Obesity is a widespread epidemic but it is commonly overlooked despite the fact that this epidemic has been proven to cause so many more serious health conditions in the long run. And the sad part is, obesity is totally preventable and avoidable with discipline and healthier lifestyle habits.

Statistics say that an estimated 3 out of 4 men are overweight or obese and that a greater percentage of men don’t engage in vigorous physical activity on a regular basis. If you belong to this group, it’s time to start making decisions to adopt better habits, before it causes additional health issues.

But don’t worry. We’ve got your back! We have compiled 10 diet and fitness tips to help you start enjoying a healthier lifestyle today.

1 – Alternate your exercise activities.

Varying your fitness routine will help you to stay motivated and continue working out. Exercise is good for both the mind and body. Doing the same exercise routine over and over causes your body to get used to it. Modify your routine to continue to see those positive results!

2 – Divide your workouts.

Dividing your workout activities into minutes or sets has been proven to be very beneficial in making your body more fit and healthy. If you aren’t into long workouts, break your exercise into parts. You can do 5-10 minutes of stretching followed by light aerobics before your morning meal or take a 10-minute walk after lunch or dinner.

3 – Develop strength-training exercises.

Every successful fitness plan includes strength training. You don’t necessarily need to spend hours at the gym lifting weights. Body weight exercises like push ups, are great for working your chest, triceps, and shoulders. Squats and lunges also make a good addition to your strength training regimen as they work multiple muscle groups at once and are a very simple addition that you can squeeze in at home or the office in your spare time.

4 – Have a fitness buddy.

Find someone that can help motivate you to do your workouts consistently. Did you know that when you have a fitness buddy, it adds a bit of competition to your routine? And that, in turn, challenges you to do a better job and work even harder to reach your fitness goals.

5 – Have a balanced diet.

Aim for a diet that provides you with adequate levels of nutrients, vitamins, protein and carbohydrates. And adding in those healthy fats from a variety of fresh and whole foods is also beneficial in helping you have a more fit and healthy body. It’s time to ditch all those unhealthy junk foods!

6 – Pay attention to nutrition labels.

Reading package labels should be an integral part of your grocery shopping. This is to ensure that you aren’t sabotaging your healthy diet with oversized portions and unhealthy ingredients found in processed foods.

Try to avoid foods with trans fat and limit your intake of sugars. High fiber foods are preferred as are fresh and unprocessed meal options. As a good rule of thumb, do most of your shopping on the outer edge of the store. Produce, meat, and dairy are much healthier options than the packaged foods in the center isles.

7 – Aim for healthy cooking.

Healthy cooking is important if you’re following a healthy diet. Bake, grill or steam your foods rather than deep-frying them. Use olive or coconut oil in place of margarine and season with fresh or dried herbs for added flavor.

8 – Simple cardio workouts.

Cardio exercises are good for your heart and they burn off calories. Running and walking are the simplest types of workouts and you can add them in throughout your day. This may include taking the stairs rather than riding the elevator and walking to lunch from work.

9 – Explore new healthy foods.

Eating the same foods over and over again can result in diet boredom. So don’t be afraid to add new and unusual healthy foods to your meals. Eating a narrow range of foods, even those that are good for you, can sometimes cause vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies and that leads to lower energy levels.

10 – Say NO to sweets and drinks.

Sweets contain a lot of calories and are proven to be a major contributor to obesity. Even your “diet coke” is not a good idea. Instead, go for truly healthy drink options or better yet, drink water. And if you have a sweet tooth, opt for fresh fruits over fruit juices.

Staying fit and healthy requires a lot of patience and can be a struggle. But with proper discipline, a healthier and longer life is within your reach.