Small, Healthy Changes Can Make a Big Difference

You may think that weight loss and getting healthy requires lots of sweat, pounding the pavement and a strict diet. If you need to lose a lot of weight or get in shape really fast, yes, taking extreme measures is best.

However, if you know you need to make changes and find it difficult to stick to a gruelling regimen, you can make small changes, over time, that add up to big results.

Simply making a few small changes over the course of a few months or a year can help you lose a few pounds here and there without feeling deprived or like you're even trying.

Make Small Changes in Your Eating Habits

Many people have made small changes in their eating habits and reaped big rewards. If you change one unhealthy eating habit per month, by the end of a year you will have changed a significant part of your diet and will see results in your weight.

Even if you only lose one pound per month because of these changes, that equals twelve pounds lost per year without much effort.

Some people decide to completely give up sugar. That is a great goal and it should be done, but if you're struggling to stick to something so strict, try giving up one of your favourite snacks.

Most people have several snacks they like and indulge in, like cookies and chips, or ice cream and candy bars.

Try giving up one of those the first month. Maybe you'll give up chips the first month.

Then you can give up cookies the next month. Don't deprive yourself, you can still enjoy your snacks once in awhile.

The key is to give them up in your daily or weekly eating habits.

Are you addicted to carbs? Trying giving up a high carb dish the first month, something like potatoes or a pasta dish.

You probably can't give them up completely at first, but if you're prone to have a carb with every meal, start giving them up in at least one meal per day.

Small changes like this may not seem all that significant, but they do add up over time and it helps you stick with them when they are small, as opposed to trying to change your whole diet at once.

If that's coupled with an exercise routine or adding more exercise to your current program, that could make a big difference in the way you look and feel.

Make Small Changes in Your Exercise Routine

If you don't currently have a daily exercise routine, this is a great time to start. Simply doing five minutes a day is better than what you're doing now.

Over time that will add up. Over the next twelve months you can add five minutes per month to that.

If you're in poor physical health, this is a very easy way to increase your time and stamina.

In fact, you may be able to add those five minutes every two weeks as you improve, but for now, just set a goal of five minutes per day for the first month and adding five minutes to that each month.

Within six months you could be exercising for thirty minutes per day, which is the standard amount doctors and fitness experts recommend. By the end of a year, you could double that or you can stay at thirty minutes.

The point is to start doing something and increase your time slowly. This will make big changes in your physical health, endurance and stamina, plus it will also help you lose a few pounds without having to jump into an extreme fitness regimen.

If you're already exercising then start adding more time to your routine. Do this in small increments so it doesn't feel so much like work.

If you currently work out for half an hour per day, by the end of six months you could be working out for an hour per day.

Make Small Changes in Your Mindset

Mindset is one of the key factors in anything you do, but it's especially important when it comes to healthy eating habits, weight loss and fitness.

You can't expect to change your whole way of thinking overnight, but you can start changing small things about the way you think and approach better health.

For example, instead of telling yourself you have to get through a gruelling half hour workout today, simply tell yourself you only need to do five minutes, and then go do it.

Chances are, at the end of that five minutes endorphins will start to kick in and you'll want to keep going. If not, then at least you've done five minutes and that's better than not doing any.

Another example is to tell yourself that snacking on fresh fruit is better and healthier than snacking on chips or candy.

There will be times when you do choose the unhealthy snacks over a piece of fruit, but the more you tell yourself to keep making the better choice, the more you'll start sticking with it.

You do not need (or want) to tell yourself that you have to make all of these life changes at once.

Start with small things and over time you will work into bigger things and your mindset will slowly change without as much struggle.

Keep Yourself on Track

Even making small changes can often seem like a major undertaking. Studies have proven time and again that the best way to make progress with any thing is to keep track of it.

This is especially true when it comes to weight loss and fitness. People who track their eating habits and exercise habits get better results than those who don't.

Why is this? Because those who track are more aware of their food intake and calorie output during exercise. By being aware, they know where they need to make changes.

If they splurge and have a treat on Monday, they know to make better choices for the next week and often will add a few minutes to their daily exercise routine to counteract the extra calories consumed.

Losing weight and getting fit can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be.

Decide you're going to make small changes over the next year instead of trying to change your whole lifestyle and eating habits overnight.

This may not be the fast track to losing weight, but those small changes do add up and won't leave you feeling so deprived.

Learn more here about the benefits of making small changes in your lifestyle and diet, and all about how to reverse the effects of aging

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