There are several intervention options for habit change to control weight. Ten Top Tips is the simplest, least invasive and most evidence-based option.
Ten Top Tips provides self-guided, leaflet-based interventions focusing on the recommendations of habit-formation theory. The program is intended to be self-guided at home. The goal is to promote automaticity of the Ten Tips which include:
- Keep to your meal routine: Try to eat at roughly the same time each day, whether this is two or five times a day.
- Go reduced fat: Choose reduced fat foods (e.g. dairy foods, spreads, salad dressings) where you can. Use high-fat foods (e.g. butter and oils) sparingly, if at all.
- Walk off the weight: Walk 10,000 steps (equivalent to 60–90 min moderate activity) each day (use a pedometer to help you count the steps). Take the stairs, walk escalators, and get off the bus one stop earlier – it all adds up.
- Pack a healthy snack: If you snack, choose a healthy option such as fresh fruit, plain yoghurts, or a handful of nuts instead of chocolate or crisps.
- Learn the labels: Check the fat and sugar content on food labels when shopping and preparing food.
- Caution with your portions: Do not heap food on your plate (except vegetables). Think twice before having second helpings.
- Up on your feet: Break up your sitting time. Stand up for 10 minutes out of every hour. Stand more anywhere, anytime – bus, train, and breaks or while on the phone.
- Think about your drinks: Choose water first. Unsweetened fruit juice contains natural sugar so limit to one small glass a day (200 ml). Alcohol is high in calories; limit to 2 drinks per day.
- Focus on your food: Slow down. Do not eat on the go or while watching TV. Eat at a table if possible.
- Do not forget your 5 a day: Eat at least 5 portions daily of various vegetables and fruit (400 g in total).
Implementation of the Ten Top Tips in research settings includes an induction meeting led by a practice nurse or dietitian and provision of a leaflet. Various implementation models have been trialled. In its simplest form, the leaflet outlines the ten tips and a daily self-monitoring form for the individual to complete at home.