So you’ve been eating better, exercising more, and doing all the right things to be healthy and lose weight. That’s great.
But there’s one simple thing you’re overlooking that will do more to ensure your success than all your other healthy behaviors combined. And by not paying attention to it, you may actually be canceling out your progress.
It’s your environment. And if you don’t proactively use it to your advantage, it will passively sabotage you.
Your environment sets you up to succeed or to fail. It has a powerful influence on what you think, how you feel, and what you do. But you’re probably so used to seeing what’s around you that you don’t realize how much it hinders your ability to successfully make changes in your life. And when it comes to food, eating, and weight loss, your environment may unfortunately be pushing you to say “Whatever” and eat anything that’s in front of you.
Your environment has a structure, and your energy forms to it. What you look at shapes your thoughts, your thoughts set your mood, and your mood dictates what you do. So if you’re looking at a cluttered kitchen that has a fridge full of expired condiments, you’re probably not going to feel motivated to cook a healthy meal for yourself. If your kitchen is usually a mess and you constantly think, “I’m so sick of cleaning this kitchen,” you’re probably going to feel exhausted or irritated, which means you’re more likely to eat.
Also, if your environment is working against you, you’ll waste a lot of energy trying to overcome it — energy you need to keep yourself motivated and stay on track. This is why controlling it will do more to help you than all your other healthy behaviors combined: because it affects every single one of them, and it will help you without expending any energy whatsoever.
Take a look around your kitchen right now. Is it set up to encourage healthy habits? Here are some ways you could improve your eating environment:
- Clean out your refrigerator: wipe down the drawers and shelves, throw out expired items, and organize it by category (dairy, fruit, vegetables, beverages, etc.).
- Ditto for your pantry.
- Wash and pre-cut vegetables to have as snacks or to use for cooking.
- Get a magnetized meal planner for your fridge and plan meals for at least two days.
- Buy a special notepad (ie, not some cheap sticky notes that are too small and get lost easily) and keep a running grocery list.
- Organize your plastic containers: recycle the mismatched ones and buy some that are durable and stackable.
- Make your kitchen pretty: put a bowl of lemons or fresh flowers on the counter, get a plant for a windowsill, light a candle, or play relaxing music. Making your kitchen a place that feels beautiful and peaceful makes you want to spend time in it, cook more, and enjoy eating the way it’s supposed to be.
You want to set up your eating environment to make engaging in healthy habits practically automatic. That way you can use your precious energy to make more difficult changes.
Just the act of making these kinds of improvements makes you feel confident and in control. That’s another reason why this one tactic is so powerful, because you need to feel confident and in control if you want to make changes that stick and ultimately transform your life.
Always remember that your environment affects you, whether you realize it or not. It can be a silent helper that will multiply and amplify your results — but only if you take charge of it. Use it to your advantage.