5 Small Changes for Healthier Living

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Chris and I talk with “The List” about small changes that can greatly improve and inspire healthier living. Here are 5 simple steps you can do to improving your health today. Which one do you think will be your biggest challenge? Which are you already doing? Let me know in the comments below!

1. SMART GOAL – Make it, Write it, Declare it, Achieve it.
2. MOVE for 5 minutes everyday (even if it’s just marching in place on commercial breaks).
3. EAT breakfast to get your metabolism revved up for the day.
4. REDUCE sugar – you don’t have to go cold turkey simply avoid the obvious when possible.
5. HYDRATE to curb cravings and monitor hunger. Start with a goal to drink a quart of water a day, then increase to a gallon.

109 Responses

  1. Heidi I’ve started about 2 weeks, I started with power plate 3days per week and I feel so much better and active πŸ˜‰ thanks to you and your husband I got motivated and you inspired me! Season after season of extreme weightloss I’ve seen…i decided to start small and I’ve decided do exercise everyday πŸ˜‰ Thank You very very much πŸ˜‰

  2. Hi We meet all 5 points and even the scales and the volume of the thighs example is not mine. I have 2 birth after three years and yet I have a bulging belly in the navel area. About a month cvicim podstivo every day Chris’s Level 3 + more + exercises for belly thighs. I have a normal weight (163/57 kg) but nevertheless would like to be slimmer (3-4 kg) and have a firmer body or the look and even touch: O)
    I love water and drink two to three liters a day to read but also love sweet morning but only a maximum of lunch. Water from lemons and Breakfast is my everyday beginning to bottom since childhood.
    Advised me to have a brother or so of my body wants me as I am?

  3. Hi Chris and Heidi, I am a happily married 39 yr old stay at home mom of three children! Before my daughter was born, which she is the oldest, I was on weight watchers. I had lost close to 25 pounds! After the diet, I weighed between 135 and 140! Then I had my oldest son! After he was born I had maintained a decent weight. Then I had my second son last January! I had lost a lot of weight after him ( baby weight and water weight). But now I am having a hard time getting back to the weight I was confortable at which was when I was on the weight watchers diet. ( 135-140). According to my doctor I am a bit over weight. He is concerned with type 2 diabetes. My mom was a diabetic when she was alive. She passed three years ago from pre existing liver condition. I would love to lose weight again. I have a major sweet tooth and I snack at night alot. I have that determination in my heart to live a more healthier life style but I need more support and a push from some expert trainers that can help me and I watch your show all the time and I wish I could recieve your help because you both ha e such a love and devotion in helping people reach their personal goals. It is so nice to know that there are people out there like ypurselves to call apon. Thank you! Missy

    1. Hi Missy: Help is on the way! Chris and Heidi have made their carb cycling program – the same program they use on the show – available for all of us to use in their book, “Choose More, Lose More for Life.” The book contains their complete nutrition and exercise program, and it will teach you everything you need to know and do to achieve your own transformation! Learn about the nutrition basics here: https://heidipowell.net/2713/carb-cycling-101/. You can do this!

  4. Eating breakfast is the hardest thing for me to do. Judy can’t seem to make myself eat and be hungry in the am. I drink shakes for breakfast supplements but I feel like nothing would work as well as actual food to boost metabolism. I do all of the other steps as a normal par of my life, not part of a plan just normal and then other things as part of my plan. I’m a pretty healthy person with a highlight in good nutrition but here’s always room to improve.

  5. Hi, I’ve have been doing the turbo cycling . I do my reward day day on Saturday instead of Sunday. Do I do a high carb on sunday? I do LC LC HC LC LC REWARD then what LC OR HC….help πŸ™‚ thank you!

    1. I have the same question! I would think High since you’ll be following it with 2 lows on Mon. & Tues.

  6. I have been wanting to ask – you advocate eating breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up. My schedule requires my primary workout time to be in the morning. Running is my exercise of choice and I absolutely cannot eat before I run. Will I screw up this jump starting my metabolism (I have hypothyroidism so I need all the help I can get!!) if I wait to eat breakfast until after my run. Thank you so very much for any thoughts/advise you can offer.

