The third Monday in January is now known as “Blue Monday” – or the most depressing day of the year. While it may have started as a marketing tactic for a travel agency wanting to encourage vacations to warmer climes in the midst of winter, the idea of Blue Monday has struck a chord with many of us. The winter blues have been documented and up to 50% of Canadians report some physical or psychological symptoms, from simply feeling blah to diagnosable depression. For those trying to lose or manage their weight, the news is not any better. Research conducted by the Columbia University Medical Center shows that it’s normal to gain up to five or six pounds over the winter. And the extra pounds aren’t the only issue. Other symptoms, like cellulite and lower self-esteem, compound the problem. The quick answer is to change your eating habits and start exercising. But if you’re already in the winter doldrums, you’re not exactly in the best frame of mind to make major changes to your lifestyle. Fortunately, there’s an easier option. It might not deliver the same results, but it will put you on the right path and may even give you enough encouragement to stay there. Instead of attempting to make wholesale changes to your diet that you’re not likely to stick with (abandoned New Year’s resolutions anyone?), make small adjustments that are easier to keep. It’s Called Eating Healthy-ish Not only are you more likely to stick with smaller changes, you’ll also avoid the sense of defeat that comes from abandoning loftier goals. If you’ve failed to eat a completely healthy diet, try taking smaller steps and eat "healthy-ish”. Here are a few ideas to get you started: Healthy-ish Snacks – Snack foods are notoriously unhealthy. They must be because they taste so good. If you can’t wait to dig into chips and dip while watching TV at night, keep the dip, but enjoy it with mini carrots or whole-wheat flat bread instead. Or keep the chips, but dip them in hummus. Healthy-ish Fast Food – Can’t pass a McDonald’s without stopping for a Big Mac meal? Not only is it high in fat, but its salt content is over half your recommended daily intake. Carry a baggie of those same mini carrots, or some pods of peas, and have them with the burger and drink, in place of the french fries. Or carry low-salt vegetable juice and skip the Coke. Healthy-ish Fruit Juice – Contrary to popular belief, many popular fruit juices pack as much or more sugar than soft drinks like Coca-Cola. Unless you burn it off fast, the energy in all that sugar is stored by your body as fat. Try mixing your juice with water. Not only will you be surprised at how much of the flavour remains, you will reduce your sugar intake significantly and hydrate yourself at the same time, which has been shown to reduce cellulite. The underlying premise of eating “healthy-ish” is that it’s better to make whatever improvement you can to your diet than to avoid changes altogether because of your lack of motivation or fear of failure. And don’t worry, spring will soon be here.