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One of my recent posts was on my exercise preferences and how I want to be healthy, for myself and for my family. I do know that it isn’t just exercise that will help me accomplish that. I have to also change my eating habits. I should be drinking more water and I should change the way I eat and what I eat.

There are several ways that this can be accomplished; in the past, I have done the South Beach Diet and lost 20 pounds. South Beach Diet requires you to give up carbohydrates and sugars for two weeks. This is supposed to retrain your body to burn fat instead of the sugar. The trick is that sugars also mean natural sugars that are found in fruit. You can’t eat bread, pasta, bagels—everything that you would expect—but you also can’t eat apples, bananas, watermelon or other fruits.

After those first two weeks, you are supposed to slowly introduce carbs and sugars back into your diet, starting with fruits and whole grains, which are natural and better for your body, than the refined grains. South Beach does work; I lost seven pounds in those first two weeks and continued to lose about five pounds a month after that. But when I got lazy about following the diet, I plateaued at 160 pounds. However, I didn’t go back up to what I was.

Another diet that I have had a moderate amount of success with is the Reader’s Digest Diet, but I don’t really follow it. However, the shakes and soups are very good and very filling, so it is something easy to make and eat and not overeat. I enjoy making the shakes for dinner, so that I’m not eating a heavy meal at the end of the day.

One thing that I have not done, but I know people who have lost weight and kept the weight off is with Weight Watchers. The points make it easy to keep track off and they use the points wisely, making sure that they get a certain amount of protein, sugars, carbs, diary, etc.

The biggest thing about your diet is that you can’t think about it as a temporary thing. If you say that you’ll follow this until you hit your goal weight, you are sabotaging yourself before you begin. When I say ‘diet’, I mean eating habits. I have to change the way I eat for a lifetime—it’s a lifestyle change, not just a temporary fix.