Thursday, September 8, 2016

8 Dietitian Small Steps Towards Success

I often encourage people to take small steps. We want the large end goal, and we want it now. We think we can undo years or decades of habits overnight and we get upset with ourselves when we fail. As I continue to remind myself and learn, failure is a good thing. We can however slowly chip away and get to that goal (learning from those failures, or failing forward along the way), since each step is still progress.

I know change can be overwhelming, and these small, almost insignificant steps seem to be the ones we can stick with. Successful people tend to take small, smart steps and for a lot of us, the challenge is just to start. You may not even know where you're headed, but as Confucius (or Lao Tzu, depending on where you look) said:

Since dietitians support lifestyle/sustainable changes, I asked my colleagues for their "little things/steps/changes that make a big difference". See their responses below and let us know yours in the comments:

1 hour of food prep on the weekend for the week ahead!
Lindsay Livingston, the lean green bean

Start your day with protein!
Kelli Shallal, hungry hobby rd

Try eating with a smaller fork - it will force you to slow down while you're eating, which not only helps your body to realize when it's full but also helps with digestion!
Kara Golis, byte sized nutrition

Pause for a moment before you start eating. Rushed and mindless eating is a bad habit and a hard one to break, this is a small step in the right direction.
Lauren Fleming, savoured RD

Carry a water bottle around with you to stay hydrated--which may also help you eat less at meals. Amy Gorin, Amy Gorin Nutrition 

Keep washed fruit on the counter at eye level so you're more likely to grab it for a snack. 
Nazima Qureshi, Nutrition by Nazima

I keep nuts, water, granola bars in my car to eat when me or one of the kids are hungry. We do so much running around for sports and activities that it keeps us from eating unhealthy foods.
Kim Melton, Nutrition Pro Consulting

Including fruits and veggies as a part of an everyday thing.
Dixya Bhattarai, Food Pleasure and Health

A few of the ones I do that I could think of include:
  • keeping healthy options in the house for the times that hunger strikes
  • purchasing small containers of ice cream (the real, good stuff), for automatic portion control
  • including vegetables with every dinner (working for half plate more often)
  • serving meals in the kitchen most times, to make it an effort to get a second helping
  • being active daily, even if it's just playing with my toddler or walking the dog, I need to at least do something
  • keeping clutter to a minimum and minimizing our possessions, something we continually work on, but a step I'm glad I made
  • having breakfast everyday
  • choosing water or club soda when out at restaurants

I'm sure there are more, but hopefully they've become a part of me or my day that I don't even remember when they weren't. Choose something small and simple; something you have a chance at succeeding at, but that is still a challenge, because every step adds up. You don't learn to run a marathon in a day, so go easy on yourself.

Steph Langdon, RD