Embarking on a new weight loss or fitness plan can be daunting. It seems like you'll have to make huge, disruptive changes to your lifestyle. But that's not necessarily true.
Here are some small changes you can make today that can all add up to big health gains.
1. Freeze fruit. When you want a sweet, cold treat, don't reach for ice cream. Reach for some frozen grapes. Or blend a frozen banana with some milk for a healthier treat.
2. Take your coffee black. Reduce your sugar intake and total calories by switching to black coffee. If you need flavor, try brewing flavored beans.
3. Drink sparkling water instead of soda. If you like to drink something bubbly with your meals, opt for sparkling water instead of calorie- and sugar-filled sodas.
4. Use smaller plates. Most of us have a misunderstanding of correct portion sizes. Instead of stressing out and measuring everything out, try plating your dinner on a smaller dish.
5. Use the stairs. Try this for a day and you'll start to feel the burn in your glutes and thighs! Then you'll be hooked on skipping the elevator and working your lower body.
6. Park farther away. Sure, getting a spot closer to the store always seems like a victory. But you can add in some serious extra steps if you park at the farthest spot you can find.
7. Get to know spices and herbs. Experiment with all the flavors available in the spice aisle that will make your vegetables and whole grains taste better. It makes mealtime more fun.
8. Buy a spiralizer and try zucchini "pasta." If you're trying to reduce your carb consumption, make zucchini "pasta" using a spiralizer. Another win: you'll be eating more veggies!
9. Meet the versatile avocado. Avocados can make smoothies incredibly smooth and creamy. They also work great as a mayo substitute.
10. Turn the TV off and put the phone away. Giving your eyes a break from the screen will help you ease into sleep mode. Getting enough—and better sleep—is important for regulating hormones and weight.
11. Stop weighing yourself daily. Weight loss doesn't happen overnight so avoid weighing yourself and getting discouraged. Also, if you are on a fitness plan and building muscle, remember that muscle weighs more than fat.
12. Reduce alcohol consumption. If you like to have a glass of wine every night, try reducing your consumption because that one glass can really add extra calories. Also, moderate drinking might not offer the health benefits previously thought.
13. Swap white grains for whole grains. Whole grains are more filling and have more fiber, which is important for regulating your digestive system and appetite. Did you know there is a whole world of whole grains out there beyond whole-wheat bread?
14. Tell a friend about your fitness or weight-loss goals. If you tell someone about your goals, you will be more likely to stick to your plan. Also, you'll have a friend who can check in on you and support you.