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Fix Your Environment, Not Your Willpower

Updated: Feb 19, 2019

Willpower is overrated. No matter how strong yours is, there will be a time (especially as a working mom) where you will be too tired or stressed to use it.  I prefer tweaking your environment to ‘trick’ you to make better decisions — make it easier to reach for that apple versus that bag of chips. 

My favorite book on this is Slim by Design by Brian Wansink. His team of researchers went to thin and not-so-thin households to document the differences.  This checklist of environmental tweaks helps you model your kitchen on the thin ones.   My favorite tweaks:

  • Eat from a smaller plate. Halving your plate size reduces food consumption by 30%. Eat from salad plates. I did this at Thanksgiving and felt stuffed with so much less food! 

  • Clear counters of all food outside of fruit. You eat what you see. People who kept cereal on their counters were 21 pounds heavier than those that didn’t. 

  • Rearrange your fridge. Place the healthiest snacks (i.e. cut up fruit and veggies) on the front middle shelf. Move the less healthy snacks out of sight to the fruit and veggie drawers.  I actually keep my ice cream in the garage spare freezer.

  • Hide the worst offenders in one cabinet that is hard to get to. You are three times more likely to eat the first food you see in the cupboard than the fifth one. 

  • Don’t serve family style.  People who serve from the counter ate 19% less total food compared to those serving off the table. 

Little tweaks add up.  Spending 30 min rearranging your kitchen could make a huge difference in your health. Just cutting 100 calories a day leads to around a 10 pound loss over a year.  

Out of sight, out of mind (and out of mouth). 

Reap the benefits of good health by playing mind tricks to keep you on the right track of consuming healthy food.


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