Nutrition-wise blog

Little changes make a big difference

By Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. December 24, 2015

Change can be extensive — you can replace all the food in your kitchen, join an intensive exercise program or sign up for a liquid or meal service type diet. With any of these, you'll likely see and feel big changes.

But they may or may not be sustainable — something you can continue to do beyond the first few months. Ultimately, your long-term success is determined by whether these changes eventually become part of your everyday routine.

If you've tried and failed at making sweeping changes, consider another approach.

Smaller scale changes can also have an impact. They require patience and persistence since you may not see immediate effects. But many small changes add up over time.

Here's an example of what you can do in one day:

Type and/or amount of food Calorie savings
2 tablespoons peanut butter reduced to 1 tablespoon 94
2 slices of cheese (2 ounces) to 1 slice (1 ounce) 113
1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) butter to 2 teaspoons 34
1 tablespoon oil to 1 teaspoon 84
2 tablespoons ranch dressing to 1 tablespoon 64
4-ounce 85% lean ground beef patty to 90% lean 37

These small food choice changes over the course of the day add up to cutting 426 calories. Keep that up and you'll see positive effects on your weight and health.

The same applies to exercise. Add 5-10 more minutes of walking each day, take one more set of stairs, and stand and stretch throughout your day.

Be patient. Track your positive changes so you can reflect on these, even if the number on the scale takes longer to appear. Celebrate your day-to-day accomplishments, no matter the size. Over time you'll reap the rewards of a healthier lifestyle.

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Dec. 24, 2015