Over the years, I’ve read a ton of nutrition, wellness and development books. One of the most powerful I’ve read is “Atomic Habits.” It addresses some of the most pragmatic ways to create transformational change I have ever found, and I still coach people on some of the advice in this book.
In case you aren’t ready to go all in on reading it, I’ll fill you in on why this book continues to be valuable to me.
As you may have guessed, the premise of the book is that in order to create and sustain long-term change, you must ease yourself into it. Start by changing one or two small things that feel manageable: if you overhaul your lifestyle in a week, you will become exhausted and frustrated and the changes won’t stick.
I guide my clients to eliminate most – not all – processed foods (let’s be real: I know that I will never get to 100% whole foods all the time. I just know that I won’t unless I’m medically forced to, so I don’t get down on myself for eating boxed foods from time to time. And I never ask my clients to do anything that I don’t do myself, so we’re all on the same page).
Let’s say the first thing you choose to change is breakfast. If you’re used to grabbing a sugar filled, chemical dense breakfast bar as you run out of the house, let’s estimate that you’re consuming about 200 calories worth of carbohydrates and protein.
Well guess what? A hard-boiled egg and a banana doesn’t take much longer to unwrap and eat. Don’t get me wrong, a high quality protein bar can fit nicely into your healthy diet. Just make sure to pick a good one such as the Oatmega Bar.
Don’t Give Up Your Popcorn
The great thing about making small changes like this is that you don’t have to give up your favorite foods. If you love snacking on popcorn (like I do), you don’t have to give it up! Just trade it in for a healthier version.
There are a variety of different popcorns at the grocery store that are a perfectly acceptable healthy snack. One of my favorites is called SkinnyPop because there are three ingredients: non-GMO popcorn, oil, and salt. That’s all.
The same goes for all kinds of food: if you can’t go without your chips, try swapping your Fritos for Taro Chips that are made from sweet potatoes. If you gotta have chocolate, swap your processed Hershey’s for a more healthy organic dark chocolate.
If you’re not sure whether it’s a healthier choice, take a look at the ingredients list on the back. When you see a jumble of words that would knock you out of a spelling bee, don’t eat it! The better choices have ingredients that you can pronounce and understand.
Embrace the Journey
Remember, the path to health and weight loss is truly a journey. You don’t have to be Evel Knievel and jump over 27 cars to see progress. When you integrate these small changes and let your body and your taste buds adjust, you’re setting yourself up for long-term success and wellness.
How are you integrating small changes into your diet and lifestyle? Name one small change you plan to make in the comments below!