Diet culture is everywhere, but many diets are aimed at short-term results rather than long-term health. Many people lose a little weight, then find that they can’t sustain their dieting habits due to insatiable hunger or emotional factors. If we do decide to choose a diet, picking a way of eating that we’re able to continue for years rather than weeks or months represents a much better chance of losing weight at a healthy pace—and keeping it off.

Generally, we all know the best foods for us to eat, but our choices don’t always reflect that knowledge. It may be that we get in the habit of eating convenient, fast food, or we try a fad diet and—after the initial weight loss—we find it difficult to maintain. At this point, many people regain whatever weight they lost, and even more. Instead, it’s better to think strategically and pick long term, realistic goals.