small changes for lasting results

The key to lasting health and wellness and a stable, healthy weight is making small changes over time.  How many of you have tried a ‘diet’ so that you can get to your perfect body?  

But have any of them really worked long term? For at least 90% of you the answer is unfortunately ‘no’.

Why is this?  

Because the changes are too drastic to fit into your daily lives.  

Many diets work only short term because they rely on few calories and have an all or nothing, deprivation approach.  

But do you feel good on these diets and do they fit into your lifestyle? Generally not, which is why they are difficult to stick to long term. 

What has been shown to work long term is focusing on making a couple of small changes over time.  This can lead to lasting results as you start to establish some healthy habits that can last for a lifetime.

Let’s take a look at a couple of simple changes that you can focus on to get to your healthiest you.  Focus on one or two a week and watch the healthy habits become second nature.

ü  Eat breakfast within an hour of getting up, every day: 

Get into the habit of making your breakfast the night before and either have it at home or on your way to work.

ü  Eat more regularly during the day:

It is easy to avoid eating while you are working, but this leads to overeating at the end of the day.  Make sure that you have snacks on hand so that you don’t skip meals during the day.  And set an alarm if you keep working past a meal/snack time. 

ü Pack yourself a lunch bag to help you eat well while at work.

ü  Watch the serving sizes of your carbs:

Healthy carbs (legumes, starchy veg, whole grains) are great for energy, but it’s easy to eat too much of them.  Remember that a portion is generally a fist size!

ü  Eat vegetables with every meal:

Whether raw or cooked, adding vegetables to your meals will help you to feel more satisfied.  Make an effort to add some extra steamed broccoli, chopped tomato, or lightly sautéed mushroom etc. to every meal, and have crudité with a hummus or cottage cheese dip as a snack.

ü  Drink more water:

You know that water is important for the body to function at its best.  Find ways to cue yourself to drink more to get the body to send out a thirst signal.  Drink a bottle on the way to and from work, have a glass whenever you have a cup of tea/coffee, drink a glass whenever you come back from the bathroom, get an app on your phone to remind you to drink water etc.

ü  Stop drinking calories:

Cool drinks, flavoured waters, fruit juices…  These are unnecessary calories which have an unfavourable effect on your blood sugar levels.  Not to mention that they are not nearly as satisfying as eating, chewing and enjoying textures.  Rather drink sparkling water with some lemon juice (or other flavour infused into the water) if you are getting bored with tap water! 

ü  Eat less at night:

Serve dinner on smaller plates to help control your portions at night.

To help you to make these behavioural changes more permanent, try this simple exercise to make behavioural changes over time:

Ø  Select 3 goals to focus on for at least 2 weeks

Ø  Write them down on an A4 page in a table, with extra columns to allow you to tick off daily

Ø  If you achieved a goal, put a tick in the corresponding row and column; if you did not achieve it leave the space blank

Ø  Try to have more ticks than empty spaces by the end of the 2 weeks

This exercise will help you to think about your behaviours on a daily basis, which in turn allows the behaviours to be adapted.

And before you utter the words ‘how long do I need to stay on this diet’ think about the following: A diet has a beginning and an end.  

A healthy eating plan is forever!

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