only will the fiber in oatmeal help you feel full longer, it will also help your heart by reducing the amount of cholesterol you absorb. As if that isn't enough, you can make your breakfast even more special by adding a variety of healthy toppings. Try a 1/4 cup of blueberries, 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts and a dash of cinnamon or 1/2 a sliced banana and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter. You'll feel good from the inside out.

Read more: 15 Comfort Foods That are Good for You

Eating more fruits and vegetables is a requirement for every healthy eater. But when you buy more fresh produce, do you end up throwing away more than you eat? You're not alone.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw away nearly 31.6 million tons of food every year. And a recent University of Arizona study found that the average family tosses 1.28 pounds of food a day, for a total of 470 pounds a year! That's like throwing away $600!

Read more: How to Keep Fruits and Veggies Fresh

When I was newly home from graduate school and working my first full-time job, finding a husband and starting a family seemed to be the next expected step in the progression toward adulthood. I was looking forward to having someone to share my life with—someone to be a steady roommate, a sharer of responsibilities, and a traveling buddy for my then-infrequent vacations. Certainly prime on my mind was finding a suitable father for the kids I hoped to have in the future. Getting married would also eliminate the constant nagging of my mom and other relatives, who constantly pointed out that I wasn't getting any younger. (Ironically, I was married at 24, a mere child compared to the average marrying age today!)

Luckily for me, I did find the right guy, and all the advantages I'd anticipated did come along with the marriage package. However, I never considered that being married would be good for my health, too. When scientific research began to appear touting the health benefits of being married, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that being married is also just one more way I'm improving my health.

Read more: The Surprising Health Benefits of Being in Love

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