Ditch the DIET!

Author: Shannon Miller

Ditch the DIET and follow these tips for a fit and healthy lifestyle!


I don’t like to ever use the word “diet.” Finding and maintaining a healthy weight is all about creating a lifestyle you can live with, not a rigid plan you have to suffer through. Here are a couple of my favorite rules:

First, Do not Skip Meals.

Eating 6 smaller meals a day can guard against hunger pangs and keep your energy up throughout the day.

Second, Everything in moderation

Indulge in your favorite treat once in awhile. I’m not about to give up chocolate. However, watch out for the frequency and the quantity. Moderation and healthy balance is the key to success!


I love to keep a Food Journal and Exercise Log. It’s a great way to hold yourself accountable as you kickstart a healthy lifestyle plan.

A food journal is a great way to gauge whether you’re eating enough fruits and veggies or mindlessly filling up on empty calories throughout the day. Get prepared to be shocked! Sometimes it’s scary to confront the realization that those little treats around the office are sabotaging your quest to fit into that little black dress. So remember, when you are filling out your journal….NO CHEATING!

But remember, being healthy isn’t all about the food. You may have a fantastic diet, but without regular exercise you are doing a disservice to your health. As you are keeping track of the foods you eat make sure to log the exercise you perform each day.

Try to fit in at least 30 minutes of exercise most days. In addition, make sure you are getting a good mix of cardio, strength and flexibility.

You won’t maintain a lifestyle that you don’t enjoy. So have fun with this journal, do your best to keep track and know that you are not alone. As you fill out your journal, I’ll be filling out mine. We’re in this together. We can and we will succeed!


Watch your portion size. This is where most of us collect the big calories. Most restaurant portions are two to four serving sizes! This includes main dishes, side dishes, and even beverages. To avoid over eating, ask for a “lunch” portion. If that’s not an option, try one of these strategies to keep from overeating:

  • Order an appetizer or side dish instead of an entrée.
  • Share a main dish with a friend.
  • When your food is delivered, set aside or ask to have half of it packed to go immediately.
  • Don’t think you have to clean your plate at every meal. You’ll pay for it one way or another regardless! When you’ve eaten enough, leave the rest.

Watching your portion size is one of the easiest and most productive ways to kickstart a healthy lifestyle!


I have to eat on the run quite a bit. Whether you’re chasing after your kids, dashing from meeting to meeting or simply too busy to sit down it’s important to be prepared for hunger to strike. If your someone who tends to eat on the run, Pack healthy snacks to take with you so that you have options mid day when the vending machine or drive through is calling your name.

Some great snacks are

  • almonds
  • string cheese
  • fresh fruit
  • vegetables
  • peanut butter
  • granola

You can even make your own energy mix by combining unsalted nuts like almonds and cashews with sun flower seeds, cranberries and pretzels.


Exercise helps you sleep better at night, focus throughout the day and gives you that extra boost of energy you need to keep on task.

A great way to make exercise a priority is to find a workout buddy. It’s easier to work out when you make it fun with a friend. Instead of meeting for lunch or coffee, get together with a bike ride, jog or walk in the park!

You’ll help each other stay on a schedule and hold each other accountable.


It’s important to make fitness a priority. You can’t expect results if you don’t work at it.

Unless you’re extremely dedicated or it’s the only time you have, don’t wait until the end of the day. You need to fit exercise into your personal schedule and lifestyle. However, as the day goes on there are more fires to put out and work to be done. It becomes more difficult to make exercise a priority. If possible try to work out earlier in the day so you don’t have as many excuses to skip it.


One of the most important lessons I learned while training for the Olympic Games was to always set goals for myself. It’s important to have a long term goal. Maybe it’s a certain amount of weight you want to lose or a fitness goal such as running a marathon. Those are wonderful goals but they can be overwhelming. It’s critical to break these down into weekly and even daily short term goals that keep you on target and give you a sense of accomplishment each and every day!

Write down your goals. Post them on your bathroom mirror or refrigerator. Keep a copy in your purse of wallet. This black and white reminder will help you stay motivated throughout the day and help you succeed in achieving your long term goal!

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