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4 Tips for Following a Healthy Diet
Without Going Overboard

By Elliot Caleira

Since obesity is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, heart attacks, and many other dangerous conditions, dieting to reach a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do for your body. However, it can be a little difficult to find a balance between eating a healthy diet and obsessively dieting. Some people end up monitoring everything they eat and getting upset if they ever fall off the wagon. Follow these tips to make sure your approach to dieting remains balanced and safe.

Skip Tracking Calories and Focus on Macronutrients Instead

For many people, calorie counting is a valuable tool for avoiding obesity. However, those prone to anxiety can end up focusing far too much on numerical targets. Instead of precisely tracking what you eat, try following general rules for healthy eating. This includes things like skipping processed foods, only eating a small amount of sugar, and making sure at least half of your plate is filled with fruits and vegetables. Being able to know basic macronutrient values, such as how much protein is in an egg, will let you eat the right balance of fat, carbs, and protein at each meal.

Have a Cheat Meal Every Now and Then

One sign that you are starting to obsess too much about your diet is a rigid inability to ever alter your diet. You need to be able to relax and remind yourself that one candy bar or plate of chicken wings is not going to kill you, and having a cheat meal occasionally can help. Some people like to plan one for every week while others prefer to only do this on a monthly basis. The key is to eat foods you like without stressing about the number of calories or nutrients in the item. A cheat meal can be particularly healthy if you are trying to lose weight because it boosts your metabolism.

Avoid Weighing Yourself Constantly

Many people who have an obsession with healthy eating further freak themselves out by obsessively weighing themselves and stressing out every time their weight dips above or below a certain range. However, this often just happens because of weight shifts throughout the day due to water intake and hormone fluctuations. You can get a more balanced idea of your overall weight by only weighing yourself no more than once a week and weighing yourself before you eat or drink anything in the morning. This will help you to realize that you are making consistent progress without worrying about every single thing you eat.

Pay Attention to Your Body

When you are trying to eat healthily, it is important to be aware of how your nutritional choices affect your body. Carbohydrates provide you with much-needed energy, fat keeps you feeling full, and protein helps you to recover from a workout. If you are feeling tired and groggy, you may need to increase your overall calorie intake, while feeling bloated and full after a meal means you are eating too much. Healthy eating requires you to pay attention to your body's signals and be careful of not eating more or less than you need.

Following these tips will help you to avoid stressing out too much about what you eat. Though eating healthy is typically a good thing, it is possible to become so focused on it that you end up negatively impacting your physical and emotional health. The keys to avoiding obsessive eating rely on listening to your body and being forgiving of mistakes. As long as you continue to eat primarily non-processed foods and avoid overeating, you can still stay healthy.

Elliot Caleira is a freelance writer in the self-mastery and health and wellness spaces. When he's not writing you'll find him cooking or teaching Portuguese classes. More articles by Elliot.

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