Shedding pounds doesn’t always require a radical overhaul. Adding one little something to your everyday routineor subtracting one small thingcan transform your body and help you lose weight. And this kind of tweak is more likely to lead to lasting results, according to Brian Wansink, PhD, author of Mindless Eating.
“The thing about small changes is that they happen every single day and tend not to fall prey to the tyranny of the moment,” Wansink says. Also, one positive habit often leads to another, so a minor adjustment has a ripple effect. Just ask these womenthey lost a total of 207 pounds.
She added a lunchtime walk
Colleen Bohn, 40, administrative assistant
She went from: 222 to 169
What she lost: 53 lbs
Her no-diet solution: “I started walking during my lunch hour. By exercising during my workday, I didn’t give myself the chance to go home, get comfortable, and then blow off the gym. All I had to do was change my clothes, grab my iPod and go!
Another bonus: The last thing I wanted after walking was a fatty lunch, so I started grabbing Lean Pockets instead. After 10 months of pounding the pavement, I dropped 53 pounds. I vary my route now to keep things interesting. But I still walk by myself, every day, rain or shine.
Why it adds up: “It’s so important to integrate exercise into your day, like Colleen did,” says Beth Lewis, PhD, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota’s School of Kinesiology and a specialist in exercise psychology and motivation strategies.
“The walk itself can become very reinforcing because it offers a welcome break from work. And many people find it helpful to exercise at the same time every day, because then it becomes a habit.” Walking is an ideal option for newbie athletes like Colleen, she adds, “because it’s convenient and doesn’t require any special equipment or cost anything.”