15 Small Changes That Can Make a Big Difference to Your Health


Getting healthy and/or losing weight doesn’t mean you have to make lots of huge changes all at once. Just making a few changes, one at a time, like the ones below can make a big difference.

15 small changes


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I tried so many crazy diets over the years, all of which meant making huge changes that left me feeling so overwhelmed. If you change too much at once, you are more likely to give up. So, instead, try making one change at a time and you are more likely to stay on track. These are some of the changes I made in the beginning.

1. Read the ingredients on all the food you buy.

In the beginning, this might take a little while to check everything that you buy. But as time goes on and you start eating less processed food, you won’t have so many things to check. Just take a quick look at the ingredients list to see what is in the food you are eating. As I general rule, I avoid anything that has a really long list and anything artificial in it like sweeteners. If you have a bit of extra time, try Googling some of the ingredients to see what they are. Some of them might surprise/scare you.

2. Drink more water.

You have probably heard this one a lot before, but that’s because it is so important. Staying hydrated is really important to being healthy, but it can also really help with bloating. If you find it difficult to drink plain water, try adding some mint and cucumber to it or some lemon and lime slices to liven it up a bit. There is no certain amount you should drink, as everyone is different depending on their activity levels, so listen to your body. Make sure you don’t drink too much though, as that can be damaging.

3. Be grateful.

This is one for your mental health, but that can have a big impact on your physical health too. If you spend all day thinking about everything that you don’t have or everything you are not, then that is going to make for a pretty stressful life. You will also miss out on appreciating all the amazing things you do have in your life. So, each night before you go to bed, think about one thing that you are grateful for. If might be nice to write them down and keep them in a jar to look at at the end of the year, or when you are having a bad day.

4. Don’t skip meals.

Whilst you might think that skipping a meal means you are eating less and therefore being healthier, it doesn’t work out like that. Eating regular meals keeps your blood sugar levels stable, which means you are less likely to have a sugar crash and then make an unhealthy choice. Eating regular meals also means you are eating enough, which IS important to health and weight loss.

5. Fit in a small workout.

Most people skip workouts because they think they just don’t have the time. Whilst a lot of people have more time than they think (it comes down to making priorities and cutting back on things that are not as important), I also appreciate that a lot of people don’t have time to do an hours workout 5 days a week. You don’t have to! Doing a 10 minute workout can also make a difference and it is better than no workout at all. Make the most out of the time and do something high intensity if you can. If you can’t do a full 10 minutes, just fit in some squats, push-ups and jumping jacks throughout your day.

6. Write out a plan for the week.

I find that writing out a plan on a Sunday night for the week ahead really helps me to stay on track, especially with my workouts. I schedule them in, just like I would any other appointment and I stick to them. With my eating, I plan out most of my meal, but I still allow room for some flexibility, as sometimes I have a craving for a different type of meal.

7. Keep track of what you are eating.

I know this doesn’t work for everyone, but it really worked for me. Knowing that I had to write down what I was eating helped me to make better choices and looking back at my week’s eating at the end of the week helped me to see where I went wrong, or where I went right. It’s also really surprising to see sometimes just how much you are eating. I never thought I ate that much when I was overweight, but seeing it all written down was a shock.

8. Make more meals yourself.

I used to live off ready meals or takeaway or those ravioli in a tin things. When I decided that I needed to totally overhaul my eating habits, cooking more meals myself was the first thing on the list. I decided to start slow and just make all my breakfasts myself, rather than getting something at the University cafe (oh how I miss those giant breakfast sandwiches). After that, I moved on to lunches and then dinners. This way, you have total control on what goes in to your food and how big the portions are too.

9. Eat more colourful foods.

Have you ever noticed that most foods that are bad for you, or that should be limited, are usually white or grey? Some of the best foods in the world for you are bright in colour. So try to eat the rainbow – no, that doesn’t mean Skittles. Try adding more green, purple, orange and red foods to your diet for a health boost.

10. Stop talking to yourself negatively.

Do you find yourself using words like fat or stupid when talking about yourself? Well, STOP IT! These kinds of words are bad for your self image and you should be working on a positive body image. Instead of focusing on negative things or the things you don’t like about yourself, focus on the positive, and how proud you are of yourself for working on the things you want to change.

11. Sign up for an event.

If you are trying to improve your fitness levels, then signing up for an event like a race can be really good motivation. It will give you a date to aim towards and you can schedule your training round it too. Perhaps sign up with a group of friends and you can train together and give each other support and motivation.

12. Don’t drink your calories.

Oh how I love those sugary drinks from Starbucks. I used to drink one every morning during my first lecture at uni and not only was I spending a fortune, but I was using about 500+ calories each time on just a drink. So, I swapped them for normal coffee with a splash of milk and saved my calories for food instead. Even though at the time I was still eating junk, I was having 500 calories a day less by cutting back on those drinks.

