Eating a healthy diet is an activity that’s often not at the top of our minds until our mid to late thirties. While we’re young, we can typically “get away” with eating anything we want at anytime. Some of us don’t value the opportunity to form healthy eating habits while young. As we age and as our metabolism slows down, we no longer have the luxury of going about our dieting activities without a plan. Some believe that they are a point of no return once they reach a certain weight or have certain health issues (i.e. high blood pressure and diabetes). Many people also fall victim to gimmicky diets that produce temporary results. You can’t give up and you can’t let failed diets discourage you from reaching your goals. We propose that keeping it simple is the best way to get started when seeking to form healthy eating habits. Below are ten simple ways to kickstart a healthy diet. And remember, everyone (including myself) has weaknesses. If you have a bad day filled with the eating of too many tasty desserts, don’t get discouraged. Take note of what caused the setback so you can learn from it. In fact, that’s related to our first point…

1. Don’t lean on will power. That’s too difficult. Try to avoid people, places and activities that encourage your eating of things that aren’t good for your diet.

2. Drink more water. We are often thirsty when we feel hungry. Try drinking water instead of going for a candy bar. Also substitute water for sugary beverages whenever possible.

3. Decrease your options. Avoid eating out of curiosity by limiting your diet to certain foods.

4. Make sure there’s something green and leafy on your plate.

5. Avoid overusing fatty dressings, sauces and other add-ons. A salad can turn into a fatty/high calorie meal after you pile on the ranch dressing, croutons, cheese and bacon bits. Go heavy on the vegetables instead (add carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, etc.)

6. Eat more home-cooked meals. Not only is this a healthy tip, but it’s also good for your budget.

7. If you’re dining out, place your order first. Doing this will help you avoid being influenced by other people’s unhealthy food choices.

8. Get more sleep. Some researchers have found that lack of sleep can increase your desire to eat. For some this is not a simple task (because of family and/or work obligations), so be sure to rest and relax when you have an opportunity. This might involve giving up television or Internet usage.

9. Regularly consult your physician about your eating habits and concerns during your visits. There are no bad questions when it comes to your health. The doctors at Valley Healthcare can answer your questions and will provide you sound advice that’s compatible with your situation.

10. Get started now. Don’t wait until January 1st for New Year’s Resolutions. There’s power in immediate action.

Christopher Craft is the Founder/CVO of Nao Media and Consulting, a hybrid firm (media/branding/marketing/design) working in the fields of sports and entertainment. He blogs regularly at the Nao blog. You can follow Chris on Twitter, connect with him on LinkedIn and circle him on Google+.

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