THE BOTTOM LINE
If I could give you any advice, anything concrete that you should live by, it would be Michael Pollan's three steps to a healthy lifestyle.
EAT FOOD. NOT TOO MUCH. MOSTLY PLANTS.
I'd also add these Nutrishus Tips:
By eating food, we mean real food. Food is not man-made in a lab. Food is fuel that has been given to us by nature, and should be cultivated and consumed as nature intended. That means we don't eat anything artificial.
Stay away from foods with misguiding labels like "low fat, light, 0g trans fat, low cal". Just because a food in a package has these labels, doesn't always mean they are true, and certainly doesn't mean the food is healthy. Many foods with lower fat often have added sugars, stabilizers, hydrogenated oils (aka trans fats), and thickeners to get you to think you're eating the regular full-fat version.
Drink water. Lots of water. 1/2 your body weight in ounces. This should be your main choice of drink.
Portion control. Learn to enjoy your food by taking it slow, enjoy the experience. Savor each bite.
Food should have flavor and taste good. Savoring each bite is impossible if you're eating something overly processed or flavorless. Spice it up, cook with good ingredients and natural, whole produce. Get creative.
Juicing is an amazingly beneficial way to consume a kick-a$$ amount of nutrients quickly. There are so many great recipes out there, and you can easily create your own depending on your mood/taste at the time. Kale, lemon juice, celery, cucumber, cayenne are all classic ingredients, but you can switch it up by juicing beets, ginger, spinach, watermelon..... anything really.
Oils are great for your skin, hair, and tissues. Coconut oil not only makes a delicious cookie, but you can use it as a moisturizer and even mouthwash for example. Nature is versatile and beneficial in ways many never think about.
Never underestimate the power of yoga. Never underestimate the power of a good run.
Laugh. Love. Live. Practice gratitude.
If it's from a box, bag, or bottle, and contains 5 or more ingredients, you probably shouldn't eat it. This is considered processed food, and unfortunately we have a long way to go in our country with regulations on the harmful additives that are in our foods. When in doubt, eat foods with 5 ingredients or less and choose organic regularly.
Eat animals that have lived a happy, healthy life. I know, call the hippie police right? Wrong. Organic meat and milk is not only better for you because the animals have been fed healthy food, but because they have not been cooped up in a cage their entire life and thus have not been treated with antibiotics or hormones. When a cow, for example, eats grass, it is consuming lots of omega fatty acids which are beneficial fats to our health. If you drink cow's milk, then drink milk from a cow that has eaten grass and you get those benefits as well.
Don't buy produce from the Dirty Dozen unless you're buying it organic. Saving money? Buy only from the Clean 15.
An ice cold glass of water with Meyer lemon slices can really brighten your day.
Start small. You could do a challenge for solely eliminating processed foods. You could cut out gluten. You could cut out sweets. But doing so one step at a time will leave you more knowledgable and more likely to continue it as a lifestyle change if you incorporate your new steps in a strategic way. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither were you. Give yourself credit for trying and do your best to stick with it.
Write in a food journal when starting out. It really helps to see what exactly you actually have been eating. You'll be shocked at first how mindlessly you've been consuming so many more calories than you had thought.
Download fitness-friendly apps and follow inspirational people. In our age of technology, we constantly are with our phones. Let technology help you get motivated, not lazy. Set up reminders to work out, download calorie counting apps, follow motivating fitness twitter and instagrams. I love @befitmotivation and @val_zelyaeva (the face of Ralph Lauren). She's obsessed with juicing and has great recipes, she's also absolutely gorgeous with beauteous skin and hair so that's good motivation alone.
Smile, have fun, and rejoice knowing that you're adding years to your life!!! Share what you've learned with others so they can be happy and healthy too. Speak up for change, vote with your dollars and the types of foods you buy, and love yourself.