That question might seem too obvious — we all know that a healthy diet is something we want!

But it’s worth exploring, at least briefly, because when push comes to shove, most people don’t really seem to want the healthy diet. They want the benefits (good health, looking lean and hot) but not the actual eating of the healthy food. Instead, most people want to eat pizza and fries and donuts, and still be super healthy with rock-hard abs.

So we need to go deeper into the Why.

And we need to think about how we can make that diet something we love, not something that feels like we’re being saintly while putting ourselves through self-torture. Because if there’s anything I’ve learned from my successful (and unsuccessful) habit changes, it’s that self-torture is a bad recipe for lasting change.

Give me a few minutes, and I’ll going to make my case for a healthier diet.

Awesome Reason #1: It’s an act of self-compassion. Eating healthy food isn’t about looking better (though it can help with that) … it’s about feeling better. And taking care of yourself. Just as you might shower so you don’t feel dirty, or brush your teeth so you don’t have bad breath and rotten teeth … you should eat well so you don’t feel sick. You don’t feel low on energy, which affects everything else around you. Taking care of yourself is a compassionate act.

Awesome Reason #2: My dad just died, guys. I don’t mean to be light-hearted about such a sad topic, nor do I want to play the sympathy card. But my time with my dad in the hospital as I watched him die was a stark reminder of what we do to our bodies when we don’t eat well, for years. It might seem like something that’s too distant to worry about, but my dad was 62, and that’s not that old. He drank and ate poorly and didn’t exercise while being diabetic, which really wasn’t smart, but he had built up bad habits for years and never really put the effort required to change them.

Seeing someone in such a condition, especially someone you love, is a very visceral illustration of what happens if you don’t take care of yourself. Life is too short to waste it with bad health.

Awesome Reason #3: It’s Delicious. While you might not think vegetables are the heigh of deliciousness … they truly can be. While you might think pastries and fried chicken and French fries and pizza are delicious … in another light, they aren’t.

Let me explain: what you think is delicious right now is partly a product of conditioning, what you’re used to. Of course, sweet and fatty and salty things are hardwired into us to taste good, but the level at which we enjoy these things and can tolerate them can be changed. I know this because of my own experience.

I slowly changed my taste buds over the years, so that now I still might enjoy some fried foods, if I eat too much of them I start to feel gross, bloated, greasy. They aren’t nearly as appealing to me as they used to be. And vegetables and other healthy foods are much, much more appealing to me now than they used to be. It took a long time to change, but I did it gradually, and I enjoyed myself along the way.

Today, I enjoy a good salad, but also a stir fry with tempeh and broccoli, kale, mushrooms, spinach, bell peppers, onions, and olive oil. I barely season these things — a light dash of salt and pepper — and I can really taste the deliciousness of these fresh vegetables. Add some avocado and I’m in heaven.

While I still love a good (vegan) pastry, I much prefer some dark chocolate and berries. Or just fruit. I love a snack of raw nuts and dried fruit, or a cup of unsweetened green tea. This food is part of an amazing lifestyle, and it’s awesome.

A healthy diet is worth pursuing, gradually, because it’s an act of compassion, because life is too short to waste being sick, and because it tastes so good that it truly rocks.