I HATE the term "dieting." To me, there is a negative connotation that is associated with the word that automatically makes me think "okay how long can I really last without giving up and going ham on a box of Krispy Kreme donuts?" When dieting, we often think of it as more of a burden rather than something that will result in a positive outcome. After I stopped "dieting" and started to simply live a healthier lifestyle, not only did it change my approach, but it also drastically changed my results. Here are five tips that will get you to look and feel better than ever!

Write down a list of flexible goals

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To begin, it is important to figure out what you want to get out of this experience. For example, if you want more defined arms or a stronger core, write it down in a "healthy living journal." If you write your short-term and long-term goals down, you can continuously refer back to them in order to make your goals more specific or change them up over time. I suggest keeping these goals broad, so it leaves room for flexibility. Moreover, it does not have to be solely about exercise or eating healthier. You can also mention getting a minimum seven hours of sleep a night, having at least one meaningful conversation with a friend per week, setting aside ten minutes a day for silent meditation, reflection, or prayer with no distractions, or limiting your coffee intake to twice a week (I'm doing this one now, and let's just say it is not easy). The key is to have some fun with your list!

Do your research

Don't go in blind! So many people who "diet" think they should simply eat less. Sometimes it can be as simple as sticking to water instead of soft drinks or limiting your snacking to once a day. There are some awesome Youtubers out there that have great insight on how to approach eating healthier and working out. My personal favorite is Cassey Ho (blogilates)!

Now that you have a plan, stick with it!

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It is important to try your best to stick to your plan and hold yourself accountable. That being said, don't get too down on yourself if you have a cheat day here and there. We all need that pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream from time to time.

Focus on how you feel and not the number on the scale

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When it comes to exercise and eating healthier, we have a tendency to want to see immediate results. However, try not to focus too much on the number on the scale. I stopped weighing myself completely, and it has helped me to stay positive! I have found that the best way to go about living a healthier lifestyle is by focusing on your mind, body, and soul. In other words, your goal shouldn't be to just lose weight. Your goals should also include becoming more informed, feeling more confident in your everyday life, and emanating positive energy throughout the week.

With these tips, you're now ready to begin your journey!