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It’s never too late for a do-over

If you’ve ever given up on a New Year’s resolution, said “yes” to junk food – again and again – or whispered to yourself, “I can’t do it,” this column is for you, because you can have a healthier, happier life. We’ve seen proof.

We have met amazing folks through Dr. Mike’s work at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Center and Dr. Oz’s work with his patients and guests on “The Dr. Oz Show.” They’ve accepted the do-over challenge and are living proof that anyone can turn his or her life around and stick with it!

The most important thing they’ve learned: A health do-over doesn’t take superhero willpower. There are science-based, real-world-tested strategies that can get you past the rough spots.

So here are four of our favorite people who were able to overcome physical and mental challenges – by using those real-world-tested strategies – to achieve successful do-overs. We’d like you to meet them and be empowered by them – so you can do it too!

VAL: BREAKING FOOD ADDICTION

When Val’s weight soared from 135 to 215 after two pregnancies, she developed Type 2 diabetes. She was scared she’d lose her health and her marriage to her loving, fit husband Calvin.

The do-over strategy that made the difference: Getting a buddy. Val contacted her best friend and asked her to be her daily supporter using email, texts and phone calls. Every day, Val let her know when she’d completed her 30 extra minutes of physical activity and sent her a daily diary of her meals and snacks. “It kept me from lying to myself, because I couldn’t lie to my friend!” Sharing your daily achievements with a buddy creates a natural high that helps you construct new brain pathways to replace the old, addictive ones.

ROCCO: BOUNCING BACK FROM A BACKSLIDE

We’ll never forget Rocco, a 270-pound man with diabetes and serious cardiovascular disease. He appeared on the show and agreed to let Dr. Mike coach him through a major do-over. Rocco shed plenty of pounds, and in the process got his diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis under control.

The do-over strategy that made the difference: Having a purpose. Like all humans, Rocco backslid now and then. Dr. Mike would step in to help him get right back on track, with a simple reminder: “Rocco, think about your grandchildren.” Having a “why” is a huge incentive to stick with healthy habits: Rocco was determined to stick around to see them grow into happy, healthy adults with kids of their own.

GRANDMA: EVERY LITTLE STEP COUNTS

Dr. Mike met this grandma who wanted to drop pounds and clear up a laundry list of health issues. The challenge? She was in a wheelchair almost all the time, taking just 64 steps on her own in a typical day.

The do-over strategy that made the difference: Small changes. Dr. Mike suggested she add a few more steps every day. Over two years, she made it to 10,000 a day – the number recommended for great health and weight control. She got rid of her wheelchair after two years, and her walker after that. She dropped 40 pounds, virtually eliminated her arthritis pain and got better control of her diabetes.

JANELLE: STAY INSPIRED

Janelle was plagued with gastrointestinal problems and other nagging health issues. So she overhauled her diet, got a buddy, started walking and logged every bite of food she put into her mouth.

The do-over strategy that made the difference: Staying inspired. She taped this motto to her bathroom mirror: “We simply have two choices each day: Make excuses or make something happen. The choice is yours.”

These may seem like simple tricks, but they have complex, profound effects on your willpower. So enlist a buddy, identify your purpose, set realistic goals and get inspired! Your do-over can start today.

Dr. Mehmet Oz is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Dr. Mike Roizen, a Buffalo native, is chief wellness officer and chairman of the Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic.