“It can be tempting to blame failure on a lack of willpower or a scarcity of talent, and to attribute success to hard work, effort, and grit.
To be sure, those things matter. What is interesting, however, is that if you examine how human behavior has been shaped over time, you discover that motivation (and even talent) is often overvalued. In many cases, the environment matters more.” -James Clear, Author of Atomic Habits
When it comes to making healthier eating choices, a few simple changes to your environment can help make those choices. It’s not that the fit healthy people are so disciplined that they say no to the leftover chocolate cake in the fridge, it’s that they don’t have the cake in the fridge at all.
Here are some practical ways to create an environment that supports healthy eating so you don’t have to think about it.
- Eat your meals on smaller plates. Not only will you naturally consume less, but your mind will feel more satisfied by eating a smaller portion on a small plate than the same small portion on a larger plate.
- Put away leftovers right away. Plate up your food, and put the leftovers away before eating, thus avoiding the temptation to go for seconds. If you’re actually still hungry 20-30 minutes after eating, warm up more.
- Serve your meals on your nice plates. You’ll appreciate your food more and be more likely to pay attention when you eat. Likewise, clear the table, and set up a relaxing, decluttered environment while you eat.
- Remove distractions. When eating, put screens and work away. When you’re eating, eat!
- Add more veggies to your meal. Instead of thinking about removing some of the food from your diet, gently crowd it out with vegetables. Aim by filling half your plate with veggies. I love sauteed cabbage, roasted cauliflower, spaghetti squash and spiralized zucchini.
- Make the healthy food easier to see and more accessible. Keep the cut-up veggies where you can easily see them.
- Put the treats somewhere that makes them more inconvenient to access. At work, simply putting the treats a few steps further away may be enough to deter mindless eating. It is a lot easier to snack on cookies or salted peanuts when they are on your desk than if they are in another room. At home, you might have a special place where you put all the treats. At the very least, remove the bowl of chocolate covered almonds from the kitchen counter.
- Trying to drink more water? Prepare your water ahead of time. Pour a glass the night before so it’s waiting for you before your first cup of coffee. You can also try filling large mason jars or water bottles ahead of time and aim to drink them all by the end of the day.
- Plan ahead! Avoid the drive-through by planning your meals ahead of time.
Changing habits does take effort. Make it easier on yourself by changing your environment. Simple changes that make the healthy habit easier to do and the unhealthy habit more inconvenient go a long way.
I’d love to know, what is one way that you’ve made the healthy choice easier for you?
If you’d like to hear me chat more on this topic check out Episode 224 of the Fit + Vibrant You Podcast: https://www.tanjashaw.com/fvy224/