I’m going to start this off by telling you that I am absolutely, 100 percent against dieting! If I want a chocolate covered double cheeseburger for lunch, then that’s what I’ll eat. If I want pancakes drowned in butter and maple syrup for dessert, then that’s what I’ll get. Obviously, this isn’t how I eat every meal of every day, but I don’t think twice about giving myself a cheat meal, even if I feel like I want one way too often. And yes, I do have cheat days instead of cheat meals. And cheat weeks instead of cheat days. But even after a mess up of that sort, skipping meals is out of the question, as is being overly healthy after a cheat period.

So what’s an easy way to make up for eating badly sometimes, or to forgive yourself for it? First and foremost, I attribute my non-100kg weight to daily exercise. I know it doesn’t completely make up for bad eating habits, but it definitely makes a huge difference and gives you a lot more calories to spare if you’re working out properly. Swimming offers a really great option, burning plenty of calories because of the extensive cardio, but also building up some good, lean, full body muscles to boost your metabolism and burn more calories while just resting. Other than working out, there’s one major way to eat the way you want to without packing on the extra pounds, and that’s keeping a food diary.

I used to read a lot of those “top 10” type articles that tell you what to eat, how to lose weight, etc. Almost always, they included the recommendation to keep a food diary listing everything you ate that day, even if just a bite of it. I always looked down on this suggestion, thinking to myself, “How silly, as if I don’t know what I’m eating!”

Then, I started blogging about my swimming and track workouts, and began keeping up a myfitnesspal page to track my weight loss progress and my meals. I quickly realized that I had been very wrong! I’ve been keeping my food diary for about six months now, and it has really helped me keep in shape and watch my food intake! It helped me realize that we consume so much more food than we think we do. Those few bites we grab on our way out of the house, the row of chocolate squares from a friend, the quick study snack from the nearest store – they all add up, and very, very quickly.

So with that, I share with you my biggest health tip – learn how to say no. Save your calories for that delicious chocolate cake you’ve been craving, rather than wasting them on the bites you’ve accumulated by munching around all day. I’d really recommend a food diary to anyone wanting to lose weight. Even if you just keep it for a few weeks, it’ll really help give you an idea on how many extra calories you’re taking in each day without even enjoying them.

More: The Building Blocks

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