Dieting can be really hard, especially when you set extreme goals for yourself and then just end up falling back into your old habits. This is something that many of us have probably experienced at some point in our lives, but you don't have to keep repeating this process. Actually, it is pretty unhealthy to yo-yo. Dieting is not about a temporary thing. For many people, dieting has to be a "lifestyle change". Nutritionally, our bodies can only handle so much, and in our society today, there are so many unhealthy additives in foods that it can seem a bit overwhelming what to choose and where to start. With some of these initial beginning steps, you can see yourself becoming a healthier you. 


The first and most important part about sticking to your diet is developing a plan. You can do this by picking up a daily planner or a notebook and tracking your foods in it. Don't go overboard though. Most people who track every little thing that they eat get sick of it after a week, and you guessed it, end up throwing in the towel very early on. I would say this planning phase should only be used in the beginning stages of your diet to help you stay on track. After that, it should just come naturally to you so you won't need it anymore. Plus, most healthy people aren't just sitting around and calculating their calories every day. They are just enjoying life by making smart choices, and that's what it's all about. 


Make a list of all the foods and beverages that you currently consume. Now, think of any of the foods or beverages you can substitute. For instance, the next time you go to the store, instead of getting the original crackers or snacks that you usually get, try replacing them with the reduced fat or fat free options. Many people claim that these snacks are still unhealthy, but, in all honesty, every little bit helps.

In addition, since you are gradually phasing in to the diet, this is a great way to adjust. It is never okay to just say: "I am going to stop eating all of these snacks and just stick to fruits and veggies". Part of the problem with that mentality is that your body can handle such a rapid adjustment in that amount of time. It has been used to digesting these other types of foods, so just let your body tell you when you are ready to get more intense in your diet.

Another thing that you can substitute for is soda and sugary drinks. There are some great drink mixes that have no calories and barely any sugars if you are the type of person that is addicted to sweet drinks. If you are a soda addict, the best solution is to slowly ween yourself off of it. Try replacing one soda a day with a large glass of water instead. It will keep you full longer and, eventually, it will cut down your soda consumption by a long shot. 

Mixing In Your Greens

Since you are new to this, try gradually adding healthier options to each meal. Maybe instead of having macaroni and cheese as a side to your steak tonight you have decided to prepare steamed cauliflower and some apple sauce. This is a nice adjustment that shouldn't be to harsh on you at first. Just make sure you are consuming enough each day to fuel your body, that is the important part. 


Snacking is certainly okay on a diet, there is nothing wrong with that. Just make sure that you stick to some low fat options instead of what you normally eat. That way, you can have your cake and eat it too! Don't stress about the amount you are snacking in the first couple of weeks of this. The important thing is that you are gradually making healthier choices along the way that will benefit you in the long run. 

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Along with every good lifestyle change, you have to put your foot down and put some rules in place. You need to exercise for at least 30 minutes a week starting out. Eventually, you want to get yourself to 20 minutes a day, that would be ideal. It doesn't have to be a really strenuous workout either. Do some yoga, dance, or just do some light stretching to start yourself off. Eventually, your body will be ready for higher impact stuff once it has gotten used to this daily motion. Don't be afraid if you feel sore after the first couple of days either. Convince yourself that this is all good for you and your body and that you can do it! Only you can be your own best motivator! 


Dieting can be difficult, but it doesn't have to be. Be your own best friend and don't call it a "diet". Don't treat it like something that is temporary. That is where most people fail because they end up gaining all of the weight back. Treat it like it is a step in the right direction; treat it like it is you making your dreams come true. Don't give up on it or yourself. You can do it, if you have the drive to succeed.