A pathway to a healthier you

Change your eating habits

For many of us eating healthier seems hard. Some of us don’t know where to start to make a change.

Althea, a nurse who worked in a rural community setting, had wanted to change her diet for many years, but the task seemed daunting.  

Habit changing – more than making up your mind

Most nurses and midwives know what healthy foods are. But how do we change our eating behaviours and adopt a healthier diet? 

Just understanding what to eat is generally not enough to motivate us to change. If it were, we would all be a lot healthier. We can look other strategies to help us improve our diet. 

Dr Tetyana Rocks, dietician and senior research fellow from the Food and Mood centre, explains:

Changing eating habits involves more than just providing information; it often requires addressing behavioral, environmental, psychosocial factors. People’s habitual diet is a result of complex determinants.

Set achievable goals

It is important to set goals that you can achieve. Tetyana suggests “…avoid an “all or nothing approach.” For example you could make 2 small changes at a time, such as choosing a whole-grain veggie-packed wrap instead of a burger or not skipping breakfast.”  

 Althea sought help from family and friends about where to start. According to Tetyana, gaining support from others is one of the keys to success.

“Build your support system: share your goals with your family, friends or colleagues for encouragement and consider using accredited health professionals (dietitians or nutritionists).” 

Ask for support

Audra Starkey, nutritionist from the Health Shift Worker podcast, highlights ways we can work together to improve our diet.

It’s way easier to tackle things together... So connect with other colleagues who are wanting to eat healthier, and create a supportive environment where healthy eating is encouraged. A place where you can share healthy recipes and tips with each other…But my golden rule is to not overcomplicate things. Your plate doesn’t need to look fancy; it just needs to be nutritious.

Feel better, motivation grows

Knowing that it was best for her to make one change at a time, and with the support of her family, Althea began to set out a plan to gradually increase healthier foods in her diet. She started feeling better with the changes she made, and this gave her the motivation and confidence to stick with it. We can use this as a reward to maintain our plan. 

I was just so happy that my health was getting better. This alone encouraged me to keep going”. Althea also noticed she felt more in control of her health, which allowed her to feel more capable of making positive changes.

Gain control of your health

In a study on how to make healthier food choices, it was found that: “Being able to cause improvement in well-being and even resolve health issues through their own behavior led participants to feel in control of their health.”


Healthy Eating as a New Way of Life: A Qualitative Study of Successful Long-Term Diet Change - Anna James, Blake Lawrence, Moira O’Connor, 2022 (sagepub.com).