  7. Yay!! I have started 4 out of 5!! I just need to do Number 1 and keep going with the others. Thanks so much for your tips. I have a long way to go but I am determined!

  8. I do all the steps you have listed but I’m at a point where I can’t seem to lose any more weight. I lost 176.lbs on another plan then gained back 46 lbs. When we moved to Hawaii by not remembering how I got fat in the first place (I didn’t want to offend anyone in my new home). I try to stay active & keep my calories at 1200 a day. I tried carb cycling but I couldn’t eat the amount of vegetables required. I don’t want to give up. I only have 75 lbs to go to reach my goal. What can I do?

  9. Hi. Absolutely love your show. My son and I watch it together. I am under a lot of stress. I am a full time caregiver for my mom with no help. I started last week with dropping pop and no snacking at night unless it’s a piece of fruit. Have a long way to go. Always used food as a comfort but am really trying to stop.

  10. I am doing all five. I am dedicated to eating healthy and working out everyday. My body is a temple. I must treat it with care.

  11. Hi, love watching you and hubby work together with a client,its very inspiring to see how you both appeal to their needs in your own ways to achieve their goals.I do the things you suggest here but I can’t get my weight to budge…I’m a stroke survivor of 13 years,had it whenI was 43,no symptoms,not over weight then,wore a size 4,I am 5’2 1/2,I have never smoked,no high blood pressure no high cholesterol,nothing,mine was from a migraine headache.I went into the hospital one day having had a stroke and the day before I was doing things for my family and redoing a store front for the opening of my new antique store,life was good I was pretty and my body was good,next day Im paralyzed and can’t walk to the bathroom alone,I was hospitalized 3 months and on a diet that consisted of mostly carbs and was put on steroids to keep my brain from swelling.I left there weighing as much as I did when I was pregnant with my twins.Its been 13 years I go up and down and can’t get these last 25 pounds off,I take a lot of meds,mostly walk, permanent loss of strength in left arm and hand,can’t do a lot of exercises cause of weak left side.Love to know what to do I have come so far,I learned to walk and function again but I can’t get this weight off and I feel trapped in this stupid body,Im 57 now and I wanted to wear a two piece one more time in my life,my grand daughter is everything to me and I take her to the pool,she says come on MIMI put on the cute suit,I just can’t,but I want to do it for her,for my husband,hell for me…

    1. Hi Laree: Are you familiar with Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program? It’s their complete nutrition and exercise program, and it’s the same one they use on the show. You can find it in their book, “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” and it can work no matter how many pounds you’d like to lose. You can learn about the nutrition basics here: https://heidipowell.net/2713/carb-cycling-101/. As with any nutrition and exercise program, it’s best to work with your healthcare team to put together a plan with any necessary modifications for your health issues. You can do this!

  12. Going to try these rules and take the steps to do something everyday. This is something I can use with my husband. Thanks guys god bless Heidi Wise

  13. Great tip on hydration, really struggle to get up to a gallon but this tip is the perfect idea. Thank you x

  14. Good morning –
    These are great tips. I have made some significant changes this year and dropped 70lbs since April 2012! You guys are amazing and I love watching you every week on Extreme Weight Loss. I cry all the time! LOL

  15. I have to ask… what do you think of artificial sweeteners? Limiting sugar is fine, I just like it in my coffee πŸ™‚

    1. Andrea, the artificial sweeteners are better than refined white sugar but it’s still best to go with natural sweeteners like Stevia.

  16. I always have a problem eating breakfast and when I do it usually isn’t very healthy. Need to do this more often.

  17. It’s the simple things that we tend to forget from time to time. These 5 steps are basic and should be easy once you get them in your routine!! Thanks for the reminder…. I have to go now and write down my goals!!! You both are so Great!! Keep up the Wonderful job!!


