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Being cooped up for months because of the Covid-19 quarantine led some people to make less-than-stellar food choices. Eating out of boredom is never a good idea. It’s time to reset and refocus with some lifestyle adjustments to help lose a few of those unwanted pounds.

When looking for quick results, the la-test diet craze is often tempting. The big problem with diets is they tend to be a temporary solution. Most diets are very restrictive with too many rules. This makes them difficult to commit to long term. After weight loss goals are reached, it is not unusual to quickly fall back into old habits. It becomes a vicious cycle. Getting off the hamster wheel requires some real lifestyle changes.

Developing a healthy relationship with food is the key to a strong mind and body. Making the choice to eat better is a challenge for some people. Many don’t know where to start. It is helpful to take small steps instead of trying to change everything at once. Here are a few tips to get started.

1. Substitute Sugary Drinks

with Water

The body needs an adequate amount of water every day to function appropriately. Swapping out artificially-flavored drinks with water eliminates extra calories that are often overlooked. Adding a fresh cut lemon or lime adds some flavor.

2. Eat Fewer Processed Foods

This is difficult for those who often give in to the abundance of fast food places and quick meal options available. Try going to restaurants that offer healthy foods and learn to get the best ingredients at the grocery store to prepare meals at home. As a rule, most grocery stores tend to keep the healthiest options in the periphery, so stick to those outside aisles. Avoiding the frozen foods section and choosing more fresh ingredients is a great way to get the ball rolling.

3. Get Fresh From the Farm

Local farmers’ markets offer a wide variety of high-quality, in season, locally-grown produce free from the process of packaging, storage, and long-distance shipping that removes important nutrients and flavor. The foods are harvested when perfectly ripened and brought directly to the market. Farmers’ markets are the perfect place to try some new, nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables picked at the peak of freshness.

4. Try a Juicer

Investing in a vegetable juicer is a smart move for beginners. Simply choose a few fresh veggies, add a bit of fruit to sweeten, and drink up. This is an easy way to give the body an extra boost of energy and vitamins. It takes time to change old habits. Focus on feeding the body more of the nutrients it needs and consuming less sugar and processed foods. Don’t be afraid to try new things.

5. Go for Healthy Quick Snacks

Summer days are meant for having fun in the sun, not stressing about diets and waistlines. When preparing this year’s beach coolers, ditch the prepackaged snacks. Instead, cut up some fresh watermelon or strawberries for a refreshing treat.

A few healthier choices makes all the difference between dreading the summer and enjoying it. Remember, it is not a diet, it is a lifestyle.

Rachel Wilbanks is in the Health Promotion B.S. program at University of North Texas.

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