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Whether you want to improve your health or lose weight, goals that focus on positive change tend to be much longer-lasting and fulfilling than ones that take things away. Who wants to feel deprived anyway? For example, how do you feel when you tell yourself you plan to give something up? You might say to yourself you will give up things like all sugar, processed foods, watching TV, or playing video games. Before you know it, you will be unconsciously looking for cookies, soda, French fries, couches, and TVs without even realizing it.


Prior to making the goal, you probably walked by that vending machine filled with sweets or driven hundreds of times by the ice cream store without even noticing. Now that you have given them up, your “radar” zeroes in on every vending machine and ice cream store around. It’s human psychology. It’s not much fun and often fails, leaving you feeling guilty and possibly resentful. Instead, make positive changes that make you “automatically” feel good rather than “willing” yourself to be good within all those restrictions.

Examples of small changes to lose weight or just get healthier

  1. Pack a healthy lunch and snacks for work at least three days a week.
  2. Go for a 20-minute walk at the end of the lunch hour on Mondays and Fridays.
  3. Keep a pair of sneakers and socks in your car. You can walk without excuse, like during your kid’s sports practice.
  4. Try a new cardio or yoga class on YouTube.
  5. Start your day on your mat with five minutes of stretching and meditation.
  6. Walk to get the mail instead of driving.
  7. Walk with a friend at least once a week.
  8. Eat at least two colorful vegetables every day. Consider choices like spinach, squash, dark green lettuce, broccoli, chard, green beans, peas, sweet potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes.
  9. Have a salad or soup meal once a week, a great way to pack in the veggies. Need a yummy soup recipe filled with veggies? Try this super simple and delicious Chicken Salsa Verde Chili.
  10. Stock up on plain seltzer water or club soda to drink instead of regular sodas.
  11. Find some herbal tea flavors to enjoy for a healthy treat without the calories.
  12. Keep lemon, lime, or other citrus wedges handy in the refrigerator to add a splash of flavor and vitamin C to your water.
  13. Stock up on fresh fruit you enjoy and have a piece at least once a day, perhaps in the evening as dessert.
  14. Have a legume-based dish at least once a week. Legumes work well in soups, casseroles, chilis, burritos, and salads. Need recipe inspiration? Try this vegan Spinach Lentil Soup.
  15. Make a small plate of mini snacks by portioning out healthy foods like nuts, cheese, olives, tomatoes, carrots, and hummus. Remember to sit down and mindfully savor your snack.
  16. Include a probiotic food several times a week, such as yogurt, kombucha, kefir, kimchi, or fermented sauerkraut.
  17. Eat a high-protein breakfast with foods like eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, or nut butter to keep you satisfied all morning. For high-protein breakfast ideas, click here.
  18. Try a new whole grain like farro, barley, red rice, quinoa, and millet.
  19. Find a good olive oil you like and use it for dressing your salads — just a bit of oil, plus vinegar, salt, pepper, and perhaps some dried herbs.
  20. Try dry rubs or healthier marinades for grilling.
  21. Please remember not to shame yourself when you don’t meet a goal you’ve set. Maybe you let a week pass without packing a healthy lunch. No problem, just make it happen next week. You can put your goal into the notes section of MyNetDiary to make it “official” so you take it seriously. Over time, the more you incorporate small changes, the easier they are accomplished, helping you lose weight without extraordinary effort. They become more of a habit and you feel empowered and motivated when you experience positive health results.
  22. The amazing thing is that as you build these habits into your daily and weekly routine, there is less room for unhealthy food or unhealthy habits. For example, if you’re filling up on vegetables at dinner, you’ll have less appetite for sugary desserts. If you have nuts or cheese readily available for a snack, you won’t eat the chips and candy bars. If you go for a walk after dinner, there is less time to sit on the couch and watch TV.
  23. Take the time to create your own personal list of simple, positive health goals. Think of foods, small meal changes, or ways to increase physical activity that can make a valuable difference to your health and efforts to lose weight. Before you know it, others will notice and may ask you for advice about how to change their lifestyle to be healthier.

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