13. Try some new foods.

I often hear people say that healthy eating is boring and my reply to that is usually that they are not trying enough new things. The great thing about supermarkets now, is that they usually stock loads of amazing produce from around the world. Take a look at the fruit and vegetables and buy something you have not heard of before. Also, try a new herb or spice. Trying new things can make healthy eating much more exciting and you are more likely to stick to it.

14. Get a pedometer.

This was actually one of the first things I did when I started exercising. Walking was the only thing I was able to do, which is fine for a beginner, as it is a really good workout. I tracked my steps every day and aimed to do 10,000 a day. It became a little competition with myself. I wanted to reach that goal, even beat it, every day, so I would do things like take the stairs instead of the lift or get off the bus a stop or two early, just to get my steps in. I swear that made the biggest difference in the beginning.

15. Stop thinking of it as a diet.

This is as simple as changing your mindset. Well, I guess not really simple after years of the media shoving diets down our throats. But seeing it as a healthy lifestyle, that will have ups and downs, rather than a restrictive diet that you can fail at, will really make a difference. There is no failing on a healthy lifestyle. You will have off days/weeks/months, but as long as you always pick yourself up, you have never failed.

This week’s Little Change in my AXA PPP healthcare 52 Little Things challenge is to show someone you care. I think that one of the most important things is to love yourself and care for yourself by making little changes to your health. If you want to show someone that you care, share this article with them so that they can make small changes to their health too.



What small changes have you made that have made a big difference? Leave a comment below.

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  1. says

    So many great tips to make a difference and be healthy. I love the idea of having a meal plan for the week. So often I have gone shopping and come back with loads of stuff but not enough for a weeks menu. Then every time I pop in to a supermarket – I end up buying more stuff or even easy unhealthy meals as I am running late.

  2. says

    These are great!! It’s amazing how common it is for people to skip meals to lose weight. I don’t know how they even manage! And yes to colourful foods :-)

  3. says

    Great tips, I’m definitely with you on those, I know I’l be using the pedometer function on my fit bit once the baby has come and I’m starting to increase my exercise again. Planning is a huge one for me as well, it makes such a big difference.

  4. says

    The first produce thing I tried that was new was a golden beet. I had never heard of that before. I’ve seen regular beets, but not a golden beat. It was on sale and on a whim, I bought it. Then, I looked up what the hell to do with a golden beet and found this awesome recipe with balsamic vinaigrette. It was amazing and I was forever changed. Now, I look out for new produce to just buy and figure it out later.

  5. says

    Great tips and advice. I would say a big one is not to beat yourself up about failure. If you have that large slice of cake or takeaway don’t fall into a pit of despair. Draw a line under it and move on and make better choices tomorrow. But also don’t throw the towel in completely and think “Oh well, I might as well have the rest of the cake now”.

    • Dannii says

      That’s a great one! I used to fall in to that and if I had a bad Friday night, then I would write off the whole weekend and just eat whatever I wanted.

  6. Karen says

    I have been doing the kitchen workout that you posted a while ago. Whenever I am waiting for something to cook or for the kettle to boil, I do some squats and wall push-ups. Every little bit helps as they say :)

  7. Fran says

    Such great tips Dannii. I am going to try and do more of them, as I am trying to lose a few lbs before my holiday.

  8. says

    These are great tips!! I totally agree with you on not drinking your calories. I try to avoid sodas and Starbucks drinks (although I usually fail at that one), but I do enjoy smoothies & protein shakes :)

    • Dannii says

      Plus, I really think cooking is fun. It’s really nice to sit down to a meal with a sense of achievement that you have made that yourself, and it is good for you too.

  9. Casey says

    Thank you so much for these reminders. I had done very well making changes in my life for a time, and then we lost my mother-in-law unexpectedly and all of the healthy habits I had developed went right down the drain. I gained a bunch of weight back and have been in that negative space. I need to move myself out of it and start making these changes so I feel better again! Thank you for the tips – I needed them!

    • Dannii says

      Sorry to hear of your loss. I think being in the right head space to make the changes is important, sometimes it takes some extra time.

  10. Alison says

    This post is so motivating. Knowing that I can just incorporate small changes in to my day and that they will help me to reach my goal makes me think that I can do it. Thanks for this!

  11. Sophie says

    This post has just reminded me that I really need to cut back on my Starbucks habit. They just taste so damn good. Do you have any recipes for easy healthier versions?

  12. Martha says

    I have started to track my food through my fitness pal and I was really surprised with how much I was eating. All those little snacks here and there add up.

  13. Rebecca says

    Awesome post!! I’m sometimes guilty of being negative and thus stressing myself out! Last week was one of those weeks!!! However I am cooking waaaay more and eating so much more fruit and veg so yay to that!!

