I've been on my share of diets over the years: Weight Watchers, South Beach, Atkins, and quite a few others. Maybe it's the fact that I'm past 30, have four kids, and am less vain than I used to be. Or maybe I'm just tired and burnt out from counting calories, measuring portions, and watching every ounce on the scale.

Whatever the reason, I'm officially through with dieting. I've been diet-free for almost a year now and I FEEL GREAT. Great about myself and how I look (yes! I lost 25 pounds since I stopped dieting!) but also great about how I can finally enjoy food without the guilt.

How'd I do it? Just a few lifestyle changes:
  • I eat what I enjoy. Bread, pasta, pizza, salads. Dark chocolate. Nothing is forbidden. (There is one caveat: I do my best not to eat commercial or processed foods with weird ingredients that I can't read and don't stock in my kitchen. As Mark Bittman puts it in one of my favorite books Food Rules, if your grandmother wouldn't know the ingredient, it isn't real food and you shouldn't be eating it.) 
  • I enjoy what I eat. I savor every bite of every meal and snack. I indulge when I want to, and then make up for it later. Last week, I had a huge ice cream cone one afternoon and then skipped lunch and ate a light dinner to make up for it. The main rule when I indulge is to ENJOY IT and feel NO GUILT.
  • I load up on as many fruits and veggies as I want and try to eat mostly what's in season. Yesterday I had three apples, two oranges, and a cup of melon. And that was just the fruit. I had about 4 cups of salad too. I do not believe in counting portions when it comes to fruits and vegetables.
  • I eat VERY little of everything other than produce. Breakfast is a half cup of cereal. An eighth of a chicken plus a half a potato is dinner (plus several portions of salad or veggies). If I want more, or if it isn't meal time, I reach for a fruit. I do my very best to eat nothing but fruit between meals.Overall, after all is said and done, I probably take in about 1000 calories a day. But I don't count or measure!
And that's it! What's your secret to healthy eating?