I know it’s hard to navigate through the maze of diets making promises of quick, easy and painless weight loss. Some of them are “extreme”, others are just crazy. I mean, who in their right mind would eat nothing but white rice and pineapple for days on end? Where is the nutritional value in that? When you want to conquer the bathroom scale without sacrificing your health, just keep looking. Use your noggin and take your body’s needs into account. So what do you really need to include in your diet and what should you cut out?

How about including vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, less calories and more aerobic activity into your life? Cutting out fat and empty calories will keep your energy up and give wings to your metabolism. Do you see the value in that? Good. Compiling a list of easy recipes for your new way of eating and filling your refrigerator with fresh foods are your first step toward reaching a smaller number on your scales, a smaller size in your closet, and a bigger feeling of satisfaction and pride in the image you see each morning in your mirror. Realize that the first changes will only be visible to you, and that you won’t start hearing many comments for the first few pounds lost and you won’t be disappointed that everyone doesn’t immediately see what’s going on.

The first week on your new diet plan should have you jumping out of bed in the morning ready to tackle the day. That is, if you get the right amount of rest. Yes, sleep is an important factor of doing this thing right. No matter what else you do in the way of nutritious food choices, if you don’t give yourself sufficient rest you are just going to sabotage your efforts. See, the key to sculpting a luscious new body is making all of the right choices, not just some of them. Getting enough sleep is crucial because lack of sleep can cause you to gain weight: your body will store fat and may even develop insulin resistance which can lead to diabetes.

Don’t risk your health when you change your diet, make sure it’s a change for the better. If you’ve been a frequent drive-through patron and want to change that style of eating to low-fat, high-nutrition, kudos to you. Don’t dwell on your past mistakes, just pay a visit to the produce section at the grocery store and stock up on the ABC’s of excellent superfoods: apples, avocado, beans, blueberries, broccoli, carrots, cherries, garlic, guavas, hot peppers, kiwi, leeks, lemons, lentils, onions, oranges, pomegranates, pumpkin, soybeans, spinach, sprouts, tomatoes, walnuts, watercress, and wheatgrass. Elsewhere in the store you can find other superfoods that will add to your healthy dining experience such as salmon, turkey, kefir, oats, acai capsules,  yogurt, and maybe a bottle of red wine (don’t laugh, you will want to celebrate your new figure, right?).

People across the U.S. spend hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars every year on vitamins and supplements because they are afraid their diets are not providing their bodies with the level of nutrition they need. The truth of the matter is this: if they switch to eating properly they can save that money because their daily diets will contain all of the nutrients, vitamins, minerals and enzymes they need. By spending a little extra on fresh, organic foods, supplementing becomes unnecessary and a waste of money. Not only that, they can ignore all of the diets being advertised because the foods they are replacing their supplements with are as low in calories and fat as they are full of nutritional value. Although this article is all about weight control using superfoods, the fact of the matter is you don’t want to limit your choices to only the foods on this list. In order to provide yourself with nutrients that work synergistically with one another, you should eat a wide variety of foods. While eating superfoods daily is great for your health and will optimize your weight loss, you shouldn’t limit yourself to only superfoods and nothing else. So make them ingredients, add them to your menu, eat one of them at each meal…but also eat a variety. For example, with your grilled salmon steak add a side salad of mixed greens with a yogurt-based dressing. Or have a slice of turkey with gravy, with peas on the side and a fruity yogurt parfait for dessert. Get the idea? Nuts and apples make good snacks to keep you from being hungry between meals. The nuts provide you with fiber, nutrients and healthy fats. Instead of orange juice, eat oranges. Or carry a baggie of watermelon cubes to snack on…or any kind of melon. The more whole foods you eat, the better you will look and feel.

Most people don’t enjoy working out alone. Find a friend with the same goals and desire to look better and feel better that you have, and invite that person to be your workout buddy. You will have someone to talk to when you walk, and if you both keep at it, you may soon become running buddies. Around the end of the year, many gyms offer special deals to help you get started on a workout plan very inexpensively. There is one in my area offering memberships for $10 per month with no contract. If money was your excuse not to join, that obstacle is very often removed this time of year. Check around! All your efforts will be rewarded a little bit every day, and you can move those size 6 and 8 jeans that you thought you’d never wiggle into again back to the front of the closet and easily zip them up with pride!