Have you ever come across the notion that if you want to eat an elephant, you have to do it one bite at a time? Of course, we’re not suggesting you do it literally, but the concept still stands when it comes to health and fitness.
Many of us make health-related resolutions, particularly at the start of the year. More common ones include, losing weight, stopping smoking, or joining the neighbourhood health club. While it is common to set high goals, experts say that setting smaller goals could do more for our health.
In fact, the Director of the Centre for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Centre once commented that small steps are achievable and are easier to fit into your daily routine, as they are less overwhelming than a big, sudden change.”
Today’s article will suggest nine of these things that you can do – some would be diet-related while others will focus more on exercise. Some of them will include how to do them, while others are simply facts that you should keep in mind. Here goes:
One: More Steps
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would have noticed the trend of people using fitness monitors. Not only do these set a goal for you, it allows you to monitor it. In order to walk more, use a pedometer to count your daily steps; then add 2,000, the equivalent of one extra mile. Keep adding steps, 1,000 to 2,000 each month or so, until you take 10,000 steps on most days.
Two: Don’t Skip Breakfast
Ooooh…. Controversy! I know, right? Although objectively speaking, the jury is out on this one, there is pretty solid and anecdotal evidence that breakfast eaters tend to weigh less and have better diets overall. One idea for a filling and nutrition-packed breakfast is to have muesli with fresh fruit slices and low-fat or fat-free milk.
Three: Include Calcium In Your Diet
This point is more specific to your bone health rather than weight loss. How do you do this? By including two or three daily servings of low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt. Just like it is being touted in the media, dairy calcium is good for bones. As a bonus, it may also help you lose weight.
Four: A Green Salad A Day
Okay, although we are mostly talking about small changes, here’s one for the extremists. Salads that are filling may help you eat less during the meal. However, ensure that it is sprinkled with low-fat or fat-free dressing. It also counts toward your five daily cups of vegetables and fruits.
Five: Whole Grains
Most people will have grains as part of their diet on most days. Some of them might be refined, which is of less benefit to you. Instead, try to switch three grain servings each day to whole grain. Depending on your existing diet, you might need to research how to do it.
Six: Keep A Food Diary
Yet another suggestion that requires a fair bit of effort – but many people have sworn by the success of it. Keeping track allows you to be more mindful and accountable to yourself. Write down what you eat over the next couple of days and look for problem spots. Often, just writing things down can help you eat less.
Seven: Lower Your Fat Intake
There are so many foods with fat in it. Once you snoop around and educate yourself, you can reduce your levels of fat. Compared to proteins and carbohydrates, fat contains twice as many calories per gram; more details can be found in the Strategic Nutrition Guide. Some recommendations include purchasing leaner meats, eating poultry without the skin, switching to lower-fat cheeses, or using a non-stick pan with only a dab of oil or butter.
Eight: Portion Control
This one is a simple start that anyone can do. Basically, the logical principle underpinning this is as follows: the smaller the bag, bottle or bowl, the less you will eat. Do this gradually so that your body can get used to it.
Nine: Weight Control
Isn’t this the holy grail or what? Well, it’s more relevant to people who are overweight. If you are just a little bit overweight, losing just five to ten percent of your body weight can have huge health benefits such as – lower blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides.
There we go. Hopefully you can make some of these changes soon. Once again, if you are wanting to learn more about good dietary practices, be sure to check out the Strategic Nutrition Guide, which is also part of the Granite Fitness Masterclass.
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Also published on Medium.
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