Setting Up for Success! Make Your Environment “Losing-Friendly!”

It’s a proven fact, our environment dictates our behavior. We can use that knowledge to help us behave in ways that support weight control. We can clean up and arrange our personal environments to make weight management strategies easy to perform. The right environment can change our habits and thus change our weight. Here is a room-by-room plan for environmental management.

This fridge is arranged to make it easy to make "losing=friendly" food choices!

This fridge is arranged to make it easy to make “losing=friendly” food choices!

KITCHEN
“If you don’t have it, you can’t eat it!” I’m not saying throw away the high-calorie foods processed with added fat, sugar and salt. If you share a living space with others who have different weight-related goals than you, this may not even be possible. If you don’t have what you want and need in the kitchen to help you with your weight-related goals, however, you can’t eat it! Put fruits and vegetables front and center where they are easy to see and reach when you want a snack. Move cookies and chips to a place where they are more difficult to see and and access in the cupboard. Keep whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat flour, and the like in the front of the pantry shelves. Organize your fridge in a similar manner. Ice cream goes way in the back of the freezer with the frozen pizzas. Reduced calorie frozen entrees are placed in the front of the freezer with the bags of frozen vegetables. Keep cut up vegetables all ready for easy snacking (or packing) occupy the spot with the easiest visibility and access in the fridge. Position your beverages so that fat-free milk is easier to get than soda, fruit drinks, and beer. Store the foods you want to eat more often in see-through containers. Foods that you want to limit or avoid, such as leftover potato salad, are easier to forget when stored in an opaque container. This method of kitchen management allows you to have what you need and you don’t need to police the space by throwing out the food other household members want.

LIVING ROOM

A carefully positioned dog is one way to keep YOU off the couch!

A carefully positioned dog is one way to keep YOU off the couch!


Comfortable seating begs you to have a seat and “sit a spell.” Removing comfy furniture and replacing it with hard, uncomfortable seating or no seating at all isn’t realistic. Placing a wall clock where you can easily see it can help to remind you how much time you’re spending sitting. Make a goal to get up and move for five minutes after every hour of sitting. You can also keep hand weight close by and do arm curls while watching TV. Depending on the size of your living room and your budget you might also consider getting a treadmill and placing it where you can walk or jog while watching TV.

BEDROOM

Good!

Good!

Bad!

Bad!

There is a right and wrong way to use exercise equipment in the bedroom. The good way is to use it in the manner for which it was designed. The bad way is to turn it into a clothes rack!

Your home is only one environment where you spend much of your time. Consider how your work environment affects you. If you spend a lot of time in your car, it too is an environment that you can change to support your success. When you are managing your environments keep your weight-related goals in mind. Use this simple question to be your guide: “Will this help me or hold me back with achieving and sustaining my goal?” Changing your environment is one, effective way to change what you weigh!

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is the general manager of Weight Watchers of Maine. She is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. Her experience with her own weight management journey and raising girls has given her insight into the struggles families face with weight, healthy body image, food and physical activity. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news for more than ten years and appears monthly as a guest on FOX network morning program Good Day Maine.