Make Permanent Improvements Through Small Changes

by Ideal Nourishment Coach, Lily Calfee

Are you ready to transform your life? Ready to discover the diet and lifestyle that will help you lead a life full of joy and ease? You can make a world of difference, you can build and sustain a life of health, peace, and ease. While this may seem like a huge undertaking, let’s break it down into manageable steps. With every article that you read, take a note of which suggestions you can implement in your life right away. Choose one or two things that you will start doing today, right now, and one or two things that you will implement by next week. Scheduling these steps into your calendar and writing down everything you need to take action will help make these small goals reality. Then, check back in a week. What steps were easy for you to implement? What steps didn’t make it into your daily routine? What would it take to have these happen? Where can you get support? Please connect on the Swank Foundation Message Board and/or email me at for more support.

Experiment with viewing the changes you make in your diet as treats for yourself, instead of something you have to do. Communicate with your body, tell it all of the things you are doing to help it heal, encourage it to get on board. Remember to be soft with yourself while you are making these changes. Just like you would with a child learning to walk, congratulate yourself on your achievements, no matter how small. When you fall down or mess up, take a deep breath, acknowledge yourself for the effort you are making, and keep trying. Again, ask yourself what you need to make this change and then go find it.

My father has a favorite saying, “How do you eat a truckload of watermelons? One bite at a time.” Transforming your health may seem as daunting as a living room full of watermelons. There’s no way to get around it, you have some work to do! The only alternative to living with all these watermelons is to deal with them, one bite at a time. Each of the changes that I will encourage you to make are just small bites. If you get overwhelmed, take a step back and ask for help.

The first thing we are going to explore is fat. The Swank Diet focuses on limiting saturated fats to three teaspoons per day.  The easiest way to do this, and to find a good balance of quality fats, is to switch to cooking with olive oil. Just this small change can dramatically transform the quality of the food you are eating. Notice what foods you cook in oil or butter, and consider reducing the amount of fat you use. Try steaming vegetables until they are just underdone, and then saute for the last few minutes in half a teaspoon of olive oil.

Another small addition that can transform your health is high quality cod liver oil. The Swank Foundation recommends a teaspoon every day. These days, cod liver oil comes in manageable capsules that usually don’t have an unpleasant aftertaste. If you do experience fish burps, try taking your cod liver oil with a meal, rather than before or after you eat. A list of high quality fish oils can be found

These two small changes are the first step towards managing your symptoms, and living a life of health and ease. Pick a step that you can commit to this week, and schedule it into your calendar.

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Lily Calfee

Lily Calfee attended school at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where she was trained in more than one hundred dietary theories and studied a variety of practical lifestyle coaching methods, and is a member of the International Association of Health Coaches. She is particularly interested in Ayurvedic Medicine, women’s health, and the connection between food and mood. Lily offers tips and insights about creating a completely personalized diet that suits your unique body, lifestyle, preferences, and goals. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.