Sometimes my clients have “all or nothing” thinking. If they do not do something 100% perfectly, then they think they failed and will not give themselves any credit at all. I tell them that small changes do add up and do count and to adjust how they think about changing habits. That no matter what, they are on a different path than they were on last week. They have already left their old lifestyle and are moving towards a healthier version of themselves.
I tell my clients that my motto is “enhance the good and dilute the bad” which corresponds to my belief that our actions do not have to be perfect, they can just be better choices. It’s when you add up all the small changes that real achievement is acknowledged.
Dilute the Bad
So what are some of those small steps? You can “dilute the bad” with some of these suggestions. Switching from 2 Tbsp of half and half in your coffee to 2 Tbsp of 2% milk will save you 25 calories and 2 grams of artery clogging saturated fat. And that’s just one cup of coffee. Switching from 1 cup of whole milk to 1% milk will save you 50 calories and 5.5 grams of saturated fat. Using 2 Tbsp of light ranch dressing instead of regular ranch dressing will save you 84 calories and 12 grams of saturated fat. Eliminating the thin slice of American cheese on your sandwich will save you nearly 100 calories and 7 grams of saturated fat. You can see how combining all these small changes can save over 300 calories a day. It takes about 3500 calories to lose one pound, you can see that in about a month one could lose about three pounds. Weight comes on gradually; why not have it come off gradually so it feels more natural and sustainable.
Enhance the Good
On the “enhance the good” side of the motto, adding chopped frozen spinach, turnip greens or broccoli to a chili adds all kinds of wonderful nutrients like potassium that are important for heart function and can improve blood pressure eating proper amounts. Adding low calorie foods like vegetables reduces the calorie density of foods, gives us more volume to help give us a feeling of fullness after eating without all the extra calories of just the standard meat chili. Switching from regular yogurt to Greek plain fat free yogurt and adding your own fresh or frozen fruit will give you much more protein – one of the macronutrients that helps maintain our muscles and prevents the aftermeal sleepiness that often happens. And since our body does not store protein, it’s important to eat some with every meal. Topping your potato with plain fat free Greek yogurt sprinkled with fresh chives instead of sour cream will save you about 25 calories and 2.5 grams of saturated fat plus it will give you added protein. Adding barley to your rice or adding kidney beans or some other canned beans to your soups will give you added fiber, particularly the soluble kind, that will fill you up, improve bowel health, help with weight loss, lower blood sugars for those with diabetes or prediabetes and lower cholesterol.
Each of these small steps, done on a daily basis, can add up to gradual, sustainable weight loss but more importantly a healthier, better performing body!
2. Eat More Veggies ….next week