Small lifestyle changes can lead to long-term success

Tobie Blanchard  |  1/5/2018 4:45:01 PM

(01/06/18) BATON ROUGE, La. — At the start of a new year many people resolve to make big lifestyle changes, but an LSU AgCenter nutrition specialist said it’s the small changes that are more likely to lead to long-term success.

Elizabeth Gollub intends to apply the idea of small changes to the current eating and physical activity routines of Louisianans to help shape healthier habits.

This approach is based on the mindset that we don’t need to completely upset our established routines, Gollub said.

“It’s OK to start by making teeny tiny changes to our diet and daily activities — changes that don’t require daily tracking or measuring — and this is what makes them so manageable over the long-term,” she said.

According to Gollub, these tiny changes eventually become a new normal and starting point from which healthier habits can continue to evolve.

“Over several years this could make a big difference,” Gollub said.

Gollub would like to see Louisianans place more emphasis on vegetables. “We say fruits and vegetables, but we should start thinking in terms of vegetables and fruits,” she said.

One small-change approach to consuming more vegetables is to add more vegetables to soups or casseroles once a week. She said this is a tiny change and a great first step.

This same approach can be used to increase physical activity.

“Begin with five minutes each week of a physical activity that you enjoy. Then, as it becomes routine, begin to increase the minutes or add a new activity,” she said.

Gollub, an assistant professor in the AgCenter School of Nutrition and Food Sciences and a registered dietitian, joined the AgCenter in September. Prior to that, she worked at Pennington Biomedical Research Center as a lead evaluator and project manager in the division of Population and Public Health Sciences.

Gollub is working on several grants that involve nutrition and public and community health. She is in the third year of a grant with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health. She is trying to determine if individuals who join on-line fitness challenges and participate in health promotion activities remain active and healthier after the program ends.

She also is working with the Louisiana Department of Education through a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant that involves culinary training for school cafeteria staff, implementation of smarter lunchrooms and introduction of classroom nutrition curriculums to improve the school nutrition environment.

Elizabeth Gollub 2017.jpg thumbnail

Elizabeth Gollub

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