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Sharp Health News

6 healthy lifestyle changes for long-term results

April 12, 2022

Woman eating avocado toast

Sandy Younan, MBA, RDN, is a dietitian in the Sharp Coronado Hospital Nutrition Counseling Program.

Are you trying to reach your health goals but not sure how to do so? The first place most of us go for information is the internet. While there is a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips, you will also find that there are many diet myths. It can be hard to sift through all the information and figure out what is accurate and, more importantly, what is not.

There are many diets that claim to be healthy or the best option to help you reach your goals. Often, the fad diets you hear your friends discussing or read about online are not actually healthy and might produce short-term results rather than long-term health benefits. They may even be harmful.

If you want to reach your health goals and get long-term results, aim for making these six lifestyle changes that are realistic and achievable:

  1. Eat your protein. Protein aids with fullness. Oftentimes, people overeat other foods because they are not full or do not have enough protein in their diet.
  2. Don’t skip carbs. There is a big misconception that carbs cause weight gain or are “bad” for you; however, carbohydrates are the brain’s primary source of fuel and are an important part of a balanced diet. When you follow portion-size recommendations, you can reach your health goals, whether they are related to losing weight, maintaining blood sugar levels or having a balanced diet. Try to include at least 3 servings per day and choose whole-grain sources because they are higher in fiber.
  3. Add more fruits and vegetables to increase fiber and fullness. Covering half of your plate in fruits and veggies will help you increase your fiber intake, which will increase your fullness and keep you feeling satisfied for longer. This can help you lose weight, consume more vitamins and minerals, and aid in achieving a more balanced meal.
  4. Eat 5 to 6 small meals or snacks daily. You can do this by adding 2 to 3 snacks daily between your 3 primary meals that are a combination of a carb, fruit or veggie, and a protein. This will increase fullness, which can reduce overeating at the next meal. Naturally, you will feel more satisfied, and therefore have smaller portions at mealtime.
  5. Make it easy. If it isn’t convenient, reaching your health goals can become more challenging. Have snacks that are easy to prepare or ready to go, such as a banana and peanut butter or an apple with string cheese. Also, if you don’t have time to prepare meals, cook several servings of a dish on Sunday and eat it for lunch the rest of the week. Plan ahead by having ingredients on hand to make a few of your favorite quick and easy recipes.
  6. Make one change at a time. If you focus on too many diet and lifestyle changes at the same time, it can be difficult to keep up with them all, especially when you are busy. Focus on one small change at a time, master that by making it into a new habit — it takes about 21 days to form a new habit — and then pick your next small change. That is the secret to getting long-term results that last.

If you have questions or concerns about your diet or overall health, talk with your doctor or a registered dietitian nutritionist. Together, you can come up with a plan to meet your unique needs. I wish you luck in reaching all your health goals!

Learn more about how Sharp can help you meet your nutritional needs for a healthy lifestyle.

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