  19. Ive cut out the sugar but find eatinh 5x a day difficult to stick to. Your blogs and tips are are extremely helpful and motivating

  20. My next goal was to eat breakfast. I had never worked breakfast into my schedule so I just never ate it. To make it fit into my schedule and to make having breakfast easier I drink a liquid breakfast. And now I’m in the habit of having something for breakfast. I do from time to time actually eat food but it took having a liquid breakfast to even get me to the point of eating breakfast.

    My last goal that I worked on during July was to stop drinking soda and juices. It has been 33 days since I had a soda. I recently tasted an all natural Oogave soda (only 6 ingredients) and while it tasted good, it was too sweet for me. I’m addicted to water!

  21. My first goal was to drink more water. When I started drinking more water I then made a second goal to walk. Setting realistic goals that I know I can keep because I’m already doing a version of it is very helpful!

  22. The reducing of sugar. I never know how much sugar is too much or too little. Even though some choices are pretty obvious.

  23. My wife and I have made vision boards that are based on our SMART goals that we have created for ourselves.

  24. Thank you for the inspiration!! I have been following this advice and eating small meals 5xday and have lost 60lbs in the past 5 months. Nothing has worked this well for me ever. And I don’t ever remember feeling this good about being able to maintain a lifestyle change. You have both been a blessing to me.

  25. I think reducing sugar will be the biggest challenge. I really feel like sugar is an addiction for me, not just sweets but pasta and bread. Watching the episode this week with the eating disorder and watching Chris torcher himself with the bad food really has started to make me thing about how my body is reacting to the junk I am throwing in it. I am definitely moving everyday, mostly forced as the pregnancy makes me sleepy all day long. I also eat breakfast every single morning!

  26. I watch extreme weight loss and you two are so inspiring. Every time an episode ends it just motivates me to get off the couch and get moving! Its hard to keep that motivation alive when I don’t have someone like you or chris to push me. Surprisingly these five things seem simple enough for me to do on my own and a good step to living a healthy lifestyle. Thanks for the great advise Heidi!

  27. I’ve just started focusing on #5 – Hydrating. Taking note of how much water I’m drinking by use of my Brita pitcher. If it’s empty at the end of the day, I’ve done well!

  28. I LOVE this list!! I totally needed to see this! I’m pretty good at drinking tons of water everyday and eating breakfast but definitely struggle with the sugar! Definitely a weakness of mine! One day I will figure out how to conquer it! haha! Tomorrow starts a new week for me (I weigh in every Friday) and so I’m going to use this list to help me this next week! Thanks for this!

  29. Thanks for the awesome tips! I have the moving down pat walking 5km+ each day but I need to work on eating breakfast more often

  30. The sugar one is so hard! It’s in so much. I am trying to just stay away from anything processed.

  31. Love that you guys make the transition into a healthier lifestyle small and attainable for people that are new to it!

  32. I have been drinking a gallon of water a day for the last few months and I can’t believe the difference it makes. Now, I just need to get better at eating breakfast.

  33. I really love the show it shows how weak your mind can be but it can be over come wich I need to learn. My friend never seen the show so her and her hubby are hooked. We are loyal to watching but as a family we need guidence. Thank you for showing that its not to late even at turning 50 lol

  34. This breaks it down so it’s manageable and easy. I love what the both of you do to motivate people and help them change their lives. So inspiring! Keep it up πŸ™‚

  35. Watching extreme makeover and biggest loser have changed my life to the point that I want to be a nutritionist and personal trainer. I am only 18 but have learned so much. These five steps not only help physically for yor wasteband but help in the long run because your life will never be the same after taking these first steps.

  36. Chris is so right! I loss 20+ lbs by dropping the sugar, and hydrating. I already had the eating breakfast, and goal part.. I just didn’t see quit result when I included sugar and little water.. After I dropped those, I saw the changes! πŸ˜€

  37. Eating Breakfast is my hardest part! I go to bed late, wake up early and rush out the door! I need to focus on that more often. That, and drinking water! I’m really bad at that as well. You and Chris are such motivations to so many people!

