Lifestyle Changes

Healthy lifestyle includes exercise

You dog can help to get you fit – and losing weight, if you need to.

Healthy Lifestyle to Reach a Healthy Weight:

Then Maintain It Indefinitely

Studies have produced startling results for the cumulative effects on weight of seemingly small easy changes in day-to-day living. Small changes that cumulatively add up to a healthy lifestyle. Minor things, like halving or eliminating soda consumption, walking an extra half mile a day, using smaller plates and so on. The Annals of Behavioral Medicine published a comparative study of the results of following a traditional diet and exercise plan as compared with participants who followed a programme involving making small adjustments to their daily living. Walking an extra 5 minutes a day, say, or halving consumption of soda. The people who made the small adjustments in day-to-day living, over the 4-months of the study, lost substantially more belly fat and weight compared with those on the traditional diet.

Introduce Lifestyle Changes Little by Little

There are many small changes that can be made to lifestyle that will help in losing weight and then keeping it off permanently. They do not have to be introduced all at once, but rather can be spread over a period. Aim to start with two of the changes and then to add another one every week. Soon, they will become the normal pattern of life, unnoticed. You will find that the cumulative effects of these small changes are amazing! 50 calories here, 100 there, over a month or a year add up to make a significant contribution to losing weight. Even the seemingly daft changes, like using smaller plates.

Healthy lifestyle includes few of these sweets

Keep things like these to a minimum while on diet!

Add changes to the list that, perhaps, apply particularly to you. Do you like jelly specially and so eat a lot of it? Don´t eliminate it – just halve, say, the amount you eat. Peanut butter? It´s good for you – but it also has a lot of calories. Halve your consumption of it? On this and on other items to do with food or drink consumption, when you are going to cut, make it a specific amount you are going to cut by. Not just something intangible.

Lifestyle Changes to Introduce

The following are changes you can make to your lifestyle, over time, for weight loss or just to become healthier:


At Home:

  • Plan your meals – once a week, say, sit down and write out a menu for the week
  • Purge the pantry  –  junk stuff in there that is not good for your weight or health
  • Healthy food and snacks for your pantry  –  including TV snacks of nuts, seeds, unsweetened popcorn
  • Drink lots of water  –  as much as 8 glasses a day. Before meals, can reduce hunger. As a replacement for sugary drinks water is excellent
  • Healthy lifestyle and eating at home

    Eat at home! It´s cheaper & healthier.

    Space calories out over course of day  –  so that you are never very hungry

  • Eat single-ingredient foods  –  in general, they are likely to be much healthier
  • Eat lots of vegetables  –  have them make up half your plate at lunch. Also,  eat fruit
  • Soup several times a week  –  filling, healthy and, usually, not have many calories
  • Cut down on processed meats like bacon or sausages  –  unhealthy and full of calories
  • Eat slowly  –  has been shown to cut quantities consumed
  • Portion control  –  Modern portion sizes tend to be huge: often far more food than we need or even want
  • Smaller plates  –  it has been shown that people tend to put more food on larger plates than on small ones
  • Blue plates  –  it is said that people eat less when plates are blue
  • Leave some food on the plate  –  it´s not necessary to finish everything on the plate
  • Second-helpings  –  avoid
  • Eat only when hungry  –  not obliged to sit down and eat just because of the time
  • Eat less while watching TV  –  TV snacks can be nuts, or unsweetened popcorn
  • Cooking for the day stops after supper
  • Breakfast  –   important to have a good healthy breakfast. (Some say not necessary!)
  • No tempting food lying around on the kitchen counter  –  other than a fruit bowl
  • Sleep well and sufficiently  –  studies show that sleep-deprivation leads to weight gain or obesity.
  • Limit alcohol  –  alcohol contains a lot of useless calories, but a drink (or two) a day may (?) be good for you

When Shopping:

  • Healthy lifestyle and junk food

    Avoid the junk food sections of the supermarket!

    Don´t shop while hungry  –  chew gum while you shop

  • Fill front of your trolley with fruit and veg. at the supermarket
  • Avoid the Unhealthy Foods Aisles  –   if possible
  • Take a “healthy” list with you  –  stick to it!
  • Avoid sugary things  –  confectionery, most canned foods

When Eating Out:

(Many of the suggestions relating to food and eating listed under “At Home” also apply to “Eating Out”)

  • Cut restaurant visits  –  if you go to restaurants several times a week,  cut by half
  • Limit fast-food restaurants or take-away joints  –  buy healthier less fattening things
  • Child portions or half-size dishes in restaurants  –  they pile the food high!
  • Part of the food put into doggy bags  –  to take home
  • Avoid “All you can eat” places  –  probably lots of cheap junky food on this menu
  • Avoid self-serve buffets    we are all children again in such places!


See separate section on exercise here.

  • Healthy lifestyle is helped by dancing

    Dance to lose weight. Invite the neighbours!

    Dancing is great exercise

  • Climb stairs
  • “MOVE” – small amounts of movement add up
  • Walking is also great exercise and cheap!  –  Walk an extra 5 minutes a day more, then 10…15…..30 minutes…….
  • Or, walk 1 mile (15 to 20 minutes), jog for 10 minutes
  • Weed the garden, clean the house 20 minutes
  • Walk further and faster  –  as you get fitter, write down your times, count the steps
  • Take the dog for a walk every day  –  pets also often have weight problems!
  • Move during commercial TV breaks  –  skip, dance, run on the spot, walk to bottom of garden
  • Walk for any journeys of a mile or less  –  don´t get the car out. Walk to the shops, carry the groceries home
  • Add mini-strength training
  • Take up yoga ( ancient Hindu mind-body practice,which includes breath control, meditation and adoption of particular body positions)  –  it tends to lead to weight loss for the overweight or obese, for reasons that are not clear.

Images courtesy of:

Header  –  “Walk in the Desert”   –   Cristiano & Sara                         “Dance”   .   Luciana Ruivo

“An Aisle Just for Chips!”   –   Sanjoy Ghosh                                     “Too Much”   –   Chelita