Healthy Eating Week – Day 5

Day 5: Set A Goal to make a lasting positive change!

Why it's important to make positive lifestyle changes that lasts

Over time, poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to obesity and other chronic health conditions such as heart disease.

Making long-term changes to your lifestyle behaviours can have positive effects on health and wellbeing, and reduce the risk of developing chronic health conditions.

Setting a goal to make a positive lifestyle change is helpful because it can:

  • improve motivation;
  • provide focus;
  • make healthier behaviours easier and more automatic over time

Aim to make the following changes

Small lifestyle changes that are easy to incorporate into daily life are more likely to be maintained. Reflect on your current eating, drinking and physical activity habits and think about where you would like to make a positive change. When setting a goal for a healthy lifestyle change, it can help to think S.M.A.R.T.

Specific – you have a better chance of achieving your goal if it is well-defined (e.g. a goal to ‘swap all sugary drinks for water over the next month’ is more specific than a goal to ‘consume less sugar’)

Measurable – how will you know when you’ve accomplished your goal? You might want to keep a diary or use an App to track your progress.

Achievable – is your goal realistic and feasible? Impossible goals can be demotivating so try to set a goal that you have the time, skills and resources to complete.

Relevant – will your goal improve your physical and/or mental health? Some people may benefit from eating more fruit and vegetables; others may eat plenty of fruit and vegetables but spend too much time being sedentary. Make sure you identify which aspects of your lifestyle could have the biggest impact on your wellbeing.

Time-bound – how often will you need to do the tasks required to achieve your goal? When will your goal be accomplished? For example, a goal to ‘eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day for the next month’ may be more motivating than a goal to ‘eat more fruit and vegetables’.

Here are some ideas which are nutritionist and dietician approved!

Try

Eat 3 different coloured fruit and vegetables per day

Eat slowly and enjoy your food – this will give your body the time to realise its full, avoiding overeating

Try a new wholegrain food, e.g. wholemeal bread, pitta, wraps, bagels, brown rice, oats, barley, quinoa, buckwheat, wholegrain spelt pasta, bulgur wheat or plain popcorn.

Try to reduce your seated screen time, such as time spent on the TV or computer. Set yourelf a challenge e.g. only one hour of seated screen time a day, or halving the time youd usually spend each day and stick to it.

Swap

Swap your usual breakfast/morning foods for high fibre versions.

Have a  variety of fruit and vegetables instead of usual snacks.

Swap your usual routine – add an extra 10 minutes of activity each day e.g. walking, swimming or weights

Up your fish intake – try to eat two portions or more each week, one of which should be an oily fish such as salmon, sardines, kippers, whitebait, mackerel, trout, herring, pilchards or fresh tuna.

Swap snacks high in saturates, sugar or salt such as fried crisps, chocolate and sweets for fruit, vegetables, plain yoghurt, nuts or seeds.

Change

Find a new way to move, dust off the bike, head to your local pool or park or try my online programme which you can do in the comfort of your own home.

Fill half your plate at lunch or dinner with salad or vegetables.

Stop or cut down on drinking sugary soft drinks or adding sugar to drinks

Add one extra portion of vegetables into one of your meals

Check the food labels for low or reduced salt options and when cooking at home use herbs and spices for flavour.