Why lifestyle changes beat trending diets every single time

Your Focus on food and your diet might be doing more harm than good

"Is it time to eat yet?" -Me thirty times a day

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To the people that can successfully go on a diet, stick to it, and leave it on the table, I. Envy. You. Just thinking about dieting, counting calories, and planning meals make me want to nap (or stress eat a burger.)

Unfortunately, I've never had a good experience with dieting or weight loss programs because I like to focus on one thing at a time and take on the full challenge yet. When my single-minded personality goes on a diet, that's all I want to think about. "Green stuff speeds up my metabolism so I can have another smoothie now, right?" (Thirty minutes after breakfast.)

When I'm focused on my diet or losing weight, I get excited on days that I didn't have a lot to eat because my Fitbit says I still have 1,000 calories to go for the day. Normally I would go home and eat a regular dinner, but since I'm focused on getting all of my calories in, I would max out my plate.

Truth is, your health comes down to your lifestyle. Most generally, your body reflects your daily routine. Some people DO have a faster metabolism, so don't think that your size two friend runs marathons every day just because they're skinny.

Generally, if you're relying on fast food as your main meal source, you don't have to make a dramatic lifestyle change, like the Keto diet, to lose the little bit that you want. The overall point goal for weight loss is to burn more calories than you intake in a day. By switching out your burger for a salad OR side of fries for an apple at lunch, you can save around five hundred calories!

Dieting is frustrating, especially when you're treating it as a short-term fix. After you've dropped the weight, you still might find yourself obsessed with food or your body image. You don't want to see that weight come back anytime soon so when does your 'diet' really end?

This is why you shouldn't focus on food as you fix. There's no doubt that making drastic changes will get you faster results, but changing a few things about your lifestyle, like one meal (or snack) a day or going for a run in the morning is much easier to incorporate in your life as a permanent change.

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I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And You Can Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.
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It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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The Lazy Girl's Guide To The Gym

Also, everything else you should know if you're a slightly out-of-shape girl (like me).

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With my freshman year coming to an end, I realized a lot of things. I made new friends, I found new hobbies, and I learned a lot of lessons. One of them being that the "Freshman 15" is very real and very scary.

While my friends and family have attempted multiple times to convince me that I'm just being dramatic (I am), I still want to make a change in my lifestyle or I will, in all seriousness, be on track to the "Sophomore 20".

Here is a list of my best gym and healthy lifestyle tips that I am slowly attempting to live by this summer in order to resurrect Emily's 18-year-old body and health.

1. Increase water intake.

2. Find a gym buddy.

3. Start off with cardio.

4. Don't stop on your cardio until you're dripping in sweat.

5. Chug a LOT of water an hour before the gym.

Do not do it right before, or you will be in pain.

6. Eat light beforehand but just enough to hold you over. 

7. Plan out what your routine will be BEFORE you get there.

My routine: Elliptical for a mile, Stairmaster for 10 minutes, ab HIIT workout for 10 minutes, 5 more minutes on Stairmaster.

8. Buy healthy foods while you're feeling motivated.

9. Find a gym that isn't too far from your house. 

10. Don't get mad at yourself if you don't see results in a day.

I know this is a hard one.

11. Try fitness classes. 

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