We've all experienced "Groundhog Day Diets." The diets we get all excited about at the start of the new year, stay on for a couple of weeks or months, then with the flash of a cold, stressful week at work, or Valentine's Day party, go out the window as soon as they started.  The reason most of these diets fail is because they are likely restrictive eating regimens that cut out one type of food, food group, or limit the foods you eat so much that the eating regimen becomes boring.  That is why the best way to get healthy for the long term is to avoid "diets" all together and stay balanced with the following rules to eat by:

1.) Avoid deprivation:  If we feel like we are depriving ourselves from certain foods, then it makes eating seem more like a chore than the enjoyable part of our lives that it should be.  Although it's not recommended to consume sweets, cola, and salty snacks everyday, allowing ourselves a small amount of a tempting food once a week will not break the calorie bank and may prevent use from binging on such temptations and derailing our healthy lifestyle attempts.  Allowing yourself 150 to 200 "discretionary calories" a day can allow us one ounce of that dark chocolate we are craving, or one small bag of potato chips so that we can stay on track for most of each day without feeling deprived.

2.) Don't just juice it:  Unless you have swallowing issues, it is not recommended to stay on a long-term juice diet.  When we juice fruits and vegetables, much of the fiber in such foods is removed which is the nutrient that helps slow our digestion and aid us in absorbing the most vitamins from our food as possible, in addition to helping stabilize our blood sugar levels and keeping us fuller longer.  In addition, some extreme juice diets can completely deprive our bodies from any form of rich protein during the day which can, in the long term, deplete lean body mass which results in slower metabolism and a feeling of fatigue throughout the day.

3.) Eat real food: Many diets claim that you will lose 7 lbs in 7 days, just call this number, take this pill or powder, eat these special foods, and you will fit into your skinny jeans.   First of all, losing more than 2.5 lbs/week on average, is not the healthiest way to lose weight since losing weight so quickly will likely just be fluid weight lost, and will be gained back once you hydrate yourself properly.  Secondly, the easiest way to get healthy and lose weight healthfully is to just eat real food...not specially designed powders and pills that claim to help you curb your appetite and burn fat, but real food like fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products, lean meats, seafood, legumes, nuts, and whole grains.  Besides the fact that many supplements on the market that claim to aid in weight loss are not researched and tested to see if they may be harmful to your health.

Therefore, stay true to fresh, whole food and balance your healthy eating with a few treats here and there, and you will be sure to have an easier time keeping your diet resolutions this year!