By: Leah Uko firstname.lastname@example.org OMAHA (KPTM) - You may be eating more vegetables and less burgers so you can be swimsuit ready soon. But getting your mind right, some physicians said, is just as important as diet and exercise. Angela Hughes sprinted for 90 seconds at a time. This was something the 33-year-old single mother could not do this time last year. "Knowing I had to get into a bikini at the end result and not wanting to quit was enough motivation to not eat that piece of cake, to not have that bag of chips," Hughes told FOX 42's Leah Uko. Hughes lost more than 70 pounds and more than half her body fat by the time she entered a fitness competition. The bikini competitor said she did it through an extremely strict diet, a lot of exercise and with the right mindset. "I think it is a mental battle," she said. "You want what you can't have." For Hughes, staying positive throughout her weight loss transformation was key. Health professionals said that's exactly how people should tackle weight loss. Research Coordinator with the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Maureen Oberdorfer, said people trying to lose weight and get into shape should first figure out their "why". "Each day we say, 'this is really hard, but why am I doing it?' and that helps me get over the hump of that day. One day at a time." She suggested finding their deepest motivation and reminding themselves of it every time they want to quit. "Is it important enough to you to stick with it through the long haul because you know it'll be hard work?" Health professionals also advise people to accept the fact that they will have to step outside of their comfort zones, not play the "victim" role and start controlling their own choices. They said creating a network of people who want to live a healthy lifestyle is essential to successful weight loss as well. Oberdorfer added that, most importantly, people should not give upeven if they mess up. "Allow yourself to be human, but don't lose track of your goal. And get back on track." As Hughes trains for her upcoming competitions in June and September, she said she was keeping that advice in mind. "Everyone has their off days," she continued. "I made plenty of mistakes on the way. I'm not perfect. It's not a sprint. It's a total marathon."
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