In today’s society of fat-shaming, skinny-shaming, body image problems and health concerns, it has become increasingly common to hear people say, “I eat so much junk food. I need to eat healthier.” There is nothing wrong with making this observation about your eating habits. In fact, Spoon thinks most people would argue that being conscious of your health and well-being is a very good thing.

Spoon and many other bloggers offer tips to support healthy eating to help readers make this change. However, no matter how many articles you read about making different lifestyle choices, the actual process unfortunately never becomes much easier.

So, how do you make this difficult transition into healthy eating a little smoother?

eat better

Photo by Luna Zhang

1. Make a plan

When you first start out, make a list of healthy foods to buy at the grocery store and how you plan to use them throughout the week. While this may feel like overkill, it will help you hold yourself accountable and stay away from those Hot Cheetos and Oreos.

2. Keep it reasonable

Things don’t change overnight. Overriding years of eating habits takes time and patience to enforce. Start implementing changes slowly–eat out twice the first week (instead of three times); eat out once the second week. Then, order water at the restaurant instead of soda in the third week.

eat better

Photo by Luna Zhang

3. Learn to cook

Learning to cook gives you the chance to make the foods you want to eat, while controlling exactly what goes into each meal. It also serves as a cheaper alternative to eating out and helps you avoid processed, preserved and packaged foods.

4. Build self-discipline

Changing your eating habits is not an easy process. It takes not only time and patience but also a lot of self control. To be blunt, the first few weeks of cooking for yourself and limiting eating out will include – to some degree – gritting your teeth as you fight your old habits. Unfortunately, there is no easy way out of this one. Stay strong. Keep yourself busy and do what you can to keep yourself from caving.

eat better

Photo by Luna Zhang

5. Reward yourself

The path to eating healthy isn’t all gloom and doom. Yes, eating out excessively and snacking through late-night study sessions is unhealthy, and yes, indulging in a donut, a cup of frozen yogurt or an ice cream cone may not fit perfectly into the healthy eating plan. However, treating yourself at the end of a long week is a good way to keep yourself happy through an otherwise tough transition.

The journey to healthy eating is a difficult mountain for everyone to climb. Stay strong and always remember that, while you may be your own worst enemy, you are also your own best supporter.