Small Changes = Big Results

by Lauren on October 24, 2013

One of my favorite nutrition blogs is Vanessa Peroni’s Motive Nutrition. She has great recipe ideas and advice for living a healthy lifestyle. She recently wrote a blog encouraging her readers to participate in a 12-week healthy changes challenge.

The challenge is to pick a healthy change every week for the next 12 weeks until Christmas. She gave some great suggestions, but feel free to come up with something else if you’re already doing one of them.

Here are Vanessa’s suggestions for healthy changes (I added some of my own tips in pink):

Week 1: Eat breakfast every day.

Tips to make it happen:

  • Keep staples on hand: oats, nut butter, eggs, fresh fruit.
  • Wake up 5 minutes earlier
  • Make & freeze healthy muffins for a quick grab & go breakfast

Week 2: Fill half of your plate with vegetables at lunch & dinner.

Tips to make it happen:

  • Buy 5 or more kinds of vegetables on your grocery run
  • Have chopped veggies prepped for the week in your fridge
  • Have lettuce, baby spinach or other leafy greens washed and ready to go.
  • Divide your plate into 3 sections: Half veggies, 1/4 lean protein (palm-size portion), and 1/4 carb/starch (fist-size portion) 

Week 3: Bring your lunch to work every day

Tips to make it happen:

  • Get equipped with a lunch bag and reusable containers
  • Plan for leftovers to use as lunches
  • If making a salad, pull out your lunch container, and make your lunch-time salad at the same time

Week 4: Drink at least 2L water every day

Tips to make it happen:

  • Buy a reusable water bottle (Sigg or Klean Kanteen are great brands)
  • Carry it with you and keep it full
  • Keep it interesting: add citrus slices or fresh mint

Week 5: Do moderate-high intensity exercise 4x this week

Tips to make it happen:

  • Schedule your sessions
  • Buddy-up to make yourself accountable
  • Keep your gear in the car
  • Download the Nike Training Club app and workout from home!

Week 6: Eat at regular intervals

Tips to make it happen:

  • Set a reminder every 3 hours: eating regularly is important to control your hunger and energy levels
  • Carry snacks with you, always (fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, energy bars)

Week 7: Eat home cooked meals

Tips to make it happen:

  • Write a menu plan for the week
  • Maximize weekend meal prep
  • Use local grocery flyers for meal ideas – base your meals on sale ingredients, which are usually produce that’s in-season!

Week 8: Journal what, where and why you’re eating

Tips to make it happen:

  • Buy a journal, or use your smart phone
  • Set a reminder at the end of the day for journaling time

Week 9: Fill-up on high-fibre foods

Tips to make it happen:

  • Add 2 tablespoons of ground flax or chia seeds to your diet every day
  • Replace refined carbs (sweets, juice, sweetened beverages, white flour-based foods) with high-fibre alternatives such as whole fruit, veggies, intact grains (quinoa, oats, brown rice), sweet potatoes, winter squash

Week 10: Create a health-promoting eating environment

Tips to make it happen:

  • Throw away or hide temptation foods.
  • Make healthy foods the first you see in your pantry and fridge.
  • Keep healthy emergency foods at the office, in the car and in your bag.

Week 11: Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re satisfied. 

Tips to make it happen:

  • Eat at regular intervals to tame your hunger
  • Spend 15 min or more to enjoy each meal
  • Take small bites, putting down your fork between bites to taste and savour your food.

Week 12: Reward yourself with a health-promoting Christmas gift.

Tips to make it happen:

  • Kitchen gadget: Juicer, power blender
  • On the go accessory: Tea mug, water bottle
  • Equipment: Yoga mat, new running shoes, exercise headphones
  • Subscription to organic food delivery service

The hope is that after the 12 weeks you’ll continue making healthy changes, and over time they will become healthy habits, and before you know it you’ll be living a healthy lifestyle!

Are you up for the small change challenge?

If you are, I’d love to see your comments on how it’s going, and your ideas for healthy changes – good luck!

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