Last year, around May, I stopped eating. At school, I would tell my friends I couldn't eat lunch because I had too much work to do before class. When I got home for dinner, I would tell my family I was too stuffed from my (imaginary) lunch. This went on for a while; I basically survived on small amounts of fruits or other things I deemed "healthy" enough to eat. The ironic part is that in my quest to be healthy, fit, and lose weight, I was actually doing the absolute worst thing to my body.

I eventually ended up crumbling under the pressure of constantly starving and my parents found out everything, and helped me get help. So, I stand here (metaphorically) before you today to tell you that no matter what, living healthy does not include potentially harming yourself. Instead, I give you a resource to turn to with five things to incorporate into your life to be healthy, happy, and most importantly, never hungry. 

1. Don't Do It Alone

working out, outdoors, outside, workout, two girls, squats, Friends, exercise, grass
Julia Gilman

Changing your lifestyle can be really hard, but even more so if you're doing it alone. Sharing a goal with anyone: a friend, a parent, a sibling or even joining in on fitness challenges found on social media, you can be held accountable for making sure you are living your healthiest life. It also can be a great resource for when you need someone to complain to about how sore you are, and you can both suffer together. Isn't that what friends are for? 

2. Don't Count Calories

coffee, beer, pizza, tea
Claire Rosenkilde

SERIOUSLY. DON'T DO IT. Reducing everything you eat to a number reduces you to a number, and it makes eating anything and everything seem like a sacrifice to the calories you are allotted. You can always reference calories to see what kind of things you are putting in your body, but it cannot be your guide to what and what not to eat.

Rather than live by calculations, just eat things that make you feel good. If you're eating good foods that help make you feel like you could run a marathon (if you do find a food that makes running seem enjoyable, please let me know), then you'll feel happier with your food choices and how your body feels after eating them.

#SpoonTip: If you need to use anything as a guide to figure out what kinds of foods you should be eating, food group guidelines can always be a good bet. 

3. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Are Ancient Traditions

notes, textbook, study snack, snacks, studying, clif bar, tangerine, cutie
Jocelyn Hsu

Say it with me: SNACKING IS AMAZING. While this may be common knowledge (who does't love snacking?), it is a huge part of a more comfortable and healthy lifestyle. Most people are accustomed to eating three larger meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even though I constantly find myself looking forward to those set meals, I realized there are a couple problems with limiting yourself to only three meals a day. 

When you eat a huge breakfast in the morning, you usually feel pretty great. Who doesn't feel good after some pancakes? That is, at least, until you start digesting everything. That's when you can start to feel groggy, and even exhausted, as your body tries to break down the food you ate. Even other big meals, like lunch and dinner, can be problematic if they force you to eat large amounts of food all at once, because you can continue to eat past when you're full. 

The easiest way to change your eating habits is to eat lots of little snacks and meals throughout the day, so you eat just the right amount when you're hungry, and don't bog your digestive system down. It makes it so much easier to be active after you eat, because you feel energized and satisfied rather than being stuck in a food coma.

That's not to say, of course, that you should skip breakfast, lunch and dinner, because that would just remove the will to live. But, by the time those meals roll around, you're not starving, and you can eat the right amount to keep your tummy full and happy. 

4. Burn Calories Without Even Knowing It

napping, nap, sleep, sleeping, pillow, blanket, bed, tea, beer, cake
Jocelyn Hsu

Another reason why calorie counting is useless is because most people usually don't factor in the various amounts of ways they burn calories everyday, because they usually don't even know they are burning them. Some of the most enjoyable things: sleeping, chewing gum, and even laughing burns calories without you even realizing it. Turn on a comedy special and feel the six pack come on.

5. Give Yourself a Break 

cheesy, macaroni, Mac And Cheese, Macaroni and cheese, rice, meat, vegetable
Julia Gilman

This is the most important part of all of this: don't take it too seriously. Transitioning to a healthier life is not an easy feat, but it doesn't have to be a sacrifice. When you're really craving that burger, go get it! Add some fries too, while you're at it. What is a burger without fries? More importantly, what is a life without fries???

In moderation, giving yourself a cheat meal is necessary, and a great reward for being successful in creating a healthy lifestyle that makes you feel good. Food is amazing, so don't deny yourself your favorite meals, or feel bad about eating some deliciously greasy food every once in a while. You deserve it.

To be completely honest, you could probably ignore everything I just wrote and still be able to live an extremely healthy life. There's no set guidelines that everyone can follow, it starts with you. What matters is not following certain rules, but feeling like each and everyday, you're getting to a healthier you, however that happens. Understand that no matter what, you are beautiful, and are just how you are supposed to be. Good luck, and may you never live a life without fries.