Small Changes Can Mean Lasting Results

Small changes in nutrition, physical activity, and daily lifestyle habits can add up to long lasting results in weight loss; reduced risk for chronic diseases like hypertension, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer; and overall well-being.  The key is to focus on small changes that you can incorporate into your current lifestyle.

 Ludington State Park, 2017 | Photo credit:  Bradow Photography

Ludington State Park, 2017 | Photo credit: Bradow Photography

Here are a few ideas for moving more and getting closer to the recommended 150 minutes – that’s just 2 ½ hours! – of physical activity per week:

  • Just 10 minutes of moderate physical activity at a time is enough to see benefits over time!
  • Take a walk around your building on your break from work
  • Take the stairs, not the elevator! Work on the 5th floor? Try taking the stairs for 2 or 3 flights and slowly work your way up to all 5
  • Park farther away at the grocery store or shopping center to get some extra steps in
  • Walk or bike to work, school, the store, or library instead of driving
  • At home, take your laundry or other items up or down stairs at the time you collect it – don’t leave it to just make 1 trip – get as many steps as possible each day

Simple, but effective ways to eat a little bit healthier:

  • Make at least half of all the food you eat vegetables and fruits
  • Include fruits or veggies in at least 1 snack per day
  • Add veggies at breakfast:
    • To your morning smoothie – spinach, cucumber, celery, and grated carrot are easily incorporated
    • To your eggs – broccoli, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes all work well
  • Limit fattier cuts of meat and dairy – look for lean protein like beans, nuts, seeds, chicken, and fish
  • Make at least half of the grains you eat whole grains – think whole wheat, rolled or steel cut oats, and brown rice
  • Set aside 10 or 20 minutes each night to prep items for the next day’s breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner – chop veggies, prep smoothies, pack lunches or snacks. Or set aside 1-2 hours each week to prep meals and snacks for the week ahead.

These changes may sound simple and it’s precisely because of their simplicity that they are effective and sustainable.

This article originally appeared in the November 2017 issue of Healthy & Fit Magazine.