Small Changes, Big Results: A 12-Week Action Plan to a Better Life
Authors: Krieger, Ellie & Krieger, Ellie & James-Enger, Kelly
Synopsis: An easy-to-start, simple-to-maintain, scientifically sound, and eminently usable twelve-week program of small steps on the road to better health
Small Changes, Big Results is not about cutting all the carbohydrates out of your diet. Or replacing every single gram of sugar with omega-3 fatty acids. It’s not about doing one hundred sit-ups a day, or getting on the treadmill whenever you have a free second. In fact, it’s not about any of the total lifestyle-replacement gimmicks—whether diet, exercise, or pop psychology—that have swept our culture in recent years, putting untold millions of Americans on the risky roller coaster of success and failure that defines fad diets and programs.
Small Changes, Big Results is about reality—the reality of what you can do, the reality of what you want to do, and the reality of what works. It’s about introducing a series of small changes each week for three months in the three core areas of diet and nutrition; exercise and fitness; and emotional wellness. For each of the twelve weeks, nutritionist Ellie Krieger introduces a very finite, completely practical action plan for the week—and not only are these tasks incredibly doable, they’re in fact so accessible that it’s tough not to be inspired.
For example, in Week 1 the nutrition task is merely to go shopping, buy some healthful pantry items, and start keeping track of what you eat; the exercise consists of taking three twenty-minute walks; and the wellness aspect is to do a five-minute breathing exercise. That’s it. And it doesn’t really get any harder.
But these small changes do in fact lead to big results. At the end of twelve weeks, a totally unhealthy diet has been overhauled: armed with easy, delicious recipes and tips, you’ve removed unhelpful munchies and replaced them with healthful snacking, you’ve cut down on lethal trans fats while adding beneficial fat choices, you’ve replaced refined grains with whole grains, you’re eating more fish and less red meat, and so forth. Yet you’ve never been forbidden to eat a single thing: instead of prohibiting entire food groups, Ellie categorizes foods as Usually, Sometimes, and Rarely—and now you should be eating more from the Usually choices, less from the Rarely category. Furthermore, you’ve integrated physical activity into your life, and you’ve developed a set of tools to help you deal with stress—you’re not only eating better, but you’re also exercising better and feeling better.
The beauty of this program is that none of these action steps is remotely intimidating, because they’re not a full immersion into a totally new lifestyle. Instead, it’s a series of incremental changes—removing bad habits one by one, while at the same time adding good ones. There’s nothing to scare you off—on the contrary, here’s a whole book full of small changes that produce big results.