Health & Wellness

Simple ways to make big health changes

Making these small changes can help to create lifelong habits.
Published 21 June 2018

9 small changes to improve your health

There's no time like the present to take control of your health, and the journey starts with one small step. WW experts offer their advice on the changes you can make right now to set yourself on the right path.

1. Swap smoothies and juices for whole fruit

“It would be really hard to eat the equivalent amount of whole ingredients that go into a smoothie or a juice. I’m not saying they’re unhealthy foods; the body doesn’t register those liquid forms of food the same way it registers volumes of whole foods, so it can be really easy to overconsume and gain weight without even realising it,” says Dr. Michelle Celander, qualified dietitian.

2. Think movement, not exercise

“I’d love to be in the gym but I have to be at work, so I think about how I can move more and activate my muscles by doing things such as standing in meetings,” says Celander. “Another way is I play tennis with my kids. I also like to dance so I put music on in the house and we go around together. I believe moving together is the key to a happy and healthy family.”

3. Walk more than yesterday

“For a healthy heart you should take 10,000 steps a day, but that can be overwhelming if you’re only doing 3000, so just have a goal to do more than you did the day before,” says Marie Elliott, WW Coach. “Physical activity releases endorphins, strengthens your body, and lowers the risk of all those associated diseases such as cardiovascular disease.”

4. Snack on protein

“Protein-rich snacks are a great way to keep you feeling satisfied in between meals,” says Nicole Stride, WW dietitian. “Some great snackable sources of protein include a tin of tuna, hard-boiled egg, low-fat yoghurt, or a small handful of nuts and seeds.”

5. Brush off slip-ups

“It can take anywhere from 21 days to several months to create a new habit,” says clinical and coaching psychologist Cassandra Dunn. “It’s important to have realistic expectations so that if you find it takes longer for a new behaviour to feel comfortable, that’s normal! The good news is that minor slip-ups don’t matter, as long as you get back on track quickly.”

6. Treat Yourself

“Rewarding yourself when you complete a full week of your physical activity goals gives you the incentive to keep going,” says exercise physiologist Hollie Webster. “Treats don’t have to be food. They can be pampering yourself with a facial, seeing a movie, enjoying dinner with a friend or buying a new pair of shoes.”

7. Leave your workout clothes by your bed

“We all have barriers to physical activity, such as feeling too tired. Letting these barriers influence your plans will impact negatively on your goals,” says Webster. “Try putting your workout gear next to your bed so you physically have to step over them in the morning as a reminder to move.”

8. Cover half your plate with veg

“To help you reach your five serves of veg each day, aim to cover half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables,” says Stride. “They’re packed full of essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to function properly and are a good source of fibre which will help you feel satisfied after your meal.”

9. Swap white carbs for brown

“Compared to refined grains, wholegrains retain a lot more of their nutrients, fibre and protein. This means they’re digested slower than refined grains, and this, in turn, means you’ll feel fuller for longer when you eat them.” says Stride.