Quick fixes and fad diets are not the way to go when you’re looking to lose weight and keep it off. If you’re committed to changing how you look and feel, one of the best ways to get the results you want is to change your lifestyle, especially your eating habits.

Diets and Low-Fat Foods Don’t Work

All too often, people hit the ground running with a new diet—but then slowly slip back into old habits, and lo and behold, they’re right back where they started. And many times diets simply don’t work; they’re not made for your body; they’re not sustainable; they’re too restrictive; they’re not healthy, etc.

Other people rely on a low-fat or fat-free diet—but we now know these foods can be poor nutritional choices because they typically contain soaring amounts of sugar, additives and chemicals to make up for the lost flavor.

So what’s the answer? Drop the diet and start a focusing on a healthy way of eating. Let’s take a look at some ways you can do this.

Whole, Fresh, Foods

Instead of grabbing onto the latest diets and filling your cart with frozen low-cal meals, switch a meal plan that mainly consists of produce, and healthy proteins and fats. Avoid any foods that come in a box, can or plastic wrap. Ditch the foods with a laundry list of ingredients (especially ones you can't read!).

Choose foods that are closest to their natural state. Apples, broccoli, eggs, quinoa, blueberries, avocado, walnuts—just to name a few! Oh, and don’t forget to buy organic whenever possible.

Healthy Portions

Figuring out portions can be hard, but there are some ways you can cut back without feeling like you’re completely restricted. One trick is to use smaller dishes—it’s much easier to load up your plate when it’s 12 inches across! (By the way, our plates have grown—increasing about 3 to 4 inches in diameter since the 1960s.)

Another helpful tip is to fill up most of your plate with veggies and be sure to drink water alongside your meal. Take it slowly! Also, give yourself very small serving sizes; after you’ve finished what’s on your plate, wait 15 minutes to see if you’re still hungry for more. Chances are, you’ll be full.

Indulging in Moderation

You’ve probably figured out that depriving yourself never works in the long-term. When you “cheat” on your diet, it’s easy to feel completely defeated—and suddenly you’ll find yourself giving up completely. So get realistic and allow yourself to indulge in moderation. Don’t tell yourself you can NEVER have dessert—but instead, have two “dessert nights” each week. Or live in the 80/20 rule: Pick about 16 meals a week to eat healthy and four to indulge. This way your pizza night won’t send you into a shame spiral—or derail your healthy way of eating!