Make Small Changes For A Big Difference In 2022
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 catchups, 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 2022.
It’s easy to overload with self-improvement pledges in the new year – you’ll supposedly exercise more, eat healthier, drink less, make time for yourself, save money, spend more time with your family…the list goes on. However, think about whether all these things are really going to happen. It’s a new year, but how and why will you do things differently from yesterday?
The thing to consider 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. After all, 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, one of our friendly dietitians has shared some example strategies that can help with positively changing your dietary habits:
- 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 see new ones being created 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 nourishment after training, lean meats for iron.
- Then think about what you would like to change and why, keeping with the ‘no dieting’ mentality. Try to keep 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 to consume more omega3 fats for my heart and joint health. I want to improve my gut health by eating pre- and probiotic enriched 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, for example, in barbeques, soups, curries, frittatas, stir-fries, or try having ‘meatless Monday’.
- If you get in your five servings a day, it automatically restricts overeating in other areas!
Our dietitian’s final thoughts? “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!
1. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016, ‘Australian Health Survey: Consumption of Food Groups from the Australian Dietary Guidelines, 2011-12’, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia.