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Kickstart 2013 in the right direction!

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We all know there are steps we could be taking to improve our health. How often when the new year ticks over do you or those around you resolve to ‘get fit’ or ‘lose weight’? Interestingly often this resolve to do so is repeated as we welcome the next new year, as little has changed from when we last set this goal. Why does this happen?

Often we set the goal too big. We embark on a complete lifestyle overhaul which involves far too many changes to be sustainable once the holiday season ends and we are back into the routine of work and family life.  Studies have found that anyone can have long term success – the key is to make small, gradual changes.

So what are some small changes you can put in place to kickstart your new year in the right direction? Whether you are new to the weight loss surgery journey or had surgery some time ago, all of us have something we could improve to better our health.

Which of these small steps would be steps in the right direction for you?


§  Make sure there is some sort of vegetable or salad in your lunch each day, whether it be in a wrap, on top of crackers or in the leftovers you packed the night before.


§  Are you still using normal sized plates and bowls? Whilst some say they are serving less on them, you are more likely to serve less on smaller crockery. Downsize your plates and bowls or try the Portion Perfection for bands and sleeves range (available at www.greatideas.net).


§  Use the stairs whenever it’s an option.


§  Include fish at least twice a week. Fresh, frozen or canned is fine. Fish is a great source of protein to help you feel satisfied, but also provides you with the healthy fats, the omega-3s. 

§  Experiment with legumes. Tinned varieties are such a convenient source of protein that can be easily added to salads, soups, casseroles and stir-fries. If you are looking for new and interesting ideas on using legumes, head to the Sanitarium website www.sanitarium.com.au.


§  Do you take the weekends off from exercise to reward yourself for doing so well during the week? To successfully manage your weight, keep active most, if not all, days of the week.


§  Savour and enjoy your favourite foods in small portions. Denying yourself of your favourite foods will only lead to you craving them more and overeating them when you do finally indulge.


§  Remove ‘good food’ and ‘bad food’ from your vocabulary. Food is neither good nor bad, it is what we do with it that is important. 


§  Are you choosing low GI foods? Low GI foods will help you feel satisfied for longer after eating and help control your blood glucose levels. There is an article on low GI foods on my blog (www.nutritionforwls.com.au/blog).


§  Boost your fibre intake. Not only good for our waste disposal system, but important for weight management and heart health. Try sprinkling some psyllium husks, oat bran or seeds on your breakfast cereal, leave the skins on fruit and vegetables wherever you can and choose the grainiest breads, wraps or crackers possible.


§  Do you eat in front of the TV, the computer, the newspaper? Spend meal times at the table, free of other activities where you can focus on eating. You are more likely to register that you are eating and stop when you have had enough. Get into the habit of eating with your family without distractions to set a good example for them all.


§  Are you using low fat milk? Low fat milk has all the calcium of full cream, with less fat, particularly saturated fat. Low fat milk is fine for everyone in the family aged over 2 years.


§  Avoid having food on the table to help yourself at meal times. Serve cereal in your bowl, then put the box away. Dish up your meal on a small plate and put leftovers in the fridge, rather than putting all the dishes on the table which makes ‘seconds’ easier.


§  Downsize your drinks. When you go for coffee do you order a mug rather than a cup, a tall rather than a standard? Enjoy your coffee, but skip the upsizing.


§  Don’t skip meals! No matter how busy you are, treat meals as an appointment that you schedule in your diary and commit to like you would any other appointment.


§  Keep it simple. Rather than scouring food labels for the perfect packaged food, choose those with no labels. The foods without labels, such as fruits and vegetables, are always good options.

Consider choosing one change a month that you can tackle over the coming year. You may have other changes that you feel are more important for you to tackle at your stage of your journey. Shortlist the suggestions that are relevant to you and add any others you feel are important. Aim to make the changes one by one over the year. Wait until you have mastered one change before embarking on another.

Kickstart 2013 in the right direction!
Sally Johnston
Accredited Nutritionist (AN), Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD)