Have a Loving Relationship with Food
Food is one of life’s pleasures. It is a way we take care of ourselves, so we should have a loving relationship with it. Think of pleasure as a process. The anticipation of eating, the actual eating and the way you feel afterwards are all important. To stay passionate about eating nutritious foods it is important to introduce a variety of different foods and expand your horizons.

Eat In As If You Are Eating Out
You don’t have to eat at a restaurant to make a meal special. Try exciting food preparations at home and your “diet” dishes will taste better. It is very hard to enjoy food and eat healthy if you are reheating a frozen entrée, especially if it looks unappetizing. Even when you are dining alone, play music, turn off the TV, light candles, sit down and enjoy the food you prepared. It will seem like you are treating yourself rather than feeling deprived. Focus on what you are eating and remember: it takes 15-20 minutes for your brain to register food consumption.

Eat Out As If You Are Eating In
Most restaurants serve extremely large portions. When food is sitting in front of us, even if we are full and satisfied, sometimes we continue to eat. A serving of meat or carbohydrates should be about the size of your hand, but unfortunately most restaurants portion size is at least 3 to 4 times that size. To avoid eating too much, my advice is to compensate in other ways; don’t overindulge in regular soda or alcohol, ask your server to hold the breadbasket, order a salad or broth based soup and share an entrée, order an entrée size salad, or order 2 appetizers for your main course, double up on veggie sides instead of potatoes or fries and once you are full, ask your server to wrap up he rest of your meal so you won’t keep nibbling.

If you are trying to lose weight and eat healthier you can still enjoy delicious foods, you just have to be a little creative. Instead of completely ruling out desserts, try and put a healthy twist on them. For a sweet tooth, try no sugar added ice cream or rice pudding with fresh fruit. If you are baking try adding healthy ingredients, such as applesauce for butter, egg whites for whole eggs or avocado for oil. We all love chocolate, try dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa in it. It has less sugar than milk chocolate and also contains some antioxidants.

Spice It Up
Eating is all about our senses – what we smell, what we taste, color and dimension. Herbs are an excellent way to spice things up while eating and cooking healthy. Unlike many condiments we add to our meals, such as ketchup, mayo and butter; herbs contain no calories and are quite nutritious, so you can use as much or as little as you like. Herbs have a more robust flavor and contain more antioxidants when they are fresh. Fresh squeezed lemons or limes are another excellent way to enhance the taste of our food. Instead of adding sugar to cereal or oatmeal try adding fresh ground cinnamon.

Learn How to Read Nutrition Labels
You must learn how to read nutrition labels. It will make it easier to lose weight and learn how to eat healthier. Also, it is extremely important to know what you are putting into your body. The more you understand a nutrition label, the better food decisions you will be able to make. Some key things to keep in mind: Ingredients are listed by quantity, from the largest to the smallest, so make sure the first couple of ingredients are healthy ones. Watch out for partially hydrogenated oils which contain trans fats. If a food contains less than .5 grams per serving of a trans fat they can list it as containing zero grams. It seems like no big deal but after consuming a couple of servings, you are at 2-3 grams of trans fat. Take a look at the products portion size and figure out if it is a realistic one for you. Nothing on the label will matter if you don’t control your portion size. Be realistic with your personal portion size. Aim for no more than 65 grams of fat per day, try to keep under 1 gram of saturated fat per snack with 0 grams of trans fat. Look at the sodium content and try to keep your daily intake less than 2300 mg. Look for foods that have complete carbohydrates, not necessarily fewer. Whole grains contain healthy carbs, such as fiber, that aid digestion. You need at least 20 grams per day, so snack on 3 grams of fiber per serving with a sugar content less than 5 grams. Sugars: 4 grams equals 1 tsp. of sugar. Some cereals have 16-20 grams per serving that could be 10 tsp. of sugar just in one meal.

Find 15 Minutes
If you can’t commit to 60 minutes of exercise than there’s no point in exercising, right? Wrong. Everybody can find 10 or 15 minutes in their day to exercise. Whether it is in the morning, lunchtime or after work it does not matter. A small burst of activity here and there will help give you the energy to get through your day and in the end it might add up to more minutes exercising than you think. Exercise also improves our endurance and mood by releasing endorphins, fell good hormones and boosting our serotonin levels.

Expand Your Workout Routine
If you are doing a cardio only workout routine, you probably have stopped seeing results. Try adding resistance training, such as yoga and pilates, where you use your body as resistance. Over the course of an hour, you challenge your flexibility, strength and balance. Cardio in conjunction with other strengthening exercises will help your muscles get longer and leaner, not bulkier. Plus the yoga and pilates aspect will help you feel more relaxed.

You don’t have to lose 15 pounds before you feel good about yourself. The scale does not always show our hard work, but if you congratulate and reward yourself every day you stick to eating healthier, you will feel positive and your motivation will continue. Don’t wait until you reach your “goal”, praise yourself each time you make a positive change in your life; whether it is taking the stairs, drinking water instead of diet soda or eating nutritious meals and snacks on a regular basis. We are all human, we make mistakes. The most important thing to remember is not to focus on the negative. Make up for your mistakes by adding an extra 15 minute exercise. Of course when you reach your “goal” whatever it is, celebrate. Go out to dinner with friends or treat yourself to something special you always wanted. Be proud of yourself and your accomplishments. It can increase your confidence and make you more willing to take on new challenges.

Author's Bio: 

Rachel Lerner is a certified nutritional consultant, fitness nutrition coach and founder of Personal Web Nutrition. She has run several successful weight loss contests and recently published an e-book weight loss program. Rachel has advised adults and children on managing weight, pain, food sensitivities or allergies, cholesterol, sugar and sodium through individualized food plans and programs. She has led seminars for several corporations (including Starwood Hotels) and written articles for many publications and ehow.com on various topics, including special dietary needs, the secrets to healthy eating, how food affects our mood and improving overall health. Most recently Rachel launched her own radio show on blogtalkradio.com called Healthy Bits and Bites. She also has been a guest blogger for celiacchicks.com and Healthy Style NY. Rachel’s custom services provide an opportunity to make positive changes in your eating habits without compromising taste.