I hate the thought of having to think that I'm depriving myself of foods that I enjoy, just to maintain and try to lose a few pounds. It's no secret that women can have a really tough time trying to take off extra pounds...and who doesn't get tired of being beat down by one failed attempt after another. It's exhausting. How do you make it happen, and stop thinking about it?


You may not want to hear this...but staying healthy is a life long journey. Every decision we make regarding what we give to our bodies for nutrition, has an effect on that journey. So maybe you spent the first half of your life, eating hot dish, desserts, and big suppers.  We're Minnesotans! We love our food. So how do we get over the obstacles in front of us?


I'm the worlds worst for trying to get back to my high school weight?  Hello? Kelly? Are you nuts?  Weighing what you weighed as a kid when you're close to 50 isn't even a healthy thought. Our bones are more dense, and so we will weigh more.  Set a realistic goal, set your calorie goal per day, and then shoot for losing 1/2 pound to 1 pound each week, rather than setting lofty goals of two pounds a week, that may leave you feeling hungry, and lead you to a plateau.


If you have a handful of favorite comfort foods, or recipes that are your go to foods, get some accurate nutrition on those meals you're making. It may take you a little time to get this done, but once you have your favorite recipes figured out, you can work them into meal time, and possibly find alternative ingredients that will make it taste just as good, with fewer calories.


Water should be an easy one. Tracking your water intake is important. Being properly hydrated is so important in weight loss. Try to drink 1/2 your body weight in water each day. If you don't drink hardly any water now, it's a goal to increase it over time, so the plan sticks.


A easy effective strategy to improve your diet that promotes weight loss. FIber provides a full feeling effect, and helps you eat less and manage your appetite. Your daily fiber goal should be 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. Track your food and find out what your fiber intake is. Then start choosing foods that are higher in fiber; examples are whole grains, nuts, fruits, and veggies.  Beans are a great source of fiber.


I've been told to keep a journal. The key to keeping the journal is to be truthful with yourself. It's not a punishment. This is my problem. I'll put everything in my journal, except overnight. or if I know I shouldn't eat a piece of cheesecake. I'm not journaling that!  Someone will see that I've been bad! Actually, we ALL take a break from healthy eating from time to time. Journaling isn't a punishment. It's your tool. Think of this as just a science experiment. Take yourself out of it. No punishment!  Put in in the book! and learn what you can and can't do.


Although weighing yourself is important to give you a general idea of your weight, don't pay so much attention to the number on the scale. We all have the number punishment game going on.  What number would say healthy to you? It depends on your age, height.....so many things. Don't focus on the number, just focus on the fluctuation of the number and get on that scale everyday.


See how much activityyou're getting in each day. Whether it's exercising, walking around the office, going out to a park, dancing; or are you just sitting on the couch? It's good to take a look at your daily and weekly activity to see where maybe you can make some healthy changes gradually over time.


I found Robert Lagassee on line in a discussion group, talking about the difficulty of weight loss and plateaus. If you're thinking about giving up, read his post:

"I'm in one right now. (a weightloss plateau).  I hit the gym 6 days a week try to stay around 1900 calories per day. Drink 8 cups of water per day. And sit at the same weight for the last couple of weeks. Plateaus in a word "suck."  But I look where I was and see where I'm going so I'll keep hitting it. I started this journey at 345 pounds. One click away from being on insulin and had already had 2 toes removed. Met a doctor who finally got me thinking. Now at 205 pounds, my Ac1 is at 7.0 and I feel better than I have for 40 years. I'll take sitting at 205 pounds for a little longer and keep using my app and tracking my food because the alternative "sucks more."

Note: The information in this article came from the blog of Jenna Braddock, who is a registered dietitian, nutritionist and certified specialist in sports nutrition. She is a mother of two and wife of a football coach. She shares real life strategies for better health and doable and delicious recipes on her site Make Healthy Easy. She's also active on Twitter, Instragram, Facebook and Pinterest.