My 12 Week Action Plan (Not Diet!)

So, I casually bought a book recently, thinking it would be a good resource/reference book, but upon reading it, I realized that it could be so much more.


The book I bought is called Small Changes, Big Results by Ellie Krieger (I'm going to call this SCBR for short, since I'll be talking a lot about it over the next couple months). I got it while out of town a couple weekends ago and since I didn't have the usual home distractions, I actually got to read some of the book for once. I was immediately intrigued by the 12-week action plan detailed in the book, and I was already hooked to Ellie's positive outlook on healthy eating. I was also happy to see a diet-type of book that wasn't really a diet and also wasn't a huge overhaul of your existing lifestyle. What I found was that the program was so much more than just a how-to eat right. Her program has "3 legs": nutrition, fitness, and well-being.

One of my favorite parts of her program is about food. Rather than telling you, strictly, what to not eat, Ellie tries to show you what you should be eating. In fact, Ellie does not classify any foods as something that should never be eaten. She classifies all foods into 3 groups: Usually, Sometimes, and Rarely. This means I don't have to give up pizza and hamburgers and other "unhealthy" foods. I've been there, done that. I didn't like it at all. Strict diets are simply not up my alley. I prefer to eat healthy foods, in general, so when I do choose to have pizza, I don't have to feel guilty about it. I'm not going to! 🙂

I like to think of myself as a pretty athletic person, but it's funny how the way you perceive yourself, based on previous lifestyles and habits, can turn out to be rather disjoint from where you really are at present. I have been a very active person before, but I am starting to realize that I've fallen a bit out of working out as much as I should. I am looking forward to the feel-good feelings you get when you're on a regular work-out schedule.

This section is one that always seems to be low on my priority totem pole. Thanks to my dad (and his constant nutrition advice) and athletic background, I am pretty comfortable tacking the first 2 "legs." I can usually tell when I'm eating poorly and not as active as I have been before. I can usually tell when I'm stressed, but I don't regularly work to improve this area of my life…not as much as I should, at least. I'm looking forward to incorporating this part of the program into my life.

Getting Started
There are a few things Ellie suggests you do before you get started on the program, which I'll go over very high level here:

Food/Exercise Journal


Get a Food/Exercise Journal. Check! I picked mine up at Target. You can't tell from the photo, but it's pretty small. I'll be keeping mine in my purse at all times. Ellie recommends you write foods/beverages down as soon as you drink them, and knowing myself (and how I usually forget to right things down after the fact) this will be the best approach for me to keep this up to date.

"Dear Me" Letter
Ellie wants you to write a "Dear Me" letter, which is a letter detailing all the reasons you want to do the program. It's something you can refer to in times of need to remind you why you started this plan. I won't bore you with the details, but here's a highlight:

I hope that doing this program accomplishes the following:

  • Makes me feel better in general
  • Gives me more energy
  • Helps me sleep better
  • Helps me be more happy
  • Helps me fit into my clothes better
  • Improves my self-confidence
  • Improves my health

Ellie inserts an optional exercise – taking measurements of Weight, Chest, Waist, and Hips and noting the date of the measurements. I don't mind measurements, so I did them today. I'm not necessarily trying to "lose weight", I really just want to be more healthy, so these may not come into play, but I took them anyways just to see if they do. I like stats.

Ellie also recommends asking for support from those who surround you – family, friends, etc. I spoke with hubby already and he was very supportive, of course. 🙂

Lifestyle Questionnaire
The book contains a 30 question "quiz". The first 10 questions are for "nutrition", the next 10 for "fitness," and the last 10 for "wellness." I was pretty surprised (and not in a good way) at my scores:

Nutrition Check: 38/50
Fitness Check: 22/50
Wellness Check: 22/50

Total: 82/150

Pretty bad, no? I knew I wasn't exercising as much as I should, but wow! And the wellness check…guess I need to take better care of myself.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who's looking to get healthier or lose weight and doesn't want to go through one of those strict, life-overhaul diets. SCBR is a positive, uplifting, and motivating book that will have you looking at nutrition, fitness, and wellness in a whole new light.

Any one who wants to play along, feel free to leave comments with how you're doing – it's always nice to hear how other people are doing.

As for me, I'm going to try doing a visual food/exercise journal to show how things are coming along with me, so there will be lots of posts on this topic. Today was my first day, but I have a long way to go. Wish me luck!

5 thoughts on “My 12 Week Action Plan (Not Diet!)”

  1. This looks exciting, I might have to go check that book out! By the way, there is a website called SparkPeople that is great for tracking nutrition, exercise, etc. for free. Oh and what size box of organics did you get? That looks like plenty for us for a week!

  2. I read this book several years ago and am a believer of all things "Ellie" :o) You should consider joing the CEiMB weekly blog cooking group – just click on the emblem from my blog to visit the website.


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