Making Small Lifestyle Changes vs. Crash Diets

HomeForumsHealth and FitnessMaking Small Lifestyle Changes vs. Crash Diets

New Reply
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 19 total)
  • Author
  • #30409
    David J. Singer

    Would love to hear success stories from people who slowly made changes, perhaps one at a time until each change became a habit, adding up to many small changes, rather than the crash diets that might work short-term, but tend to not stick.

    Lori Deschene

    I have a mini success story! I haven’t been overweight since I was younger, but for a while, I was completely untoned. In my early twenties, I went to the gym for two hours at a time, and after I stopped that, I got very all-or-nothing about it (which, at various periods of my life, has meant nothing).

    About six months ago, I decided to start doing a few simple exercises every day: 3 sets of squats, 3 sets of lunges, and at a minimum, 100 crunches. It never takes more than 15 minutes, but I’ve done it almost every day since.

    I know I need to incorporate more cardio into my routine, and I’ve yet to make that a habit, but I’m thrilled that I’ve started strengthening my legs and stomach. On a vacation to Hawaii this December I not only felt more comfortable in a bikini than I have in a long time–I also did much better on a three-hour hike than I would have otherwise!

    Maria Brilaki

    Hi David…

    I have actually written about this on Elephant Journal. The biggest challenge for me was to change what I eat and transition from eating out every day to cooking at home.

    There were multiple factors involved in making this change happen including:

    1. Making cooking achieve a “top-of-mind” status.

    2. Making cooking easy.

    3. Creating a system that would actually help me achieve #1, and #2.

    Here is the full story of what that system was about…


    David J. Singer

    Lori, Inspiring story. Thanks!

    Maria, Great article on Elephant Journal. Thanks for pointing me to it. Excellent stuff.

    Best regards,

    Sheila McCann

    The habit that has worked for me by far is to eat food that is real.  Easy.

    My plate should look like I live on a farm from 100 years ago. Easy.

    My plate should also have about 80% plant foods and 20% protein (my first choice is fish then chicken or meat)

    Easy again.

    Now when I eat something that is overly processed I feel sick.

    My kids got used to eating this way and always want there protein over shredded carrots, broccoli slaw or romaine lettuce.

    They will  complain that something tastes too fake if they eat some snack food or cereal etc. other than one from trader joes.

    *I do enjoy treats on occasion and have a small piece of dark chocolate.





    Hi David,

    I’ve dealt with weight, and weight loss my entire life.  Back in September of 2011 I decided enough was enough.  I had spent 44 years of my life eating every kind of food I wanted … most of which left me feeling horrible, looking horrible and pretty much miserable all over.  A few months leading up to this decision, I had already started cutting out certain foods because I finally started listening to my body’s messages.  So what happened was, I learned about glycemic index and the benefits of keeping blood sugar levels balanced.  I am not a diabetic, I do not test my blood sugars, but for some reason, this just made sense.

    I gave up the carbs (breads, rice, pasta) and I also gave up the processed sugars and processed everything.  To nutshell it … I pretty much eat eggs, vegies, nuts, berries and meats.  Though I’m trying to cut back on the meats but I just love me some juicy steak!  In a year I dropped just over 50 pounds.  I slowed the process because I started sabotaging myself with delicious Bailey’s Irish cream and a few other sugary items I just love.  I’m happy to report, I’m back on track to release … melt away … dissolve … the last 19 pounds of unwanted, unneeded fat.

    So with all that, I exercise.  I take kickboxing class twice a week, a weight class once a week (though I’m thinking about adding another) and I recently started spin once a week.   I love the gym, I love to sweat.  And I never regret a class.

    So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 

    On a side note … I am soooooo happy that Tiny Buddha has these new forums!


    I lost 47 pounds following Weight Watchers. It sounds like it could lean toward crash diet territory but the reason it doesn’t is because I did it slowly.  Instead of pushing myself and making sudden changes, I eased into things, learning what swaps I liked (fat free sour cream – yum! fat free cream cheese – gross!) so I could create lasting change. It paid off. After following the plan for two years, I hit my lifetime goal in October 2010. I’ve been at goal ever since.

    Danielle Lynn

    For me, it was just small things – eating a bit less sugar each day, taking the time to walk or jog for 15 minutes – and loving myself as I am at this moment.  (And every moment!)

    I was able to drop about 30 pounds over the span of a year just doing those things.  I’m still traveling the road to health, but it’s a happy route to be on.

    David J. Singer

    I’m so happy I asked this question. What wonderful responses.

    Coincidentally, I read this post today, which just appeared on zenhabits. Relates directly to what a couple of you said.

    “How to Eat Real Food Without Spending Hours in the Kitchen” http://zenhabits.net/fastreal/

    It would be wonderful if more people could have the patience and long-term vision to make small changes. Those changes are sustainable, and then add up to big changes overall. All of my life improvements – from eating well and exercising, to things related to happiness and more – were small changes. 

    Thanks for all the input!

    Maria Brilaki

    Hi David,

    A fantastic book I have read about this subject is The Kaizen Way: One small step can change your life. You might want to check it out.


    David J. Singer

    Thanks so much Maria. 🙂

    Ali Shapiro

    Hey David,

    I love how you framed the question because small steps always add up to big results. And, the body does best when it’s homeostasis, whatever that is in the moment, is changed gradually. I am a health coach that helps people with this all the time.

    I think the biggest ticket for people is to start focusing on how food makes them feel. My clients are always judging things whether they are “good” or “bad” or a package says it’s “good” versus seeing the reaction into the body. Adults learn very differently (my Masters is in coaching/adult development) and must learn from real experience and reflection versus “training”, yet most nutritional advice is given to us like we are little kids in school. Focusing on the experience of food does dramatic things for people’s habits!

    So many people turn to outside validation like eating the right amount of calories or if they are losing weight but the motivation has to come from inside like, “I have more energy today” or “My moods are so much more stable.” That also helps people simplify what food work for them. Everyone really is different.

    Great thread!


    I would just like to thank everyone for their great insights on how small changes have become healthy lifestyles! I have recently began eating foods that only have 9 grams of sugar or less to help me break me lifelong sugar habit. It has only been a week and though I do not see a weight difference (yet), I do feel more calm and my cravings for daily sweets has noticeably lowered. Hopefully once I get my butt moving again then I will see some unwanted pounds disappear 😉


    Hi David!

    I’m new to the forums and love your question about making small lifestyle changes!

    I’m a big believer in consitent action over time which turn into automatic behaviours. I hate diets and execessive exercise! I opt for the gentle approach to myself with things like my health and fitness!

    I’m currently in the process of writing a new healthy eating ebook and I did A LOT of research on nutrition and health.
    I discovered that new habits are formed at about 66 days on average. So anythign we do, including what we eat, needs to be consistent over that period of time before it becomes an automatic behaviour!

    I tried and tested a variety of healthy eating options over the last 6 months and have now incorporated them into my lifestyle! In other words, i don’t have to ‘think’ about reaching for a healthy option, because it’s just automatic! I tried one thing for a few weeks, and slowly introduced other healthy eating options. Basically reducing my intake of processed foods + animal products. And increasing my intake of greens and plant-based foods. Smoothies, juices etc.

    Now they’re all a normal part of my life! And I definitely am so much more aware of what I’m putting into my body and the effect is has.
    I’m not about depriving myself of anything. I believe in moderation and a little indulgence 🙂

    That makes for a happy and healthy lifestyle!

    Shreya Mohanty

    A small change of diets would be a huge result after couple of weeks. As per my knowledge Divine Health Care is very good for them who really wants to lose their weight.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 19 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Please log in OR register.