Making healthy choices about your energy intake—or, as most folks call it, “food”—can be really challenging.

In a fast-paced world where convenience often gets in the way of careful planning and where stress leads us to make comfort-choices, not consistent-choices. If you’re struggling to find a way to make healthy habits stick, you aren’t alone.

Maybe you’re rushing through dinner because you’re always trying to get the kids to soccer practice; maybe your early shift at work makes pulling through the drive-thru easier than making eggs at home. Whatever your challenges, know that you can make a difference.

The secret to making a meaningful change that really fits your lifestyle is twofold:

  1. You have to truly enjoy the things you’re eating, which will help you build a better relationship with your food or your energy sources.
  2. You have to see yourself as your own most important client: never miss a meeting, never let yourself down.

Loving What You Eat

Eating foods that you can savor, that bring you joy, and that make you excited about sitting down to eat makes a world of difference in developing a healthy eating pattern. If you’re constantly resisting the lunch you packed because you hate it, then how is that improving your life?

Most people don’t want to eat healthy simply because they want to be skinnier. If being skinny were really that compelling, we’d all be as skinny as possible. Instead, it turns out our motivations for eating are far more complex: we want to be happy; we want to have fun; we want to enjoy our lives.

Sometimes, we think just eating “healthy” food will get us those three things, because we believe we need a certain body type to have those three things. Spoiler alert: It’s not true.

To eat healthily consistently, you need to figure out what types of healthier options you actually enjoy. If gulping down a salad every day makes you feel annoyed, then no amount of salad-gulping (regardless of its caloric effect) will make your lunchtime enjoyable.

Find options you do enjoy, and find ways to lighten them up. Swap full-fat options for low fat; find ways to cook with less oil. Know that most foods out there can be made healthier than a restaurant will make them: you just have to do a little research. But you’re worth it, right?

Loving Yourself

Believe it or not, the number one reason healthy lifestyle attempts fail is that the person making the attempt just isn’t truly putting themselves first.

Sometimes, that stems from our kids, partners, or jobs needing more of our attention. Other times, we take the comforting or easy way out when we should be holding ourselves accountable.

Now, we don’t mean that in a harsh way: healthy lifestyles and being hard on yourself is not synonymous. But what if the best way to show yourself care on a hard day isn’t to eat a fast food burger, but rather let us help you create a healthy meal plan option?

What if the best way to set yourself up for a good start to the morning isn’t by sleeping in and getting takeout breakfast, but rather packing something with a nutritional punch the night before?

For those who can learn to see themselves as worthy of their own care, the sky’s the limit: healthy eating becomes a way to show yourself love, rather than denial or punishment. Nobody can take care of your body except you; nobody can be your body’s best friend except you. Take that responsibility seriously.

Because if you’re able to find foods that bring you joy – and if you’re able to see yourself as worthy of that joy – you’ll be miles ahead of where you started. And you deserve to reach that finish line!