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Spring Cleaning for Your Weight and Health

cleaningIt’s Spring and warm weather is coming if it’s not already there in your part of the world. This is probably the biggest diet and exercise season of the year as people begin to prepare for bathing suit weather and vacations. However, it can be daunting if you’ve experienced years of yo-yo dieting and unsuccessful exercise programs. Spring cleaning may be a more successful approach.

Did you know that your home, your work place and your daily routines may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts and keeping your health at risk? In the book, Slim by Design, psychologist and author Brian Wansink shows us that living in a cluttered environment is co-related to making unhealthy food choices. This is based on scientific research, so start your Spring cleaning today!

Food Choices and Your Environment

From colors to lighting to what you watch on TV, Wansink shows us how lifestyle triggers food choices that can lead to poor health and weight gain. He encourages making simple revisions to your home and work space to create an environment that supports healthy food choices and reduces overeating. Here are a few do’s and don’ts:

  • Keep your fruits and vegetables in plain sight in the refrigerator or on the counter
  • Eat in dim lighting – it reduces calorie consumption by 18%
  • Don’t watch TV or use smartphones and tablets while eating – mindless eating causes less satisfaction with a meal
  • Don’t hang out in the kitchen – the more time you spend there the more likely you are to eat
  • Don’t keep high carb and high calorie food in plain sight or easy reach, reduce temptation
  • Be careful of cooking shows and cook books – causes cravings and overeating
  • Use smaller plates, your portions will look bigger
  • Paint your walls blue or green – induces a feeling of calm and relaxation
  • Enter through the main door of your house instead of entering the kitchen first
  • De-clutter your house to reduce cluttered thinking

ginsburgconstruction-kitchen-3-330737_1280Many of these ideas seem like common sense, but part of the diet and health problem is that we have created mindless habits and we need to recreate a healthier lifestyle. Dr. Wansink’s first book, Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, helps us rethink our eating habits and lifestyle choices. Slim by Design takes this information a step further by having us examine the entire environment we live in, including the community and how marketing affects our choices.

Make a Fresh Start

There’s nothing like Spring cleaning to make a fresh start, and that’s why people do it every year. Toss out the old salad dressings and condiments and give your refrigerator a good wiping down. Then make a healthy food list with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables for your next trip to the store. The activity of de-cluttering and cleaning the house is good exercise and psychologically uplifting.

Once your house is free of temptation and primed for healthy choices, make a list of what you can do at work and in the community to stimulate a healthier lifestyle. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

  • Drive on back streets that don’t have fast food restaurants
  • Pack your lunch or scope out healthier choices online before ordering out
  • Keep healthy snacks in your car and at your desk
  • Walk during your lunch break
  • On your way home stop at a park for a quick walk
  • Buy a good water bottle and use it often
  • Keep a SUGARDOWN “On the Go Tube” in your purse or pocket for emergencies