Making a big change in your life can seem overwhelming.  Sometimes that change is so daunting that it can prevent you from moving forward.  Especially with something as important as food and exercise, it can be difficult to even know where to start.

With that in mind, I came up with a list of small changes that you can make – one at a time, if you’d like – that will move you closer to a healthier life or weight loss goal.

  • Replace one soda a day with a glass of water.  A 12-ounce can of soda has approximately 140 calories.  Eliminating one per day results in 980 fewer calories per week – or almost 51,000 calories over a year.  51,000 calories is the equivalent of about 14.5 pounds!
  • Sign up for a healthy-living newsletter.  Getting a daily or weekly email reminder can help keep you focused on your goal by providing motivation, inspiration, tips or recipes.  There are many great resources online that are free!  You can sign up for My Real Food Family’s weekly newsletter here.
  • Take the stairs.  Climbing stairs for 2-3 minutes a day can help burn a few extra calories – enough to help to lose a pound or two over the course of a year.  While that may not seem like a significant amount, you can easily add a few more flights each day and not even break a sweat.
  • Replace one fast food meal a week with a home-cooked dinner.  The average fast food meal contains over 800 calories and little nutritional benefit.  Eliminating one drive thru meal a week can save you around 42,000 calories (or about 12 pounds) over the course of the year.  Even if you don’t have much time to cook at home, recipes like this Chicken and Bacon Salad can be thrown together in a matter of minutes.
  • Replace refined carbs.  Pasta is a well-known gut-buster.  Spiralizing vegetables like zucchini makes a healthy and delicious replacement to the refined carbohydrates of pasta.  A one cup serving of spiralized zucchini contains 20 calories versus 174 calories in a cup of whole wheat pasta.  Try this recipe for Zoodles and Homemade Pasta Sauce.  This simple change can save you over 8,000 calories over the course of the year if eaten once a week.
  • Eat your fruit instead of drinking it.  The fiber you ingest by eating the fruit will help you feel full more than drinking juice.  Since most juices have ingredients added, they are also higher in calories.
  • Rethink your coffee.  As a former flavored creamer lover, I can hear your groans now.  But adding anything to your coffee adds a significant amount of calories.  There are about 20 calories in each tablespoon of coffee creamer.  Depending on how much you add, you could be packing on the calories.  A cup of black coffee is only about 2 calories.  Avoiding the local coffee shop for the fancy drinks is another great way to save calories and shrink your waistline.
  • Replace one unhealthy food on your plate with a healthy one.  Try a new vegetable at least once a week.  You’ll save calories while increasing the vitamins and nutrients you consume.

Have you tried making healthy changes in your lifestyle?  What has worked for you?

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