When I was a mother of a newborn, I remember thinking I could eat anything I want. That included iced mochas, pumpkin pie, cookies, whatever.  I was always athletic, but had a healthy appetite for food.  I thought working out gave me the okay to eat whatever I chose. Wrong. My daily iced mocha added up to 350 EMPTY high sugar calories a day. That was an extra pound every week and a half.

My children are now 8 and 5, so I’ve had plenty of time to make every mistake in the book as far as diet and exercise. But I’ve worked to implement many health changes. I’ve gone from eating oatmeal for breakfast to steak and eggs. I no longer pack high calorie expensive “snack bars,” eat peanut butter daily, or eat bread, rice and pasta on a regular basis.  Instead, I’ve changed my diet to a mainly protein, vegetable and healthy fat diet with a few fruits and nuts thrown in for good measure.

This did not happen overnight.  The more I read about health, the more aware of my food choices I became. I started making small changes. Gradually, I gave up the sugary coffee drinks, first.  Diet Soda (for me anyway) went out years ago.  Then, mainly because of hunger, I gave up my daily oatmeal for breakfast.  I would be ravenous by 10:00 am and would eat anything on hand because I was too hungry. Another priority was to eat together every night.  And I edited my weekly exercise plan to include 2-3 days of heavy lifting instead of a 3 mile run (see Let’s Get Some Muscle Mom).

You can change your life.  Small changes over time, really can change your health and your shape.  You could even start with something really simple like giving up the sugar in your coffee.

The following are just a few suggestions of things you can do, right now, to make small changes in your diet and health for the better.

  • Substitute rice for a vegetable at dinner.
  • Instead of cheese and crackers for a snack, have carrots and hummus
  • Ditch the diet soda for bubbly water or Coconut Water.   Check out this article on diet soda.
  • Instead of long, slow distance running, switch it up and do two days of heavy lifting.  Heavy lifting has been shown to be MORE beneficial than any running you could ever do.

What small changes will you make this new year?