Make a Small Change Today

May 6, 2012

Jonnell, Registered Dietitian

I feel that people put off making changes because they think that in order for a change to be worthwhile that it needs to be a drastic change. However, making several small changes over time can have large health benefits.  For example, someone who is overweight and loses just 5 – 10% of their weight may better control their blood sugar, reduce their blood pressure, and improve their blood cholesterol. For someone weighing 200 pounds, that would translate to only 10 pounds. Walking an additional 20 minutes per day would burn approximately 100 calories (this will vary from person to person). In five weeks that could translate to one pound of weight lost. Over the course of a year that could translate to 10 pounds of weight loss. Or replace one regular can of soda a day with a non-caloric beverage and reduce your calorie intake by about 140 calories.  Reducing your sodium intake by as little as 400 mg per day (one teaspoon of salt contains 2300 mg sodium) may reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. Find one small change that you feel will be beneficial to your health and make that small change a habit.

Aim for one small change today and improve your health

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Park farther from the door
  • Walk briskly for 10 minutes during your break
  • Order a side of fruit instead of fries
  • Choose a reduced sodium soup or broth
  • Get a health screening that you’ve been putting off

For more ideas of small things that you can do to have a positive impact on your health check out our Great Health Tips of the Day.

References:
Bibbins-Domingo K, et al.  Projected effect of dietary salt reductions on future cardiovascular disease.  N Engl J Med 2010; 362:590-599.
Blackburn G. (1995). Effect of degree of weight loss on health benefits. Obesity Research 3: 211S-216S.
NIH, NHLBI Obesity Education Initiative. Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults.  Available online:  http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/ob_gdlns.pdf