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Raw Diet
Natural foods are your best course. / Jessica Boone/Getty Images

Many of us spend countless hours at the gym, lifting weights or attending yoga classes in an attempt to shed pounds. But we need to zero in on our diets first, says Ani Phyo, author of Ani’s 15-Day Fat Blast. Incorporating natural foods into our diets and eliminating processed foods, coupled with exercise, can help you get healthy. These four strategies will put the focus on better eating and lead to long-term diet behavior you can maintain:

Avoid fast-food traps. Having one fast-food meal leaves you wanting more. “Fast food doesn’t give you nutrients, so your body ends up saying ‘Keep eating,’” Phyo says.

Double the willpower. Include a friend who wants to get healthy, too. “Whenever we do anything, it’s easier to do it with a friend,” Phyo says. “Find someone local so you don’t feel like you’re doing it alone and you can compare notes.”

Ditch the caffeine. “We need a pick-me-up because we feel tired,” Phyo says. “By drinking caffeine, we’re masking the idea that we need rest.”

Start smart. “You can have the burger and fries, but have a giant nutritious salad first,” Phyo says. “Always have a protein shake or salad before a big meal so when you try to eat treats, you’ll be full.”

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