Survey: Most Americans want to be healthy but aren't sure how

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A new report shows most of us want to live healthier, but aren't sure which advice to follow.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that people think exercise is the best way to lose weight and if you work out a lot, you can eat whatever you want. But actually, you can't out-exercise a bad diet.

Still, that doesn't mean you have to be perfect either.

A recent survey by Cleveland Clinic and Parade magazine shows many people would rather be considered strong than thin, but also think we have to do everything right all of the time for optimal health.

"To eat right, to exercise right, to meditate, to sleep and life intervenes - the key is to focus on those habits that you can do consistently and give yourself wiggle room when youre not perfect," said Dr. Mark Hyman from the Cleveland Clinic.

So maybe strive to make healthy choices at least 80% of the time. The survey also found people are worried about heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's but not as many are willing to make changes to lower their risk.

Dr. Hyman says start small.

"So making incremental changes and little changes can be helpful and anything is good," he said.

But as you continue, if you can make bigger changes such as losing weight, then often times you see chronic conditions go away, giving you motivation to continue.

Also, it helps to focus on feeling better now, rather than focusing on the future. If you stick to what you can do today, it makes it less overwhelming and easier to make healthy changes stick.

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