The scaffolding that supports better decisions must be erected long before you’re faced with temptation. If you’ve been relying on your willpower to make you eat salad for lunch every day, you’re banking on a mental resource that’s bound to run out. Recent research shows that willpower comes in finite quantities. When you force yourself to adopt a new healthy behavior, you may have trouble summoning the energy to add in another one. That’s because your stores of self-discipline have dwindled. What’s stronger than willpower? Changing your physical environment in specific ways that will make healthy choices a “no-brainer.” Here is how you can create change from the outside in:
Hide the Unhealthy Foods and Showcase the Healthy Ones
The only food you should see when you walk into your kitchen is fruit. If you keep a box of cereal in plain view, you’ll weigh, on average, 20 pounds more than someone who stores the package behind closed doors, according to research at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.
Take Care When You Shelve Food Items
You are three times as likely to eat the first food you see as you are to eat the fifth one, says Wansink, author of Slim by Design. So push the Nutella to the back of the cupboard and keep the whole grain crackers up front. In the refrigerator, move the produce from the crisper bin to a shelf that is at eye level.
Banish the Toaster
Every day it asks you, “Hey, do you want a piece of toast? Or how about an English muffin or a bagel?” People who keep their toasters on the counter weigh, on average, seven pounds more than those who don’t, according to research at Cornell. Hide yours in a cupboard or pantry so you’ll need to drag it out to use it.
You can significantly boost your health and happiness by making these three small changes. The impact of your efforts is measurable and gratifying. Well done you!
I’d love to hear any feedback or success stories you have. Please reach out and share your thoughts. Remember, I’m always cheering for you.