Life

Nutrition: 10 micro steps for health and diet to help you thrive throughout January

Making big changes to your diet and/or lifestyle in the new year rarely works out
Jane McClenagahan

HAVE you broken any resolutions yet? How about making a resolution with a difference? How about you forget the 'new year, new you' get-skinny-quick diet plan and commit to making tiny little changes that don't take commitment, hard work or effort, but that all add up to make you feel better?

I have been working in the world of wellbeing and nutrition for a very long time, and if there is one thing I have learned is that most big diet plans are set to fail. With all that we know about diet, nutrition and wellbeing from years of research and trial and error, it is still not widely understood that the one thing that works for good health is making changes in bite-size chunks.

Imagine if you could make one simple change each week throughout 2021 and commit to that goal for seven days. Isn't that more achievable than eating weird diet food, restricting calories or exercising until you crash and burn?

By making micro steps towards your end goal, you are more likely to achieve what you want, and enjoy the steps that help you get there.

Before you work out your micro steps, you will need to have a goal in mind: think about how you want to feel at the end of January – remember, that is just four short weeks, so be realistic. If weight loss is your goal, think about losing between one and two pounds a week – somewhere between four and eight pounds (approximately 2 to 4kg) by the end of January.

Here are 10 actionable micro steps that could be easy to apply to your life to help you thrive throughout January. Chose the one that appeals most to you, or that you think sounds the easiest. Do it for seven days and then try another little change. Imagine how you would look and feel by the end of 2021 if you could commit to just one micro change every week for 52 weeks of the year.

1) Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning every day for a week

2) Get outside at lunchtime (come rain, hail or shine)

3) Sit at a table to eat all your meals (that includes snacks – so no snacking in front of Gogglebox in the evenings!)

4) Eat three meals a day without snacks and see how it feels

5) Eat within a 12 hour window

6) Eat two portions of dark green leafy vegetables every day (broccoli, kale, rocket, spinach, watercress, cabbage, leeks etc)

7) Eat a handful of nuts or seeds every day (unsalted and un-roasted, of course)

8) Have a palm-size portion of protein with every meal and snack. Choose from eggs, meat, fish, chicken, nuts or seeds, pulses, houmous, yoghurt, cottage/goats/feta cheese

9) Swap margarine to butter

10) Ditch the low fat foods

Some people find that it helps to keep a food diary, so that you can chart how these micro changes make you feel. You might find it useful to team up with a buddy who wants to make similar changes to you so that you can keep each other accountable, It is much easier if you have someone by your side to encourage and motivate you.

If something resonates with you and you notice a positive difference, then keep that change in your daily routine. Little by little, these changes that you make will have a bigger impact on how you look and feel than any fad diet or January detox.

Happy New Year!

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