27/10/2015 13:46 GMT | Updated 27/10/2016 06:12 BST

The Secret to Becoming a Smug Healthy Eater

By this time of year you've either achieved the promise you made to yourself a mere 10 months ago (I'm going to ditch the junk and get in shape this year) or you've well and truly blown it.

Most of us fall into the latter group - a failure that's not helped in the least by the existence of smug healthy eaters everywhere we turn.

They eat salad with unbelievable gusto, carry a green smoothie everywhere they go and always manage to squeeze in a run at lunchtime even when it's pouring outside. And of course, they look fabulous for doing so, while you... well...

If you've convinced yourself they've got super-human levels of self-restraint you'll never achieve, it's time you knew the truth. It starts with the top five reasons your fit and fabulous nemesis seems to have this healthy eating thing licked and you don't.

1. Getting healthy is the one time in life the 'go hard or go home' mentality does not work. Your local smug health fan may only Instagram his or her #cleaneating bowl of quinoa and roasted peppers, but that doesn't mean (s)he didn't wash it down with half a tub of salted caramel ice-cream. And do you know what? That's OK. Just because you don't see it happening doesn't mean it isn't. Forget aiming for perfection and be real: make good choices 80% of the time and throw caution to the wind for the other 20%. Even healthy eating nut Gwyneth Paltrow has admitted to eating fries and doughnuts when the mood takes her.

2. Green smoothies may be packed with nutrients, but they usually taste like crap. Make peace with this fact and treat them like medicine (get them down in one).

3. On a similar note, stop expecting healthy versions of foods to taste like the real deal. Common sense says that if the 'bread' you're about to tuck into is made with nothing but cauliflower, it's not going to taste like real bread is it? The real kicker is that so many of the mock-dishes around today look so delicious, it's easy to believe they'll taste like that too. If you can't deal with the disappointment, just say no and eat the real deal on occasion rather than a depressing imitation on a daily basis.

4. Embrace denial. Lots of healthy eaters have contradictions in their diet that they're often not aware of. For example: claiming not to eat sugar but adding honey and maple syrup (which are naturally occurring sugars) to their 'sugar-free' desserts. The bottom line is, it really doesn't matter. There's no need to get bogged down with the fine print and obsessively cut all traces of conventionally unhealthy foods from your diet. It's fine to turn a blind eye from time to time as that's likely to stop you feeling deprived, like you're on a diet.

5. Don't get carried away. Just because a food is healthy doesn't mean you can eat as much as you want without repercussions. Healthy versions of desserts like brownies and cheesecake are often made with lots of calorie-dense foods like nuts, dried fruit, avocados and coconut cream. Yes, these ingredients contain more nutrients and fewer anti-nutrients (like refined sugar) than those used in classic versions of these desserts, but as they're high in fat and calories, you still need to go easy.

The original version of this post appeared here on - an online health magazine dedicated to separating health facts from fads.