    • Dannii says

      I think it is easy for us to beat ourselves up over the things we still haven’t done. But you have made amazing changes already, so be proud of that!

  14. says

    This is SUCH a great post!! Seriously! I LOVE it!! And couldn’t agree more!! I always do #2! I chug water like it’s my job! And I love writing down what I eat! I get a cute little journal and make it fun! …also I just got a FitBit pedometer!! Love it!! :)

  15. Hannah Wilson says

    I have been having a green smoothie every morning after I saw you post on Instagram about it and I am noticing such a difference to my energy levels. I always recommend them to people now.

    • Dannii says

      The difference is amazing, isn’t it. I just feel so good knowing I have already had some vegetables first thing.

    • Dannii says

      Skipping meals is not good. I know it must be difficult with being so busy, which is why some food prep can really help.

  16. Katie says

    How often would you suggest making a change? I agree that making too many too soon is a bad thing, but I am just wondering if you have any advice of a time frame.

    • Dannii says

      It depends on the individual. If you say find increasing your water intake really easy, then you could do that change and then do another a couple of days later. But if you are finding something difficult, like preparing yourself a healthy breakfast, then stick with just that until it becomes a routine.

  17. Amber says

    I try and drink 2 litres of water a day and I also drink a glass of water if I find myself wanting to snack, even though I know I am not hungry. It has really been helping me.

  18. Christine says

    Is that your local market in the picture? You are so lucky. I have to rely on Tesco and their “fresh” food is not very good.

  19. says

    Really good advice listed above. That picture with the fresh food at the market makes me want to have a fresh salad and such for lunch here in a minute. Thanks for sharing.

  20. says

    Really fun post and tips, Thanks, Danni – don’t I know about the ingredients! Have some food sensitivity – and drinking plenty of water each day and exercising are on top of my list – along with rest to help me keep focused on what I want!

    • Dannii says

      That must mean that you have to make a lot of things yourself, which isn’t always a bad thing. My husband has a lot of allergies, so we have to be extra careful too.

  21. says

    This is a great list, Dannii! I especially agree with avoiding products with a long ingredients list. While I was living in Greece (for many years!) I got into the habit of making a lot of things myself because you just couldn’t find pre-made. So now I’m horrified by the long ingredients list on the back of convenience foods!

    • Dannii says

      I am so jealous that you lived in Greece, I bet that was amazing. Is it bad that I am just thinking about all the feta cheese? And yoghurt and honey.

  22. Jenn says

    Excellent post. The one about not talking to yourself so negatively really hit home for me. Everything I look in the mirror, I saw out loud “you are so fat – what is wrong with you”. I only recently started noticing I was doing it, as I guess I just became used to it. But it isn’t helping me and it only make me more upset, which makes me eat more. Thank you for the posts you write which so use how to love ourselves more.

    • Dannii says

      Yes, you really should stop saying that to yourself. You might have some extra fat, but fat does not define you. You are awesome, no matter what.

  23. Sammy says

    Ditch the diets! Love it!
    People over complicate things, when it is a lot simpler than diets make out. Well done for spreading the word!

  24. Amy says

    You are such a huge inspiration. Thank you for sharing everything that has worked for you. It makes me really believe that it is possible.

  25. says

    I think being grateful is a huge think everyone should take upon. Once I started seeing everything positively, my whole perspective on life changed.

    • Dannii says

      Well done for losing so much weight! It can be stressful at times, but it doesn’t have to be as stressful as many people make it. I think that is is the mental battle that is the hardest.

  26. Lauren says

    I had a look at some of the ingredients on the weight watchers meals I have been buying and they are full of crap. I can’t believe that they advertise them as healthy. The only reason they are low in points is because the portions are so small.
    I love all this advice and I will be taking it all on board.

  27. Leanne says

    Thank you for posting this. I feel so overwhelmed by all the changes that I need to make, but I need to remember that I don’t need to make them all at once.

  28. Claire says

    Small changes really do make a big difference. I have recently started taking my own lunches to work, rather than just picking something up from Pret and my clothes are fitting much better. Not to mention all the money I save.

    • Dannii says

      That is a great first change to make! I am going to be doing more posts soon about healthy lunches to take to work.

  29. says

    These small steps work and I live by them. As a lady who is perturbed by the word diet, changes for life have always seemed more appropriate. I plan meals, not necessarily following the latest diet fad, but I keep hold of what I do consume and try not to kick myself if I have a cheat :)

    • Dannii says

      Definitely no need to kick yourself for having a treat. They are good for both your physical and mental health.

  30. Jess says

    I love the last one! I have done every diet there is and none of them work. Now I just try to eat better and move more and I have lost 20lbs in the last 3 months. I don’t feel like I am restricting myself either. Thank you for your amazing blog. It has helped me more than I could ever tell you. I am always telling people about your blog too.