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Thinking of starting a diet? Want 2015 to be your year of healthy living? There are a few things you should consider before you jump in.

This is Olivia, the iNatural blogger. I love the new year. It’s a fresh start, time for positive change. The biggest thing I’ve learned from years of working to improve my diet? If you want real results, you have to eat real food.

New Year New You

It’s good to be a skeptic when it comes to diets. If it sounds too good to true, it probably is. All good wellness plans should include these ground rules:

1. Avoid processed foods.

If your diet plan urges you to snack, great. If it urges you to snack on meal replacement bars or candy thinly disguised as granola or health bars, beware! Reducing the amount of processed food you consume is one of the best ways to lose weight. If you find yourself reaching for a snack that’s low in calories but high in sodium, artificial sweeteners, or other chemicals…. reconsider.

This is the crux of any wellness and weight management plan. If you want real results, you have to eat real food.

Bad snacks: Processed food that compensates for a lack of calories/fat/carbs with high levels of artificial ingredients or salt

Good snacks: Apple slices and peanut butter, a hardboiled egg, nuts, hummus and slices of bell pepper

2. Stay active.

Yes, you still have to exercise. Diet plans that promise weight loss without exercise might work in the short-term, but unless activity is a part of your daily life, you might find it difficult to maintain your ideal, healthy size. All diets work best in conjunction with exercise.

This doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon. Gradually incorporate more and more movement into your daily life. Don’t forget, a small snack before you hit the gym keeps your energy levels up! And watch out for hidden calories or artificial ingredients in sports drinks. Unless you are exercising for hours, water is your best bet.

Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do to improve your overall health. If you exercise, you feel better; if you feel better, you’re more likely to eat well. Exercise helps burn calories AND it builds muscle. Muscle requires more energy than fat to maintain — if you have more muscle mass, you then burn more calories. It’s a happy cycle.

Bad activity: Starving yourself and attempting an exercise plan that is too intense for your fitness level

Good activity: Walking more, swimming lots, hitting the gym, and maintaining your healthy eating plan to avoid fatigue

3. Moderation is key.

Beware of diets that have you completely eliminate a food group. Extremes are hard to maintain. Your body needs carbs, fat, and protein in balance. Restricting yourself to a narrow range of foods can be okay for a short period of time to kick-start your wellness plan, but in general it is healthier to eat a variety of foods.

A diet isn’t just for a month. It should promote a lifestyle change that you can maintain indefinitely. That’s why you should be wary of diet plans that call for extreme measures. It’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor to make sure a diet is right for you.

Bad diet: Cuts out a food group entirely and is impossible to maintain in the long-term

Good diet: Might be restrictive at first but gradually includes the full range of healthy, real foods

If you are thinking about starting a diet in 2015, make sure you pick a plan that will improve your overall health. Moderation, activity, and real foods are the three key ingredients for a healthy lifestyle. With these three tips, you should be ready to make 2015 your healthiest year yet! (You should, of course, always consult with your doctor before starting a new eating plan.)

iNatural provides fresh, made-from-scratch food that satisfies because it’s nutritious and delicious. We create balanced, healthy dishes without using artificial ingredients. Just because it’s a party doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your wellness goals! Ask us how we can complement any occasion with festive, delicious, and healthy food.

As always, we welcome feedback. Just leave a comment, email us at info@inaturalcatering.com, or use our contact form. Thanks, and we hope to hear from you soon.


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