Small Changes Lead to Big Differences

As a registered dietitian and specialized dietetic consultant, Elizabeth Shaw, RD spends most of her time educating the public about the benefits of nutrition and healthy living in their daily lives. She holds a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition, a master’s degree in dietetics, and a graduate certificate in eating disorders and obesity. She is a media spokesperson, writer, community educator and the campus dining dietitian at UC San Diego. Her blog, Simple Swaps, features recipes and smart food choices that lead to big differences over the long term.

Elizabeth understands how food affects our health and how it can help us heal. But she will be the first to tell her patients that overall health isn’t just about food and nutrition, it’s also created by physical activity and your state of mind. She works closely with patients to change their mindset and their relationship with food and exercise. She believes that by making small changes in your daily routine, you can change your life. Take a look at her standard day below:

  • 5-6AM – Morning Workout: 40min Cardio, 10-20min Abs, Arms and Stretching
  • 7-720AM – Walk to Work (3/4 mile)
  • 730AM-8AM – Breakfast
  • 8-12AM – Use the furthest bathroom to get up and move between meetings.
  • 12-1PM – Lunch (Walk to dining area – 10 minutes)
  • 330-350PM – Walk to Car (1 mile)
  • 530-6PM – Dinner
  • 630-715PM – Walk with Hubby Around Block
  • 8-830PM – Evening Snack
  • 930-10PM – Bedtime

You can see by the design of Elizabeth’s day that she prioritizes physical activity almost as highly as her well-planned meals. She incorporates small intervals of activity, which add up to miles of walking and hiking each day!

By working with her patients to make small, consistent changes, she helps them improve their nutrition, physical activity, and mental state, which work together to create an overall state of health.

Personal Motto:

Small changes make big differences!

Favorite Vegetable:

I really do love them all, except Kale, I just can’t get into it. You’ll find me loading up on spinach, carrots, bell peppers and all sorts of wonderful summer squashes!

Favorite Exercise:

Hiking, because I love being outdoors! When I can’t get to a hiking trail, I do love to rollerblade. It may seem a little childish, but it’s a killer workout.

Favorite Way to Center:

Going for a long walk. On the weekends when I have a little down time, I love to walk around my neighborhood and explore new streets. It is surprisingly very zenful for me!

Favorite Book:

I have to admit, I am not a huge reader unless it’s a nutrition or health book. My latest read is Slim by Design by Dr. Brian Wansick.

What is the most important part of your daily routine?

My “O” is definitely fairly scheduled – this helps keep me on track and honest with how I spend my time. I know that when I wake up and work out, I am setting myself up for success for the day. Plus, remembering and making time to fuel my body with proper nutrition is crucial. I never understand people who “forget to eat”. Maybe it’s because I’m a registered dietitian and talk about food all day, but planning and prepping my meals and snacks is crucial for staying on track throughout the week.

What about your “O” do you think is unique or special?

I think the evening walks my husband and I take are special. We aren’t big on TV, so we take a slow stroll around the block in the evenings. This helps us connect and talk about our days, which brings us closer together. It’s a win-win because we also get an extra 2000+ steps in!

Whose “O” would you most like to see?

I would love to see Jennifer Aniston’s “O”. She’s always been a role model of mine and I’d love to see how she takes such great care of her body!

What is your #1 wellness habit?

Remembering that wellness is more than just nutrition and physical activity, but also your mental state. Taking time to reconnect with YOU as a person is crucial in living the full testament of what wellness truly is.

What is the best piece of health advice you’ve ever received?

Never let a bad day ruin your entire week! Sometimes we all go overboard. It happens and that’s just a part of life. Remember that tomorrow is a new day and you can wake up and make of it whatever you want.

What is your favorite part about living a healthy lifestyle?

I think the best part about living a healthy lifestyle is the energy it gives me. I know when I am fueling my body with the right nutrition and physical activity, I am so much more productive.

If you could give one piece of health advice, what would it be and why?

Always remember that small changes can make the biggest difference! You don’t have to overhaul your life in one day, but if you continually work on small efforts for your health, you’ll develop what I like to call “healthstyle”, that will stick with you for the rest of your life.

I believe everyone should be able to enjoy all types of foods in moderation, and learning how to live a healthy life full of balance is the key to lifelong success and wellness.

Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RD is a Dietitian, Entrepreneur and Writer. For more tips from Elizabeth, check out her website Simple Swaps and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.