Getting healthier without dieting

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If you made it your New Year's resolution to eat healthier and get fit, but you're struggling on a diet plan, you may be trying too hard. Working in partnership with our parent company Sinclair Broadcast Group, we want to keep you informed about important health matters, so we set out to find the best ways to incorporate proper nutrition in your quest to get healthier.

You probably already know exercising alone isn’t enough.

Natalie Cannady, who runs a hospital fitness center says, “You can work out as much as you want, but if you don't eat right, your results won't be what you want them to be.”

Even Cannady finds it hard to get the diet part right for herself and her family.

“My six-year-old daughter, Kendall, she is a snack machine,” says Cannady.

This year Cannady worked with a dietician to help come up with a nutrition plan she can stick with.

“We want people to have lifestyle changes,” said Tonya Johnson, the Director of Nutritional Services at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Johnson is also a mom who makes healthy eating a priority in her own home.

“I'm the fruit lady,” Johnson says. “The crazy, fruit lady at the ball park. My kids don't eat nachos.”

Johnson says following four rules can make losing weight and getting well easier than you might think and number one on the list - avoid diets and diet products.

“No matter what pill they want you to take or what drink they want you to drink, you're restricting your calories and increasing your exercise, so you can do that on your own without a pill, without a product.”

Second, Johnson says to focus on portion control.

“Get a smaller plate. Eat smaller portions. That's gonna help with long term weight loss.”

Third, Johnson suggests you only keep healthy foods at home like low fat yogurt, lean protein and fresh fruits and vegetables.

“And then when you get hungry instead of grabbing the bag of chips or the cookies, you're gonna grab what's in your house and that's gonna be a healthier item.”

Lastly, Johnson says the key to it all is making your own meals.

“A lot of our food dollars are spent eating out when really we could eat healthier at home for a lot less money if we planned ahead.”

Cannady adds, “We're getting out of the eating out all the time - thank goodness! Getting back to cooking.”

So far, for she says it's been an easy transition and one she's confident her family will be able to follow through with for not just the year, but for a lifetime.

Johnson says a registered dietitian can give you a personalized meal plan based on your goals and health, and the good news is that in most cases insurance companies will cover the cost of those consultations.