Your environment affects your behavior. It’s been proven multiple times in multiple ways. You can use that to power your healthy lifestyle behavior. Arranging your personal environment – your home – can do a lot to make weight management strategies a normal part of your daily routine.
“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 is not even fair. You have no right to deprive other household members of eating what they enjoy. Moreover, your job is to learn how to take care of your needs in a world full of temptations.
- 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’re out of sight and difficult to access in a high cupboard.
- Keep whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat flour, and the like in the front of the pantry shelves.
- Ice cream goes way in the back of the freezer with the frozen pizzas.
- If you like frozen reduced calorie entrees keep them where they’re easy to get. (I’m not a big fan of them but there are a few I like and they’re great to have on hand in a pinch)
- Keep the frozen fruit and vegetables in the front where they’re easy to see and to pick up for snacking and meals.
- Keep cut up vegetables ready for easy snacking (or packing) in a high visibility spot in the fridge. Put them in clear containers to reduce the chance of forgetting about them and letting them spoil.
- Position your beverages so that milk is easier to get than sugary drinks, and beer.
- Foods that you want to limit or avoid, such as leftover potato salad, are easier to ignore 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.
Now that you have bought and organized your food, the next project is to make it easy to make meals to eat at home and to take to work.
Here is a list of essential tools. If you don’t have these already they should be your next purchases or you could put them on your wish list if you have an occasion coming up where you’ll be receiving gifts.
- dutch oven
- large, heavy nonstick fry pan with a lid
- 1 and 2 qt saucepans with lids
- kitchen scissors
- Chef’s Knife (8” or 10”)
- Paring Knife (3”)
- Long Serrated Bread Knife
- Slicing/Carving Knife (10”)
- food processor
- several wooden spoons
- rubber spatula for scraping
- nylon or silicone spatula for flipping
- wet and dry measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- set on BPA free containers with tight fitting lids
Your weight is a matter of how much you eat and how much you move. Experts believe what you eat has 80% effect on your weight and your physical activity affects the other 20%. That makes the kitchen the most important area because it’s the place where all the food is kept and prepared. If you have an eat-in kitchen it’s also the place where the food is consumed.
Whether your table is in the kitchen or not, do create a pleasant, designated area for dining with a table and chairs. Limit eating to this area to the only place in your house where you may eat.
The living room is a place that’s easy to go off track. Sofa, screen and leisure time can get in the way of getting enough physical activity. All you need to be completely content is something to eat.
Comfortable seating begs you to make yourself comfortable for a long time. Removing comfy furniture and replacing it with hard, uncomfortable seating or no seating at all isn’t realistic. You can keep your couch, but you don’t have to be a potato.
- Place a wall clock where you can easily see it can help to remind you how much time you’re spending sitting.
- Leave the couch for other family members, or the dog, and use a stability ball for your seat in front of the screen.
- If you can fit it into your budget and the space consider getting a treadmill or a stepper.
- Keep hand weight close by and do arm curls while watching TV.
Sleep is an important part of maintaining normal appetite hormone function. By creating a space that invites sleep you can have more control over your appetite and less stress. Quality rest promotes better adherence to both your food and exercise plans.
- Do not use your bedroom as a home office or a TV room or a gym.
- Do as much as you can to make it a comfortable place to sleep.
- Good mattress
- Room darkening shades
- Comfortable bedding
- Controlled temperature, avoid too warm
Your home is an important environment that plays a major influence on achieving your weight-related goals. Don’t forget outside your home. Your yard is your gym. You can wash your car, rake leaves, shovel snow, play with the kids, and shoot hoops to get a full workout.
It’s not critical that you do every suggestion in this blog. Do what you can or what’s reasonable. Any and every little improvement you can make to your environment to support your weight-related goals will help you more than doing nothing.