If you’ve ever watched a reality television show, you’ve probably noticed that a style makeover can completely change the way a person perceives herself. Meal makeovers are no different. Doing away with old habits to make room for new expert-recommended ones can be the first step toward an improved you who looks great — and feels even better. But the best meal makeovers use the same premise as style ones: Work with what you’ve got, and make improvements on a choice-by-choice basis.
Why not start from scratch with a “perfect” eating plan? It’s the same reason hairstylists don’t give the same new do to every reality show subject. Like a haircut, there is no one-size-fits-all, foolproof way to eat. In fact, a recent study — the largest of its kind — published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that, when it came to weight loss, it didn’t matter which particular diet (such as low-carb or low-fat) people were on as long as they were cutting calories. In other words, the best way to lose weight is to eat nutritious foods you enjoy within the right calorie range for you. The best way to be healthier overall? Same story.
So it’s not just pounds lost that you can count on when you make over your meals; incorporating small, sustainable changes that you can keep up for the long term will have lasting effects on your health. Whether you’re tweaking recipes, playing with the way your mind sees food or learning to incorporate ingredients that add to your diet rather than subtract, every adjustment you make empowers you to take control of your health. And like a new pair of jeans that makes your bum look great, a way of eating that makes you feel good is something you won’t be willing to part with.