Q. Long term change of lifestyle just seems so overwhelming. How do I make it manageable?

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Friday, 04 June 2010.
Tagged: healthy eating, healthy lifestyle, overweight, weight loss

Q.  Long term change of lifestyle just seems so overwhelming. How do I make it manageable?

A. Changing your lifestyle is hard – you’re trying to change habits you’ve had for years. The best way to go about it is to start with small changes that you can incorporate easily without too much effort.  Big changes – like embarking on a week’s detox diet – just don’t last.  They’re too hard!

Take exercise. Try to do it in small chunks – start by walking just 15 minutes each day and building up to the recommended 30 minutes. Do more walking in your day to day jobs such as walking to the post office or taking the stairs instead of the lift.  Eventually it will become second nature and won’t feel like chore.

With food, you could focus on keeping your portion sizes small rather than going on a radical change or going on a diet. Simple things can really improve your nutrition like:

  • try to eat two pieces of fresh fruit (try eating them as a between-meal snack instead of a biscuit or muesli bar)
  • cook up larger portions of vegetables or a big salad at night
  • steer clear of fast food – buy a sandwich or salad instead
  • swap some carbs for low GI choices like grainy bread instead of white, pasta rather than rice or potato 

As everyone is different, it’s important to make changes which are specific for you.  Think about what it is that would bring you the biggest benefit – is it eating better, doing more physical activity, get more sleep, learn to unwind and stress less, cut down on alcohol or quite smoking?  Your goal is to make these small changes a habit so you end up doing them regularly without a lot of mental thought. Then they become automatic.

Don’t forget to set yourself goals that are SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic with a set time-frame. So instead of saying “I’ve got to start exercising”, it would be more meaningful for you to rather say “I’m going to walk for 30 minutes 4 times a week starting Monday.”

Catherine Saxelby

About the Author

Catherine Saxelby has the answers! She is an accredited nutritionist, blogger and award-winning author. Her latest book Nutrition for Life 2020 Edition is a fresh new update on all the things you've read about or heard in the last year. Think insects, collagen, vegan eating, Keto dieting, vitamin B12, fast food and cafe culture.  It has plenty of colour pictures and is easy to dip in and out of. Grab your copy NOW!