Are you tired of fad diets that promise quick results and looking for an approach you can stick with? While we are all different and there isn't just one to reach your goals, these are some good principles to follow and incorporate into your lifestyle that make success much more likely and help you sustain things for the long run to enjoy the benefits to your health for the long run.

1. Set Realistic Goals: The first step in creating a smart diet strategy is to set realistic goals. Be honest with yourself about what you want to achieve and the timeline in which you want to achieve it. Avoid setting overly ambitious goals that are not sustainable in the long run. Instead, aim for gradual and steady progress. Remember that sustainable weight loss is typically 1-2 pounds per week, so be patient and persistent.

2. Understand Your Nutritional Needs: A smart diet strategy begins with understanding your nutritional needs. Each person is unique and requires different amounts of nutrients based on factors such as age, gender, weight, height, activity level, and overall health. Consider consulting a registered dietitian or nutrition specialist to determine your specific nutritional needs and design a diet plan that is tailored to your requirements.

3. Emphasize Whole Foods: A key component of a smart diet strategy is to emphasize whole foods. Whole foods are minimally processed and retain their natural nutrients, making them more nutritious and filling compared to processed foods. Include a variety of whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and dairy or dairy alternatives in your diet. These nutrient-dense foods will provide you with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are important for overall health and weight management.

4. Practice Portion Control: Another important aspect of a smart diet strategy is portion control. Even healthy foods can lead to weight gain if consumed in excess. Be mindful of portion sizes and avoid eating large portions of high-calorie foods, even if they are considered healthy. Use smaller plates and bowls, and pay attention to hunger cues to prevent overeating. Remember, it's not just what you eat but how much you eat that matters.

5. Listen to Your Body: Listening to your body is a fundamental principle of a smart diet strategy. Pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues, and eat when you are hungry, not out of boredom or emotion. Eat slowly and mindfully, sand stop eating when you are comfortably full. Avoid eating late at night or in response to emotional triggers. Tune in to your body's signals to develop a healthy relationship with food.

6. Stay Hydrated: Hydration is a crucial element of a smart diet strategy. Water is essential for many bodily functions, including digestion, metabolism, and appetite regulation. Drink water throughout the day, and aim for at least 8 glasses (64 ounces) of water per day. You can also consume water-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables to help with hydration. Avoid sugary beverages and excessive alcohol, as they can add empty calories to your diet.

7. Plan and Prepare Meals: Planning and preparing meals in advance is a smart diet strategy that can save you time, money, and unnecessary stress. Plan your meals for the week, create a shopping list, and stock up on healthy ingredients. Cook at home as much as possible, so you have control over the quality and quantity of the food you eat. Prepare healthy snacks, such as cut-up fruits and vegetables, nuts, or yogurt, to have on hand when hunger strikes. Avoid relying on convenience foods or eating out frequently, as they can be high in calories and low in nutrients.

Just remember it is a journey taken one day at a time that is worth the effort. There are no failures if you just keep going, one step at a time you will succeed!