Here are seven ways to get healthier and stay on track with your goals, while still eating the foods you love and crave.
1. It's all about portions
Portion control isn't a new subject when it comes to talking about being healthier and losing weight; but it truly is the key if you want to keep eating the things you love while still maintaining or losing weight.
Have a thing for chocolate? Make sure to have a portioned amount set aside to indulge in and then make sure the rest of your meals are packed with lots of fruits, vegetables and proteins — and you should be good to go!
Withholding or denying yourself these little treats will most likely hurt you in the end, so portion control will keep you going on the right track.
2. Moderate exercise needs to become your new best friend
It is not necessary to run 10 miles every day to achieve a healthy lifestyle (although if you can do that, great!)
Dr. Arlene Hankinson of Northwestern University conducted a heart study analyzing the relationship between physical activity and weight loss, and the results concluded that moderately intense exercise on a consistent basis is effective in keeping off unhealthy weight gain.
So stick to a daily exercise routine, whether it's taking a light jog in the morning or going to the gym for a half hour. You will find that this will help you to stay on track with your goals and give you energy to get through your day.
3. Analyze what foods you can and cannot live without
This one ties back to number one, because diets where you deprive yourself of anything, even seemingly bad-for-you foods, are probably going to fail in the end.
Do yourself and your body some good by sitting down and making a list of some foods you can live without, and others that you would rather keep around.
For example, if you are not a big mayo or mustard fan, take those foods out of your diet. However if you just can't live without pizza, create a healthy and yummy version for yourself.
4. Prep your meals
All this means is creating meals with foods that are healthy for you, but that you enjoy eating.
This takes most of the guesswork out of preparing your daily meals and helps you to stick to the goals you have for yourself. All those Pinterest and Instagram posts about preparing your meals for the week have something to them, and are actually a great idea if you can make the time to do it.
Habits, especially good ones, take time to form; but by doing this you can create those good habits with the foods you eat.
5. Snack away
Yes, it's actually good to snack!
Snacking helps to keep you full in between meals, and can help prevent you from being tempted to over-eat or eat something that is not so healthy.
Just like your new standard daily meals, it is best to have pre-prepared healthy snacks that you can turn to in times of hunger.
6. When visiting the grocery store, stick to the list
Many people have every intention of sticking to their grocery list while at the store. But then they see that cereal on sale, and that it's two for one of their favorite candy — and the list goes right out the door.
Getting healthy does take discipline; and that includes trips to the grocery store.
Have a list of the foods you need for your daily meals, your healthy snacks and any other fruits and veggies you need, and stick to it. If you don't have the foods around that are on your can-live-without list, then you won't be tempted to have them.
7. Veggies are the key
Adding veggies to every meal is a great way to cut calories and stay full and satisfied.
Veggies are so great because they are usually very low in calories, but have lots of fiber and nutrients that are great for your body.
Any meal becomes better when you add a heaping amount of veggies, so find your favorite ones for each meal or prepare a large salad, and you will be good to go!
Your overall health and well-being should be a top priority for your life, and by applying these easy steps you will be on your way to being the best you can — no deprivation necessary.