This post is featured on behalf of Mary Harlin.

If you want to achieve optimum health, commit to changing your lifestyle rather than going on a diet. Diets are temporary; lifestyle changes can be permanent. If you’re ready to feel better, gain energy, and improve your mood, commit to making healthy food choices a lifelong habit. 

Choose Healthy Foods You Like

Set yourself up for success by choosing to eat healthy foods you enjoy. Instead of forcing yourself to eat something you don’t like just because it’s healthy, allow yourself to eat nutritious foods you love.

For example, don’t force yourself to eat broccoli if you don’t like it. Instead, if you enjoy them, try a bowl of ripe strawberries. Giving yourself permission to eat the healthy foods you love helps change your mindset, making it easier to start eating more of the foods you don’t enjoy as much.  

Follow the Healthy Eating Pyramid 

Harvard’s Healthy Eating Pyramid is backed by nutritional science, and following it is an easy way to get the nutrients your body needs. The base of the pyramid shows the foods and habits that are most important, and the sections at the top show the foods that should rarely be eaten.

Daily exercise and weight control appear at the base of the pyramid, signifying their importance. Fruits and vegetables are also found in the wide sections near the base, meaning that you should eat several servings daily. Simple carbohydrates, such as pasta, soda, and sweets, appear at the top, indicating they should be eaten sparingly. Following this pyramid, along with the Harvard School of Public Health’s Healthy Eating plate, is a simple and effective way to get healthier. 

If you’re trying to lose weight by tracking how many calories you consume and burn, following the Healthy Eating Pyramid can provide motivation. Most of the foods recommended by the pyramid have fewer calories than the ones it suggests you avoid, meaning you should see a significant change in your caloric intake when you start following it. 

Simplify Your Diet

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. Instead of reading labels, focus on eating unprocessed foods of different colors and varieties. Consuming fruits and vegetables of many colors helps you get the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Eating a well-balanced diet of carbohydrates, fats, and protein helps you focus, keeps your energy levels up, and maintains your blood sugar.

Eat Several Small Meals

Eating five to six small meals daily instead of three large ones may help you eat more nutritiously, reduce your hunger, and minimize overeating, as long as you don’t consume extra calories. It’s also a good way to maintain your blood sugar levels. After three hours without food, your blood sugar starts to fall, and after five hours, it plummets. At this point, many people overeat and choose less nutritious foods. By keeping blood sugar levels steady, eating small meals throughout the day may help you make better food choices.

Changing your lifestyle is the most effective way to get healthier. It works better than going on a diet because it’s more of a permanent change than a temporary one. Setbacks will happen, but don’t give up. Give yourself permission to make mistakes and keep moving forward. When you feel your energy levels soar and see your weight begin to regulate, you’ll feel motivated to keep going.

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