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      Dieting safely for your New Year's resolution

      One of the most common New Year's resolutions people make is to start a diet or lose weight. But before jumping right into a weight loss or diet program, doctors say it??s important to talk with your health care provider about what steps will be right for you as an individual.

      ??There may be somebody who can go out and exercise and start riding a bike and walking and start running right away, and others have to be more closely monitored; if you've got somebody who has heart problems, or diabetes, or joint problems,?? said physician assistant at Portage Health Houghton Clinic, Melissa Vertin.

      Depending on pre-existing health conditions, medications one may be taking, and current weight, a specialized diet and exercise plan needs to be created to produce the most effective and safest results.

      ??You have to make sure your heart is healthy enough for exercise and the different joint complaints that somebody has,?? Vertin explained. ??So it's important to take those things into consideration as well rather than just trying to limit calories and avoid certain foods.??

      Doctors say cutting out sugars and watching portion sizes is typically the most common diet fix, and avoiding any fad diets that eliminate certain food groups entirely is recommended.

      ??Making small changes and cutting out a few things out of the diet that people regularly indulge in can make a big difference in weight loss,?? Vertin added.

      Whether you're looking to shed some pounds or maybe just eat healthier, a well-rounded diet and exercise plan can positively affect overall and long-term health.

      ??You want to make sure that you stay healthy, that you eat a healthy diet, that you stay active,?? Vertin said.