To eat or not to eat? That is the question.

When it comes to trying to lose weight or just eat well, this is the question we’re faced with. It can be tempting, for example, to skip breakfast so that you can go big or lunch or dinner; or to try and make up for eating too much in one meal by skipping on another.

Hear me out: don’t.

Dieting and healthy eating are hard as it is, and though it might seem to make sense to try and balance the scales with calories in the short term, it’s better to think long-term and build healthier habits into your life.

Here’s how to make the most out of your healthy living, weight loss, or weight gain plan.

1 – Don’t eat unless you’re hungry, but don’t wait until you’re hungry to eat

These might sound like opposites, but there’s a reason why we’re saying so. If you wait until you’re very hungry, you’re more likely to overeat; and if you eat when you’re not hungry, or when you’re full, you’re not likely to enjoy the food.

So here’s what you do: aim for three meals and one or two snacks a day. That way, you won’t experience energy dips during the day, and are less likely to end up eating more than you need to.

2 – Think quality not quantity

When you’re counting calories, it easy to only think in terms of the numbers. Do your best to resist. While calories are the numbers that count, not all calories are created equal, and that’s why the source of those calories matters just as much if not more than the calories themselves.

Try to aim for calorie sources that are rich in protein and complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats, and low in sugar. Doing this means you’re less likely to get hungry, won’t get weighed down with heavy food, and will have more level sugar and energy levels.

3 – Relax and enjoy the journey

While it is easy to get caught up with the end goal, try and live in the moment too. While it’s natural to want to make sacrifices that get you the results you want sooner, it’s better to find a way of achieving your goals that’s sustainable and doesn’t detract from your overall quality of life.

Femi A-Williams is a health and fitness convert trying to reconcile a healthy lifestyle and a happy food life. She is 80% whole grain and 20% donut.

All posts by Femi A-Williams