Taking Small Steps Can Add Up to Big Lifestyle Changes

Healthy Habits

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After having weight loss surgery, being successful can be as much about your mindset and health choices as it can be about your physical surgery recovery.

After losing the initial weight from the surgery, it is important to build healthy habits into your day-to-day life to help keep the weight off. Taking a bunch of small steps can add up to big lifestyle changes.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the American Heart Association (AHA) all recommend a variety of small changes that can help you build healthier habits into your lifestyle. Those include:

  • Avoid combo/value meals at fast food restaurants – Skip the fries in favor of items like fruit and nonfat yogurt, and limit toppings high in fat and cholesterol, such as cheese, bacon, mayonnaise, dressings and tartar sauce.
  • Always have breakfast – Try healthy, low-fat options, including oatmeal with fresh fruit, Greek yogurt mixed with fruit, or whole wheat toast with a real fruit spread.
  • Check nutrition labels – Choose foods that are high in calcium, fiber, protein, and potassium. Also look for items low in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium.
  • Drink plenty of water – Skip water with added flavoring or carbonation and pass on soda and juice. Drinking water is always a healthy choice.
  • Eat the rainbow – Plan for half of every plate of food you eat to be filled with fruits and vegetables – the more colorful, the better. For example, red could include cherries, bell peppers, strawberries or tomatoes; green can include kale, spinach, zucchini and broccoli; and blue and purple could be covered by grapes, purple cabbage, and plums.
  • Keep a food diary – Track everything you eat daily. After a few days or a week, use the diary to reevaluate what you eat. What are the least healthy food choices you have made? What time of day are you most likely to make unhealthy food choices?
  • Pack your lunch – Planning ahead and having something healthy already with you makes it easier to avoid the temptation of eating out.
  • Plan for your triggers – Keep track of times or places where you tend to have the worst eating habits, and plan ahead for potential solutions. For example, if you are likely to over indulge at a party, eat something healthy before you go so you’re less tempted during the party.
  • Stay away from empty calories– Avoid snacking on chips, cookies and candies. Choose an alternative, such as pre-cut veggies or fruit.
  • Stay positive – Having a visual reminder of your goals can be a great motivator. Post a list or pictures of your goals on your fridge or desk to help you keep them in mind throughout the day.
  • Step it up – Every step counts, so getting in even a few extras can end up being a big help. Park farther away at the grocery store. Take an extra lap around the mall before leaving. Choose the stairs instead of the elevator. Get off the couch during every TV commercial and walk or run laps around your living room.
  • Watch out for bad habits – Over time, it can be easy to develop unhealthy eating habits that you need to walk away from. Those could include eating too fast, eating while standing up, and eating when you're not hungry.
  • Watch your portions – Using a smaller plate is a great way to help you cut portion sizes. Weighing food items also can help you to get used to what a correct portion looks like.
  • Weigh yourself often – Keeping an eye on your weight can help you stick to your goal.

Making big lifestyle changes – like losing weight and keeping it off – can be less overwhelming if you take small steps like these to help you get there. 

For more information about small steps to help with weigh loss, talk with your doctor or visit  Premier Health to find a physician.

It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.