This isn't going to be an article on why you should give up all your favorite junk/fast food, (trust me i wouldn't do it either) this is about the benefits of making a healthier difference in your lifestyle, not temporary dieting. Im a person who loves to eat, I love food (as you can see from all my hearts) food is such a beautiful thing that is one of the most basic necessities of living, yet its the cause of many problems (weight, bad skin, low energy, etc) i love food yet i have such a complicated relationship with it, eating too much junk/fast/processed food leaves me feeling gross if i consume too much/too often. For a long time I didn't know what to do, I didn't like my body and always felt bad about myself for giving my body so much junk and not enough vital nutrients. The solution is simple and its not about cutting out all your favorite foods, its about increasing your intake of healthy food and the right amount of it, and decreasing how much and/or how often you consume unhealthy food. No "diet " is perfect and its not about making yourself miserable by not eating what makes you happy, never make yourself dread the thought of a "diet". The word "diet" has such a negative connotation to it, its best to think of it as a "healthy lifestyle", it'll make yourself not think of it as a short term depressing food restriction, but opting for the long term positive results you wont regret. I will give 10 tips that will make it easier to enter your healthy lifestyle ( Its not about sudden drastic changes that take place in one day, but something you ease into at your own pace)

LISTEN TO WHAT YOUR BODY WANTS.
(completely dismissing your body's desire for something will just make you more unhappy, so have some and don't regret it too much, you can always make up for it later, just don't go overboard)

EAT UNTIL YOU'RE FULL.
(you can always save the rest for later, but don't eat in excess just because you can)

FOLLOW THE 80/20 METHOD
(I found this out by supermodel Miranda Kerr, its very simple, in a day eat 80% healthy and 20% indulgent)

LIFE IS ABOUT BALANCE AND SO IS YOUR FOOD.
(throughout the day make sure you get the right amounts of a variety of different foods, for example try to include fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, protein, healthy fats, good carbs, and some sugar (for your sweet tooth) having a variety will give your body plenty of essential vitamins and minerals and macronutrients)

LIFE IS'NT PERFECT SO YOU SHOULD'NT HAVE TO BE PERFECT.
(I wish i could wake up at 7am and drink a green smoothie and have a vegetable loaded salad for lunch and fruit for a snack and salmon+brown rice with a side of asparagus for dinner but unfortunately you're not always able to control what you can and cannot eat in a day, whether its money or time reasons sometimes you can only have one big meal a day and maybe its not the healthiest, but thats okay. Whatever you're going through sometimes you need to just give yourself a break and not feel so much pressure to eat perfect. Im really into health but i am just a high school student and sometimes i cant eat all this healthy stuff but its fine because you can make up for it later)

DRINK MORE H20.
(you will see a difference the more water you drink, feeling hydrated is such a satisfying feeling and its uber important, just do it)

BE CAUTIOUS OF YOUR CALORIC INTAKE IF YOU'RE TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT.
(if you're trying to lose weight the more aware of how many calories you are consuming the better because over time you will see a difference, just never cut back so much you're left feeling hungry because you wont be happy and it could lead to problems in the future like binge eating)

MACRONUTRIENTS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN CALORIES.
(macros are fats proteins and carbohydrates, and you're supposed to have more carbs than protein and more protein than fat. try to opt for the healthier versions of each like whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta and brown rice for carbs; lean meat, beans, and high protein vegetables (like spinach, broccoli, and asparagus) for protein; and avocados, salmon, and walnuts for healthy fats.)

DON'T SKIP MEALS TO LOSE WEIGHT OR PUNISH YOURSELF.
(do not get into the vicious cycle of not eating to lose weight or punish yourself, your body does everything to keep you alive and even if you cant give it super healthy food, at least give it something so you have energy to keep going.)

EAT FOOD THAT WILL GIVE YOU ESSENTIAL VITAMINS+MINERALS
( a healthier life is promoted by the kinds of vitamins+minerals you consume consistently, "super foods" have a variety of different benefits that you need to feel healthier and happier about yourself. I will have a list below of the different vitamins+minerals benefits and what foods are a good source of them.)

SOME VITAMINS+MINERALS AND THEIR BENEFITS + SOURCES

VITAMIN A
Needed for vision, healthy skin, bone and tooth growth, immune system health.

SOURCES- Milk, cheese, eggs, leafy dark green vegetables, apricots, cantaloupe, carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin.

VITAMIN B6
Part of an enzyme needed for making DNA and new cells, especially red blood cells.

(Note: high levels of B6 over a long period of time have been shown to cause irreversible nerve damage.The point is do not consume too much of anything even if its healthy because everything in excess can be bad)

SOURCES- Meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, fruits.

VITAMIN B12
Part of an enzyme needed for making new cells; important to nerve function.

SOURCES- Meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, milk, milk products (not found in plant foods)

VITAMIN C
Antioxidant; part of an enzyme needed for protein metabolism; important for immune system health; aids in iron absorption, gives skin elasticity.

SOURCES- Found only in fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits, vegetables in the cabbage family, strawberries, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, mangoes, kiwifruit.

VITAMIN D
Strong healthy bones.

SOURCES- Egg yolks, liver, fatty fish, when exposed to sunlight the skin can make vitamin D.

VITAMIN E
Antioxidant; blood circulation, protection from free radicals.

SOURCES- Leafy green vegetables, almonds, wheat germ, whole grain products, egg yolks, nuts+seeds.

VITAMIN K
For proper blood clotting.

SOURCES- Leafy green vegetables, milk, also produced in intestines by bacteria.

FOLIC ACID
Cell renewal

SOURCES- Dark leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, citrus fruits, beans, peas, lentils, seeds+nuts, cauliflower, beets, corn.

CALCIUM
Healthy teeth and bones.

SOURCES- Dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and milk.

IRON
Building muscles naturally and maintaining healthy blood.

SOURCES- Clams, oysters, liver, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, beans, lentils, spinach.

ZINC
Immunity, growth, fertility.

SOURCES- Seafood like oysters, spinach, cashews, beans, dark chocolate.

Now i will include a list of 16 SUPER FOODS that you should start adding to your diet.

1. BLUEBERRIES 2. KALE 3. OATMEAL 4. BROCCOLI 5. STRAWBERRIES 6. SALMON 7. WATERMELON 8. SPINACH 9. EGGS 10. ALMONDS 11. BEANS 12. APPLES 13. GARLIC 14. GREEK YOGURT 15. QUINOA 16. CHIA SEEDS

Health is very important to me and i'm obsessed with learning about the benefits of different foods and i hope this motivates you/ teaches you how to start a healthier lifestyle that is enjoyable and over all makes you happier because happiness is the most important thing and you have to work at it one step at a time, but in the end its all worth it.

-Sophia