by Mary Perry
Even when our willpower seems high, our environment might be working against our best intentions. Here are 6 changes you can make at home that can help fight additional weight gain no matter how high or low your motivation may be.
- Declutter Your Kitchen.
A stressful or chaotic environment can make us prone to overeating and that goes for cluttered kitchens too1. In one study, women who kept cereal on their countertops were 20lbs heavier compared to their neighbors who didn’t. Swap out the cereal for soft drinks and weight gain went up 24 to 26lbs 2. When food (especially junk food) is visible we are prone to eat more of it. The good news is that swapping out junk food in place of a fruit bowl may make you lighter (13 pounds lighter in fact, in the study above2). While it’s not always easy to minimize stress, keeping clutter to a minimum and putting healthy foods in sight can help us avoid overeating or grabbing the wrong foods when willpower is low.
- Re-organize the Fridge.
Don’t let spills be the only time you clean out and organize the fridge. Make time for a fridge make-over for your waistlines sake. Toss the processed foods or put them in a place less visible. Stock-up on lean meats, cottage cheese, yogurt, fruits, and cut-up veggies and keep at eye level so the next time hunger strikes, you’ll have something healthy within your reach.
- Unplug at Meal Time.
It’s hard to unplug from technology, but children and adults who eat in front of the television tend to overconsume calories and have less recollection of the calories they did consume. Instead, try and minimize the technical distractions and eat meals as a family in the kitchen or dining room3. Your BMI will thank you.
- Use the Scale as Your Friend Not Foe.
No matter the number, hopping on the scale once a week can actually keep our weight in check and prevent it from going higher. Weight naturally fluctuates a few pounds pending our hydration status and meal timing, but having a mental range of high how it can go (+5) allows us to know when it’s time to start reigning things in. This is especially helpful during the holidays when we tend to overindulge. Did you know Wednesday is the best day to weigh yourself? The reason being it gives you the most accurate read based on the fluctuations between weekday and weekend eating 4.
- Try Salad Plates for Entrees.
Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to dinnerware. Large plates and glassware actually promote greater intake, making us consume larger portions. Opt for serving entrees on small plates like a salad plate to keep portions in check.
- Be Prepared.
Having a supply of healthy snacks on hand whether at home, on the go, or in the office allows us to make better decisions throughout the day. Small frequent meals every 3-4 hours that are balanced in protein and carbohydrate (e.g. Zone PastaRx or ZoneRx bars) help maintain stable blood sugars throughout the day, keeping hunger at bay.
Motivation may ebb and flow when it comes to healthy eating, but ensuring we have an environment that’s supportive no matter what our mental outlook is can help. Sometimes it’s the simple changes we make that have a big impact when it comes to our weight.
You may also like: 7 Tips to Form New Healthy Eating Habits
- Vartanian LR, Kernan KM, Wansink B. Clutter, Chaos, and Overconsumption, The Role of Mind-Set in Stressful and Chaotic Food Environments. Environment and Behavior. Volume: 49 issue: 2, page(s): 215-223
- Wansink B, Hanks AS, Kaipainen K. Slim by Design: Kitchen Counter Correlates of Obesity. Health Educ Behav. 2016 Oct;43(5):552-8.
- Wansink B, van Kleef E. Dinner rituals that correlate with child and adult BMI. Obesity (Silver Spring).
- Helander EE, Vuorinen AL, Wansink B, Korhonen IK. Are breaks in daily self-weighing associated with weight gain? PLoS One. 2014 Nov 14;9(11).