As a follow-on to our nutrition message last month, we continue to highlight the fact that small changes can yield big results! In a recent study from the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, researchers found that participants who made one small (potentially permanent) change in food choice and/or physical activity lost more weight (an average of 7 pounds) and sustained this weight loss as compared to those individuals who only followed a prescribed calorie-restricted diet. Examples of these small changes included, but were not limited to: drinking 1 fewer can of soda, adding 5 minutes to a daily walk, and recording their commitments to these changes.
So, in support of small changes (and sustained results), read on for this month’s Top 5…
- Rethink your drink: quench your thirst with water. Drink a full 8 ounce glass/cup/bottle of water before your meals and of course throughout the day. Water can fill your stomach, increase satiety and potentially help you eat less at a particular meal (remember, water is a zero-calorie drink). Additionally, water helps a body maintain fluid balance, energize muscles and promotes intestinal health.
- Eat vegetables first: At the beginning of a meal is the time that we’re most hungry and most likely to eat more of a particular food…why not make that choice, a fresh, colorful vegetable (often lower in calories and fat than other selections). Choose red, orange, or dark-green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, along with other favorites for soups, salads, sides or main dishes. Vegetables can make great snack foods too. Think carrots, celery and bell peppers that when prepped ahead of time, can add a satisfying crunch (and extra vitamins, minerals and fiber) to an afternoon snack.
- Keep a food diary: Did you know that keeping track of what (and how much) you eat helps reinforce food awareness
and helps folks determine where to make small diet changes linked to weight loss. These details allow for insight into feelings and behaviors associated with our food choices. Studies have shown that folks who record what they eat practice consistent portion control, a key to weight loss and weight maintenance. Don’t have time for record keeping…snap a photo or log your foods into an app, just make sure to review your details.
- Have a plan: whether it’s a meal plan for the week or a back-up plan for the impromptu dinner party invitation, research shows that having a concrete idea of ‘what to eat’ turns intentions into actions. Know which foods (and drinks) work with, not against, the weight loss you have achieved—put them on your shopping lists, Pinterest searches or recipe exchanges. As well, strategize how to handle out of the ordinary occasions: decide on ideas and actions for if/then planning: “if I accept the dinner invite, I will offer to bring a vegetable, since I am ‘eating veggies first’”.
Choose one or all as you find new ways to make small changes that can yield big results.
Eat well to be well!