  38. I am on the right path, except number one, I seem to have issues bringing the goals out of my mind. I always seem to self-sabotage or jinx them when I do.

  39. I am trying to reduce sugar and drinks lots of water. I have 2 bad knees so it’s hard to exercise but I do lift 3 lb weights for an upper body workout.

  40. I suppose if I can’t come live with you and Chris for a year, this would be a great way to start! Thanks Heidi!!

  41. I love these!! Trying my best to cut back on the sugar, even though ice cream is one of my favorite things!! I defiantly need to try the increased water intake however, for how much I workout I know I don’t drink nearly enough. Love this post, thank you for helping me improve the area I’ve been struggling at most; good clean nutrition.

  42. Thanks for these tips!! I want to lose 30 lbs in the next 3 months, tip one complete πŸ™‚ Now I need to go get some more water and walk around my house for a bit.

  43. Nice, easy, manageable goals. I’ll be sharing this list with friends and family who are looking for a good place to start!

  44. What a great simple way to start weight loss and improve your health! I used to work out alot but I could never get my eating habits right. I hope to win the book and use these 5 goals on a daily basis to learn the right way to do it! I’m going to write my goals down now! Thanks!!!!

  45. Simple things,…makes the day to day manageable. And then it’s not conquering the world all at once,..it’s one thing at a time. THank you πŸ™‚

  46. Thank you for boosting my motivation! When I’m in need of some motivation, I can come here, & hear honest, personal testimonies from a woman who knows what she’s talking about! When I need a push, here you are. lol Thanks. Reeeeeallly. :))


  47. I agree with all of your ideas and helpful tools for life! I am in my 20’s and know that sometimes hitting the snooze button a couple of times will result in skipping breakfast. After watching your show I started to eat breakfast more often and found that it really does jump start your day. I have more energy and find that I crave healthier foods. I am also a nurse and did a project on overweight nurses and how to turn ourselves into better role models for our patients and one of my points I made was your #5 tool. It is proven that our stomach will make noises and our bodies will think we are hungry however in reality we are just dehydrated. Thank you for being such a great support system for many people and know that even though we don’t know you personally you seem like family and a coach for most!

  48. Such a simple list, but will HUGE results! πŸ™‚ 1-5 are points I am sure to follow in my own life. I can attest that #5 made a HUGE difference for me. I used to never drink water, but now I always carry a bottle with me and refill SO MANY times throughout the day. I’ve realized that I used to just be thirsty, not hungry, all the time. Who knew πŸ˜‰

  49. Love these tips! My goal this year was to cut out soda, and I’m 8 months into the year without a drop! Feel great!

  50. Believe it or not #1 is the hardest thing for me! I have made it, wrote it, and declared it before but never achieved it. So the fear of not achieving it is rooted deep. I move for atleast 5 minutes EVERYDAY either by walking the dog, running, skating or weight lifting. I eat breakfast religiously. Always oatmeal or a bagel. I have cut ALOT of sugar out since I found out I was diabetic in November 2011 and have even been taken off of my medication because I did so well and my sugars are controlled. Only just recently have I started drinking a half a gallon of water daily and working towards the goal of a gallon. So, back to #1. I am making it, writing down not only on here but its on my fridge, I am declaring it and I vow to achieve it: Get into a bathing suit and feel confident in it by next summer! AND if this happens, the people I call My Esteem Team will take me to the beach to have some fun! Thanks for all the advice and inspirations! Let’s do this!

  51. I have been trying to lose weight for the last year being a single mom makes it hard I work two jobs and attend college. I’m gonna try these tips I move along all day eating breakfast in the morning is always my downfall

  52. I agree with both of the comments below. Number one will be hard for me because of the fear of failure. I have been on a yoyo of weight gain a loss for the past 2 years, ever since I had my last child and before that a large gain. One of my questions is that is it really only 5 min that will help? I have read other books and plan to you get yours, but in one of my other books it states that the first 15 min of working out is the most important because that is where you get the most benefit. Is that true?

  53. I love the helpful information and I love extreme makeover because you let the participant know it is up to themselves to work hard and you can reach your goals.

