Fact: your environment can dictate what and how much you eat.
According to droves of weight loss research and the book Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life, you are more likely to eat certain foods based on the ease of their preparation and consumption and the physical design of the space. No brainer right? That’s why the Jell-O pudding snack pack was invented. It’s easy to open your pantry and scarf down a snack pack or 2. If it’s easy to eat, it’s gonna be eaten. On the other hand, you must consider the effect ambiance plays when making food decisions. If your kitchen and dining room resemble a tropical paradise, bring on the lobster with drawn butter and fruity umbrella drinks! If you live in a ranch home with livestock grazing in green pastures, steak, potatoes, wine and whiskey seem to be just perfect. It’s “mood food” (my term). The lesson? If you are trying to lose weight by cutting out certain foods, you absolutely cannot and should not blame yourself for lacking willpower. The forces of absolute convenience and “mood food” are working against you.
It would be a shame not to indulge in these wonderful treats when the ambiance is perfectly suited for such meals. But, when it comes to your home and losing weight, a few design and convenience alterations are simple ways to make your weight loss goals easier to achieve.
Here are a couple of EASY things you can do to re-arrange your kitchen and lose weight without trying so hard.
1. Hide the naughty foods. This is an age-old technique. Put the sugar (this includes anything that has a lot of sugar or simple carbohydrates like cereal, soda, fruit juices, sweets, white bread, white rice, etc.) on the highest pantry shelf, which you can’t see or reach without a ladder. For added effect, bury the stuff behind heavy bags of flour and salt.
2. Take EVERYTHING out of your fridge, clean up, and re-arrange ingredients based on what you should be eating more of. Put the fruits, veggies and lean proteins in the front where they are easy to see and grab. Stick the bars of chocolate, butter, cheese and bacon in the back or in the freezer. Any microwave dinners need to be thrown out. A clean fridge screams healthy food so clean yours!
3. Get rid of any design elements that make you want to feast. I had a painting of a French bistro on in my kitchen. You know what they serve at French bistros? BUTTER! Au Revoir. Also, family style dining is a no no. Keep your food trays on the kitchen counter, fill up your plate and bring it to the table. If you need to get up and walk over to counter for a second helping, chances are you’ll abandon that second helping altogether.
4. Hide large plates and bowls. Make the smaller dishes more accessible and hide the larger dishes. If you load up a small plate, it’ll look and feel like a big meal. Sneaky.
5. STOP WATCHING MASTER CHEF AND THE FOOD NETWORK! Yes, it’s awesome, but it’ll make you fat. I would watch the Food Network for two hours and suddenly feel the need to whip up a chocolate mousse and a batch of cookies. A cheese course would inevitably follow. What the what?! My new favorite cooking show? Tales from the Bush Larder…because let’s face it, I’m never going to be chasing down my ingredients in the African Bush. And, as best practice, turn off the TV when eating and get rid of the TV in your kitchen. It’s been proven that watching TV and eating causes you to drastically overeat.
6. Pre-make healthy snacks so they are easy for you to consume. This is the convenience model of the Jell-O Pudding Snack. When you get home from the grocery store, take a few extra minutes to slice up raw veggies and fruit and distribute them into ziplock bags. Boil a dozen eggs and you have a high protein, easy snack. If all of this is too much trouble, just buy the pre-chopped carrot sticks and the like. Make sure these healthy treats are displayed in clear bags or tupperware. It’ll make you want them more.
7. Change your passwords to food delivery service companies. I changed my password for all these services to “YOUMAKEMEFAT!” It has since caused me to abandon my delivery order every time. (I’m not talking about grocery delivery, just restaurant/fast food delivery).
8. Don’t buy in huge quantities. A tip from Shape Magazine states you are more likely to consume more if you buy bulk amounts of food, simply because you have an abundance and you want to avoid spoilage. Big packages = big servings.
9. Hide naughty food in concealed packages and display healthy food in clear packages. Hiding your brownies in tin foil or opaque tupperware makes you less likely to consume them. Displaying carrots and apples in clear attractive bags will make you reach for them every time.
10. Drink from thin, tall wine and beer glasses. You’ll consume fewer calories doing so and the appearance falsely reassures you of a full glass of wine or beer.
The most important tip from all the above is to learn how to cook! You tend to eat approximately 250 more calories per day by eating out vs. cooking at home. The best way to learn is to just get into the kitchen and get busy. Treat your body the way you want it to look. Eat yourself healthy and then celebrate that with a delicious, tall glass of wine. 😉
To being “Slim by Design,”
Party Smart. Sweat Smarter.