I personally no longer follow diets, because the truth is I love the way I look and feel about my health. Also because based on personal experience and experiences from others, I know diets do not work! What works is understanding what you eat and making a conscious decision to create a balanced lifestyle for you...!
Have the Desire: I think eating healthy and staying healthy starts with a burning desire to want to be that... Your desire and willingness to stay healthy makes it a lot easy to achieve your aims. If the will and commitment are lacking, eating healthy and staying healthy will be a struggle! So find a source or sources of motivation to keep you going. This could be from friends or family. It could also be from mundane things such as wanting to look great, radiant and beautiful all the time...! It could also be tied to costs, for instance I have some pretty expensive wardrobe items, and the cost of having to replace them in an event that they become unwearable due to weight gain, keeps me in check. Set some targets for yourself and draw out a plan to help you meet them. Of course motivation could also be for health reasons. Whatever the case, have a desire and conviction that you need to eat and stay healthy.
Know Your Food: Make a conscious effort to research about food and food ingredients. Find out what their nutritional benefits are and understand how best to prepare and cook them to get the most out of them. If you know how a food item may benefit or impact your health, then you are in a better position to decide if at all you will eat it and if so, how best to and in what quantity and frequency would you eat it. I think this is the most crucial issue to address in ensuring that you are eating and living healthy. Do not follow the crowd when it comes to eating certain foods. Find out why you have to eat it!
Eat Less Processed Food: Chemical properties of processed foods are miles away from the chemical properties of food in their natural state. The amount of science and technology applied to food processing is unbelievable and outright shocking at times. Processed foods are laced with so much chemical substances, some of which you would not even dare eat in isolation. Most processing techniques applied to food tend to alter their chemical compositions significantly. This fact is hidden away from the public in order to keep a market for these products. There is therefore a huge and calculated cover-up by large food processing firms to twist the truth with regards to what these food actually contain and do to our bodies and health.
Eat More Fruits & Veg: The more you eat your food raw, the more you are assured of gaining their maximum nutritional benefits. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with so much nutrients, in particular vitamins and minerals, which are so important to staying well and healthy. Eat a minimum of five to seven portions of different fruits and vegetables daily..
Eat More Good Fats: To function properly, our bodies need a daily supply of essential fatty acids which can only be found in oil rich foods such as avocados, nuts and seeds. Stay away from artificial and genetically modified oils like canola. Instead eat more naturally occurring oils that have undergone minimal processing. Red palm oil and coconut oil are excellent and are healthy for you. Olive oil, black seed oil and avocado oil are also very good oils to use in your daily diet or cooking. With regards to oil, I always say not all calories are equal. While oils hold high calories, coconut oil for example actually helps in weight management...!
Be Active: Most of us live a sedentary lifestyle. From work which is usually on a desk in front of the computer, to home sitting on the sofa in front of the TV. We all need about 1200kcal daily for our bodies to function right. Any additional calories becomes excess and must be expended somehow otherwise it becomes stored as fat! If you are having more calories than required by you body, you need to find a way to use up these calories if you do not want then handing around your tummy and other other organs. Commit to weekly fitness activities such as swimming, running, long distance walking etc. Get up and be active...!
Cook...! Your Own Food: Cook, cook, cook...!!! There is nothing more gratifying than being able to make your own food. It is one way that you are certain of what is in your food. You choose the ingredients and methods for preparing it. This give you so much control and power regarding what goes into your food and subsequently into your body. I know we live very busy lives now and most people have little time to spend in the kitchen. But I say, when there is a will there is a way. A little coordination and planning will also help. Cooking in bulk and storing is a great idea. Having a great interest in your health and that of your loved ones, is an ongoing motivating factor.