By Esra Al-Abduljabar (Contributor) – Email

Eating healthy can be a challenge for a lot of people. This is because the more you eat, the larger your stomach expands, and it needs more food to be filled up. But there’s no need to panic — there are many possible ways to shrink our stomachs in a healthy, non-tormenting manner.

It seems like most people who go on a diet to lose weight try to stop eating their regular meals, and essentially starve themselves. This is not the greatest idea, since you will end up hungry and then most likely eat twice the amount you would normally have eaten. The main focus should be trying to reduce your food intake gradually, and then developing healthier, more nutritious eating habits. While switching to healthier eating isn’t always the most fun, there are a few things you can do to make the transition a little easier.

Cutting down on soda, chips, chocolate, fries, and doughnuts can be tough, but all these junk foods don’t contain any true nutritional value. You can still eat chocolate, but try switching to dark chocolate and convincing your mind that it tastes good, and that it’s all worth it in the end. Introduce yourself to new types of fruits every day, figure out which ones you like, and make smoothies. Work out daily. It doesn’t have to be at the gym — you can start practicing pull-ups, sit-ups, or even go up and down your staircase multiple times before rewarding yourself with a fruity meal.

Drink hot tea in the morning, or try recipes for different teas that are healing and stress-relieving: a yarrow and wild mint tea blend for digestion, valerian root and juniper berries to relieve stress, or dandelion leaf and root for weight management. Drinking herbal tea also decreases the likelihood of acquiring some types of cancer, so double the win! Also, don’t forget to drink at least 1.9 litres of water every day to keep your body hydrated, while also filling your stomach.

Change things like the type of bread you eat; brown bread is much healthier. Of course not everything healthy will taste better, but don’t get discouraged, and stay motivated to reach your goal.

Keep a daily track of the amount of calories you gain every day. This is a good way to remember how much you need to reduce these calories each day. The more effort you start putting into your diet, the guiltier you will feel if you go back to your old unhealthy habits, so keep it up — guilt yourselves!

However, it’s important to keep in mind that thin doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. I know from personal experience that I could eat chips and chocolate cake all day and not gain weight because I have a higher metabolism than others. That didn’t mean I was healthy— I needed to start eating more veggies and fruits and drinking more water. I realized that the healthier my diet was, the stronger my memory became. Even my study habits became much better. The point is, if you think it’s time to change your eating habits, just get up and do it — consider it a goal you’ve set for yourself, and strive to achieve it. A healthy body is a healthy mind, and we all need good minds to survive the semester.