Shape your environment and your body will follow. Being able to memorize carb grams, or calorie tables, or the names of exotic superfoods doesn’t often change what we eat when it’s time for a hurried breakfast or a got-home-late-from-work dinner.
Those particular eating decisions have more to do with what’s (and who’s) around us — our environment.
We follow patterns, physical cues that bubble beneath our awareness, and what’s around us. That means our environment powerfully shapes our decisions, more than we realize.
Most of us will eat all that we’re served — no matter how big the portion is. If we’re served a small bag of popcorn, we’ll eat that. If we are served a bucket of popcorn, we’ll eat that. Presumably if we are served a Volkswagen full of popcorn, we’d do our best to finish that off too.
We often eat more when we’re multitasking. Ever started snacking while watching TV or playing video games, then found yourself staring at an empty bag or bowl, wondering where it all went? Your attention was elsewhere, so your eating machine just went on autopilot.
The base of the pyramid — your foundation — is what surrounds you.
In general, when it comes to engineering healthy eating, here’s the golden rule:
Make healthy behaviors convenient.
Make other behaviors less convenient.
Use smaller plates and cups. Most people eat everything on their plate. Use a smaller plate and you end up eating less naturally.
If there’s a food you don’t want to eat, avoid keeping it around. Why risk the temptation? Make it less convenient to eat.
Have fresh, healthy whole foods prepared and in plain sight. Veggies and fruits on your kitchen table or counter; that’s a good start.
Park your car farther away from where you’re going so you have to walk. Those extra steps add up.
Keep your bike ready to go by the front door. Instead of driving, consider biking. ...Or Walking!
Get a dog that needs walking. Even better, one that will chew up your couch as punishment if you don’t take it for a daily spin around the block.
But why should everything be so hard, all the time? There’s no need to white-knuckle the willpower. You can actually make change much easier by simply changing your environment.
Harness your brain’s autopilot for the side of good: By just changing what’s around you in small ways, you can make changes without even thinking about them.
**Stay tuned for more tips on unique ways to lose weight!
***Credit to Precision Nutrition