Barbara Lincoln: Small Changes for Meaningful Results

Small changes are easier to swallow than big ones. The easier a new habit is to adopt, the more likely it’s going to stick. It’s why everyone always tells you to start small and then go big. Sometimes you can do it in reverse but not as often. Small changes and conscious choices can make a big difference in terms of weight and health. An article in the New York Times a short while back based on a research study highlighted the importance of watching how your calories are consumed. Pretty soon after, a man in my husband’s office that was trying to lose weight asked him for some nutrition tips and the first one my husband gave was, “Don’t drink your calories.” I have him well trained!! Honestly I don’t keep juice in our house; I reserve it for special occasions. My girls would rather have a cookie. And one of the first places I look when a client is trying to lose weight or has been newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes is the amount of sugary beverages and alcoholic drinks that are consumed. Okay, I will be the first to tell you that I like to have my cake and eat it too! And as the mother of two young children, I like to have my wine as well. But I am well aware that these are occasional treats and that my glass of wine will replace my cake that night.

Five small changes that lead to meaningful long term results:

  1. Stop drinking juice. Research consistently demonstrates the links between juice consumption and Type 2 diabetes and metabolic disorders. This might be a big change for some of you but in the grand scheme of things it’s a small thing that you can do on a daily basis that is amazing for your health.
  2. Watch the added sugar. Do you put more than one packet of sugar in your coffee? Do you drink more than one or two cups of coffee a day? These packets of sugar add up. Think as many as 3 pounds per year.
  3. Add a salad to lunch and dinner. Most adults don’t get the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. If you were one of my clients, I’d recommend 7. This is as easy as adding a salad to lunch and dinner and see #5. If that doesn’t get you to 5 then you have some work to do.
  4. Stop after one maybe two glasses. There are many health benefits to consuming alcohol. Research consistently shows that those who drink have lower mortality rates than those who don’t. But it is an inverse relationship. The more you drink beyond one drink per day for women and two for men, things get worse. And if you’re watching your waistline all bets are off. Any additional calories that get consumed that are not burned off get stored as fat.
  5. Have fruit for dessert. It is healthy, filled with nutrients and fiber. And it displaces some other treat that you might eat after dinner. It also helps get you closer to #3, your 5 servings of fruits and vegetables as recommended for most adults.

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