A piece I read last year in the New York Times on healthy eating greatly appealed to me.

First, I like its title, “Simple Rules for Healthy Eating.” It’s pretty obvious: I like simple rules. I wrote a book called, “Six Simple Rules for a Better Life” and you are reading this on the “Six Simple Rules” blog.

Second, I like the advice given by writer and much of it I needed to work on myself. Nearly everything I wrote in my book—and that I continue to write on this site—is from my own personal development experience. It is my pleasure to give credit to others for their ideas, but I usually don’t feel comfortable sharing ideas I haven’t already tried. That’s why I waited until I had made some additional changes in my diet before sharing a summary of the points from this Times piece.

Last, before I get to the list of ides from the Times article, I want to once again make this point: the rules may be simple, but they aren’t easy unless you break them down into small pieces and focus on one at a time for the 21 days it takes to create a habit. Those small habits will then add up to the big change you are looking for.

Here are the rules from the article, with some summarizing and paraphrasing:

1. Get as much of your nutrition as possible from a variety of completely unprocessed foods: fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry and eggs that haven’t been processed; things that have not been been cooked, prepared or altered in any way. Brown rice, whole grains, fruit (instead of fruit juice).

2. Eat as much home-cooked food as possible, prepared according to Rule 1. Eating at home allows you to avoid processed ingredients more easily.

3. Use salt and fats, including butter and oil, as needed in food preparation. The key here is moderation. Don’t be afraid of them, but don’t go crazy with them either. (For example, I am willing to use butter and salt when cooking, but I don’t ever add butter or salt to corn on the cob, like I did when I was a kid, and I realized how delicious corn is without anything added.)

4. When you eat out, try to eat at restaurants that follow the same rules. More restaurants are friendly to these rules. Try to keep processing to a minimum.

5. Drink mostly water. Some alcohol, coffee and other beverages are fine. The writer says you can find a study to show that everything either prevents or causes cancer—alcohol and coffee included—so, his recommendation is moderate consumption.

6. Treat all beverages with calories in them (even milk) as you would alcohol. They’re fine in moderation, but keep them to a minimum.

7. Eat with other people, especially people you care about, as often as possible. This has benefits even outside those of nutrition. It will make you more likely to cook. It will most likely make you eat more slowly. It will also make you happy.

All of these ideas sync perfectly with my philosophy: Focusing on healthy eating, not dieting. It may not be easy, but it is simple: Following healthy eating rules, cutting down on caloric intake, and exercising more will help you to lose weight. And, it’s better to be a healthy eater who is slightly higher than the optimal weight than a person who eats who poorly, but happens to not be overweight.

How have you been making progress on your eating habits? Please join conversation with your comments…

Best regards,