  54. 2,3,4&5. I do everyday without fail. Only on 2 i make sure to get a full hour of movement if i cant get my daily routine in.

  55. For me, it’s knowing this is for life. I’m in the flow right now, but I also know that I can fall of the wagon. It’s keeping myself motivated to be strict with food. Exercising isn’t the problem.

  56. #1 Is my biggest challenge. #2 I’ve got down. I’m training for a marathon, so I run 5 days a week and walk 1 day a week.

  57. I think you both are awesome and genuinely care about the well beings of others….thank you for all you do to make a difference!really going to try the 5 small changes:) HAVE A GREAT DAY!!!!

  58. I have just turned 41 and I have never been the workout type of girl but recently I was with a friend and trying on clothes in a change room and looked at myself and didn’t like what I saw. so I made a promise to myself and wanted to change the way I looked so 2 weeks past and I have lost 11 pounds and 2 inches . I did everything on the list and yes it works! didn’t even know there was a list.. lol

  59. I’m 65 workout three times a week and one of those days is with my personal trainer, who kicks my butt. I’m lacking on my cardio, but walk one to three times a week with my husband and cut the grass once a week which takes me 1 1/2 hours.
    I try to be aware of eating healthy and with all this I have that big belly thing which you can’t miss. I am dealing with celiac disease and so some of there foods are high in calories.
    Love watching the show but would love to know if there are any suggestions you would make.

  60. -SEEKING YOUR HELP. Need to lose another 200 lbs

    Hi Heidi,

    My name is Rob Graulau and I am a huge fan of you and Chris. I originally learned about Chris from his work with David on the 650 lb virgin. I can relate because I too was 650 lbs however due to some injuries I have been stuck the last 2 years. I got down to 470 lbs but I have been stuck. I don’t know if you ever do any virtual meetings but I would be grateful for any advice. I have a herniated disc in my neck and I hurt my knees. I am a motivated guy but this has really slowed me down. I have been tracking my progress via my own VLOG at robgweightloss.com. I would love for you to check it out and if you have any time I would be grateful to hear back from you. You and Chris are an inspiration and I THANK YOU for all the good you do each and every day! πŸ™‚



  61. Since April 2013 I have made and done all of the changes listed above in my life. It has paid off. I’ve lost 76 pounds since April 1. I feel better, I’m wearing smaller clothes, I went from zero exercise to about 2-3 hours a day. I hired a personal trainer, I eat clean (mostly – still have the occasional cheat meal not day) and am drinking close if not over a gallon of water a day. I watch your show every week and become inspired all over again to keep at it and am reminded that this is a minute by minute journey.

  62. I do all of them already except for #3. I have the hardest time remembering to eat breakfast. On about 2/3 of my days, I’m lucky if I eat for the first time by the time it should be lunch time. Not a good thing, I know. Been really trying to fix that.

  63. I’m to old now to loss weight (don’t think I haven’t tried). At this time of my life I will lose weight when I die I guess.

  64. Really will I benefit from 5 minutes? I can’t do much more then that so I don’t do anything. I have been doing low carb for 30 days and have only fallen off three times. I feel a lot better but don’t have a scale. I do have doc. appointment next week I am excited to get blood work and advice from him. I just got onto Medicare so now I can take better care of myself. Also want to take this opportunity to say what wonderful human being the both of you are. Your sincere caring means so much to those of us that feel helpless. Thank you.

  65. I think number one will be my hardest. I’ve tried almost all my life to lose weight and always fail, or at least never reach my goal. So I don’t share it anymore in case I fail again. Even though I’m determined not to fail this time. I already do numbers 3, 4, and 5, since April when I started using the information in “Choose to Lose”, then bought “Choose More, Lose More” as soon as it came out. Number 2 I’m just coming to terms with, it’s never been something I’ve been good at doing consistently. I did just get your boot camp dvd and will start it tomorrow. I have lost 20# so far using your plan, and have 54#s to go. Thank you for all your help and inspiration.

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