What do you think about when you hear the word “dieting?” Does the term make you happy? Is it something that you look forward to doing? If you are like many people, your answers to those questions are not positive responses.

The word diet, when used in relation to weight loss makes us think of deprivation. To most people, dieting means giving something up and being mostly unhappy about it, which is why for many individuals who “diet,” give up after a week or two. The good news is that many people have found an alternative to weight loss “diets,” and that alternative is healthy eating.

Healthy Eating is a Lifestyle

Over time, healthy eating will not only lead to weight loss but is better for maintaining weight because it becomes a lifestyle rather than a temporary fix. Choosing to eat healthy means enjoying more of the foods you love and consuming less of the foods that can lead to weight gain and increased risk for chronic conditions like elevated cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes.

Healthy eating can taste great. Think of a succulent piece of grilled chicken or salmon topped with fresh salsa. Imagine a bowl of sweet and chilled chunks of melon on a hot day. These choices are not only satisfying, but they are also low in calories and contain nutrients that will help you stay healthy.

Healthy Eating does not Mean Deprivation

If you think healthy eating means that you cannot have your cake and eat it too, think again. Healthy eating is not deprivation. When you celebrate a birthday, have that piece of cake. What you will find is that when you make healthy food choices most of the time, you don’t have visions of cake and cookies dancing in your head. You can enjoy a celebration and then continue with your healthy lifestyle. In fact, if you are like most people who have developed a habit of healthy eating rather than dieting, you probably won’t have the desire for huge hunks of cake and big bowls of ice cream.

Begin Your Healthy Eating Journey with Small Steps

If you have been accustomed to eating foods that offer few health benefits, it may take a little while for you to become a healthy eater. Ease into a healthy eating pattern by drinking more water. Each day replaces a couple of your sugary drinks with water. Replace at least one unhealthy snack each day with a piece of fruit. These two simple changes are easy, but they can move you toward a goal of healthy eating.