Wellness Hub February 2018 Mindfulness Make small changes for a big difference in 2018 Victoria Hanlon - Swisse Author January 12, 2018 Share The excess of Christmas is over and the New Year celebrations are a distant memory. You’ve taken down the tree, ticked off the obligatory family catch-ups and wondered how you managed to eat your own body weight in chocolate. Now’s the perfect time to turn your attention to the year ahead and start thinking about your goals and resolutions for 2018. “It’s easy to overload with self-improvement pledges in the new year – you’ll exercise more, eat healthier, drink less, make time for yourself, save money, spend more time with your family, and the list goes on,’ says Simone Austin, Swisse Dietitian. “Then you can have lists within lists, with ‘break-out’ ones for healthy eating, exercise and finance! Are all these things really going to happen? It’s a new year, but how and why will you do things differently from yesterday?” The thing to consider, according to Simone, is whether you really want to overhaul your life with stretch targets, or whether you could benefit from making a few small achievable modifications, that will yield real, long-term results. “Small steps are the key to making big changes. They’re attainable, realistic, and you’re more likely to stick to them.” To kick start your new year, Simone has given us some example strategies that can help with positively changing your dietary habits. Let’s take a look at her recommended steps: First, look at all the great things you already do that are awesome for your health. Give yourself a pat on the back! Forget dieting! If diets actually worked for weight loss, we wouldn’t be creating new ones constantly. Be positive. Think about what to include rather than what not. When you focus on everything you want to eat in the day there won’t be much room for the less nourishing choices anyway. For example, two pieces of fruit, a handful of nuts, some wholegrains for carbs and fibre, dairy for calcium, enough protein for after training, lean meats for iron. Then think about what you would like to change and why, keeping with ‘no dieting’. Try to keep them health focused e.g. I would like to drink more water so I don’t get dehydrated by the afternoon. I would like to eat more seafood for omega3 fats for my heart and joint health. I want to improve my gut health by eating pre- and probiotic containing foods. Keep this list achievable – work on one or two things at a time. To improve your diet, and consequently your health, a focus needed for most Australians (less than 4% of Australians consume enough vegetables and legumes or beans each day) is to eat more vegetables and plant foods. Set a shopping time to go fruit and vegetable shopping Visit fresh food markets with family and friends Grow some herbs, vegetables or fruit at home Prepare vegetables in advance for snacks and lunches, cook extra one night for the next Add extra vegetables to dishes e.g. barbeques, soups, curries, frittata, with your eggs, in stir-fries, meatless Monday. If you get in your five servings a day it automatically restricts over eating in other areas! Final thoughts from Simone? “Planning is a key to success in most areas of life. Give your diet some time and attention for planning. Also look for support from people around you - get the family on board. These are key ingredients for long term success. Overly restricting yourself, feeling guilty and focusing on what you can’t have aren’t.” Words of advice to live by!