Small Changes Equal Big Results

Because it’s the new year, a lot of people are jumping on the health train. As a person who has been doing the healthy thing for a while now, I am always nitpicking at images of what to do and what not to do. There are all kinds of them floating around; the lists of things to cut out, the things to stop doing, the things to start doing. The problem I find with these lists is that they are a massive change for most. They are setting people up to fail. One of my favorite things to tell people is that “small changes equal big results.” You don’t have to change your entire diet to see results. You don’t have to give up EVERYTHING to see change. And you definitely don’t HAVE to take on an entire list of changes all at one time. Start small and start slow. In this post I am going to take the time to dissect a very popular post I’ve seen lately.

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No chips: I can get on board with this one as far as just cutting chips out completely. But if you are a chipaholic, I have a suggestion. Just change the type of chips you eat. Start looking at labels. Hold up a bag of Cheese Doritos next to a bag of organic corn chips and look at the difference. I don’t know exactly what’s in Doritos but I am pretty sure there is a ton of fake stuff, chemicals, and things you and I cannot pronounce. In a bag of organic corn chips there are usually 3 ingredients; corn, salt, and oil.

No potatoes: Another one that I don’t think is the hardest, but again, can just be modified. First, if you eat taters as a side for dinner, how about eating a smaller portion. Eat half a potato rather than a whole one. You could also change the toppings of your potato. You could opt for plain or just a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Instead of going for the loaded tater with butter, sour cream, and bacon, try adding some broccoli and a little sprinkle of cheese. Another suggestion, rather than having a potato as a side dish, only eat the potato with the broccoli on top. Changing your portion sizes will work wonders.

No Ice Cream: A lot of people eat dessert every single day. Stop that! You don’t need dessert every day. Save dessert for special occasions. And I don’t necessarily mean birthday parties, but maybe on a Friday or when you go on a date. Next, stop buying ice cream at the store. If you don’t have it in the house you won’t eat it. I cannot tell you how much that helps me. If I get into one of those moods where all I want to do is eat junk (yes, it happens to me too), it helps that I don’t have junk in the house to eat.  There is also the option to opt for healthier ice cream. One of our favorite frozen treats is frozen bananas, almond or peanut butter, and a splash of yogurt or almond milk, all blended. It isn’t the candy and sugar-filled ice cream you’d get a Baskin Robbins, but it will quench that urge for something sweet and cold.

No Fast Food: Again, just change where and what you’re eating. Stop eating fake meat at McDonalds. If McDonalds is the only thing you have time for, maybe eat one of those chicken wraps without the dressing. Don’t they have salads? Try one of those without the dressing too. But if you have other choices for fast food, opt for a healthier fast food. Chipotle is my absolute favorite. The portion sizes are ginormous, but you don’t have to eat the entire portion. At least if you do it’s something healthier than a quarter pounder, fries, and drink. Another fast option is a grocery store. Tons of them have salad bars or you can grab pieces of a meal from all over the store. One time in a pinch I grabbed a plastic container of mixed greens, a small thing of hummus, a fork, and an avocado. Boom! But if you do decide to cut out fast food, meal prep needs to be your new best friend. That way you don’t have to decide which fast food place to go to, you already have your lunch.

No Fried Food: I don’t really have a load of suggestions for this one. Maybe don’t eat fried food while you’re out. Here’s a good reason why…you’re french fries may be fried in the same oil as the fish sticks. And you have no idea how long that oil has been used and then reheated the next day. So if you’re going to eat something fried, eat it at home and use fresh oil. You can also opt to use a healthier oil like coconut oil. Most of the time the coconut smell and taste is not there so you don’t know you’re not eating the vegetable oil you’re used to.

No Chocolate: 2 words… Dark Chocolate. I know, I know, it doesn’t taste the same and you’re used to milk chocolate or the fake stuff they use in candy bars. Seriously, check labels with this too. Sometimes what you’re eating is chocolate “flavored” and doesn’t really have any chocolate in it. Try dark. Start with something that has a lower percentage of cacao, like 50% rather than 80%. I love the kind that has mint in it as well. What I notice about dark is that I can’t and don’t want to eat a ton of it. A little bite here and there is enough to satisfy the want. So you won’t eat the same amount you’d eat if you choose a Snickers bar.

No White Breads: I agree with this one. Most white breads have no nutritional value; they just taste good. Go for whole wheat or whole grain. There are even breads that have no flour in them at all. Those are the best kind. Just wholesome goodness. Also check labels with your bread. Try to find wheat bread that has no added sugar and has only a handful of ingredients rather than a long list.

No Soda or Juice: I’ll back the giving up soda 100%. I haven’t had soda in 4 years. Stop drinking that poison immediately. You do not need that shit in your body. Maybe instead of giving up both soda and juice, just give up soda. And instead of eliminating juice completely, only drink a glass with breakfast. Start drinking more water. That should really be the number one thing you decide to do. Add more water into your diet. Instead of soda and juice, drink water and tea. Even coffee is better than soda.

No Cakes, Donuts, Cookies, and Candy: I lumped all these together because they are all so similar. The biggest thing in this list is sugar. You don’t need the added sugar. But here’s the thing about this list again, sometimes these items are eaten on a daily basis. That’s where eating certain foods becomes a problem for health. Eating a piece of candy isn’t going to kill you. Eating a handful every time you pass by the candy jar is not a good thing. Eating a cookie won’t kill you. Having 3 with lunch and dinner isn’t great. Eating a donut on a Sunday morning is a fun treat. Eating one for breakfast every day is not good.

The common theme I see in this list is giving up sugar. Once you start reading labels, you will see that there is sugar in almost everything you eat. So I would say that instead of giving up everything on this list, and instead of giving up sugar all together, give up things with ADDED sugar. This means that natural sugars like what you find in fruit or juices and other foods is okay, but try not to eat the foods that add more sugar. Like in bread. When I started buying wheat bread I thought all wheat bread was created equally. Not the case. A decent amount of breads with the words “100% whole wheat” have added sugar. Why? Peanut butter is another one. Even the ones that claim to be the healthy kind still add sugar.

Even if you only take one thing away from this blog post, I hope it’s this… you do not have to give up everything to live a healthier life. You don’t have to give up everything to lose weight either. Just modify. Eat smaller portions. And make small changes. You can still eat the same types of food but with better ingredients. Stop eating fake stuff. Read labels. Make better choices one small step at a time. “Small changes equal big results.”

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