Change Your Environment To Change Your Waist Size

Change Your Environment To Change Your Waist Size

How can the layout of your kitchen or the tidiness of your desk help you lose weight?

I’m about to tell you something surprising. Tidying your desk, or moving things around in the kitchen cupboards, could help you lose a shocking amount of weight. 

But surely losing weight is just about calories. Stop eating so much, and you’ll lose weight – right?

Forget what popular diet companies tell you. Truth is, there’s a lot more to losing weight than calories. Calorie balance (or “calories in, calories out” as some call it) is key. But something else is even more crucial. Human behaviour.

The calorie aspect of fat loss would be easy if we were robots. But we’re not machines, we are humans. With all the emotions, habits, and patterns of behaviour that come with a few decades on this planet!

Let’s look at how the layout of your desk, home, and work area can short-circuit some of the habits that are keeping you chubby…

Studies show the layout of your everyday environments can have a huge impact on the amount of calories and the type of food you eat. We’re talking simple things (so simple you may not have considered them!) The items you keep out on your desk. The size, shape, and colour of your crockery. Whether you put food in cupboards or out on work surfaces at home. What you do with half-eaten packets of snack foods. 

Experts call these things “hidden persuaders”. You may not be aware of them, or you may think they are so natural there’s no need to change them. But the fact is these things are all choices, and they could be stopping you from being slimmer and healthier.

Three Ways Your Environment Could Be Keeping You Fat

1 It influences eating by increasing your consumption norms and reducing your awareness and monitoring of food intake

2 It is such ingrained behaviour it can override your best intentions (and all the diet knowledge you possess) 

3 It is a major factor behind mindless eating, which is known to increase calorie intake, portion size, and snacking

The great news is these habits can be changed. Once you know what to look for, you can start to assess your daily environment and make some smart decisions.

7 Easy Fixes To Create A Healthier Environment

1 Put tempting foods out of reach

We all have trigger foods – those foods you just can’t stop eating. Maybe yours is crisps, biscuits, granola, or even dried fruit. (Trust me, I’ve heard some weird and wonderful trigger foods!) Whatever yours are, put them out of reach. It’s unrealistic to say don’t have them in the house, especially if you have a partner or kids! So make them more difficult to see and get to. This means not leaving them out on the side. Put them in cupboards, ideally on a high shelf. Put them behind other things. And try putting them in an opaque container.

2 Use smaller cutlery and crockery

This is a neat little diet tip. Even a small difference in the size of your crockery and cutlery can massively reduce the amount you eat. I’m not saying you have to start eating breakfast out of an egg cup with a teaspoon. Just use a smaller bowl than usual. Choose regular dinner plates over the giant ones. Crockery has got bigger over the years – we just haven’t noticed. The same trick works for drinking water. If you drink from a larger glass, you’ll drink more. So use this trick to your advantage – both ways.

3 Declutter your desk

Take a look at your workspace. Is it neat and tidy? If not, declutter. Studies show people who work in cluttered, chaotic environments eat up to 44% more than people who work in a clear and spacious setting. Throw away things you don’t need. Put stuff in drawers. And take 2 minutes every evening to clear your desk. It will set you up for diet success tomorrow.

4 Half eaten packets 

What do you do with opened packs of biscuits, or half eaten family bags of crisps? This one strategy can save a ton of calories. Don’t leave packets open and out in full view on the kitchen counter/desk/living room table. Get into the habit of doing the bag up with a clip or elastic band and putting it away. And if it’s a trigger food, follow tip 1 (in a cupboard, up high, behind something else).

5 Keep desks a no-food zone

Mindless eating at work can be a killer for your diet. So don’t keep sweets, snacks, trigger foods, or easy-grab food on your desk. Put it in the kitchen at work so you have to make an effort to go and get it. Your desk isn’t the only calorie zone at work. Do you have a sweet bowl on reception? Try walking the other side of the desk so you can avoid it. And if there’s a birthday in the office, change your walking route in and out of the room so you don’t have to go past the cake table. Out of sight is out of mind.

6 Make it easier to grab good food

It’s simple to get bad food choices out of your sight (and mind). And it’s simple to put better choices in your eye line, too. Make it easier for your brain to make good choices. Did you know you’re three times more like to eat the first food you see? So think about what you see first when you open the fridge, when you walk into the kitchen, when you’re at work. Make good food choices most visible in the fridge, shelves, and cupboards. And remove all food from the kitchen worktops (apart from fruit and vegetables).

7 Make water a habit

Be honest, do you drink enough water? Hardly anyone does (myself included) unless it’s a conscious habit. Have a refillable water bottle with you all the time and fill it up whenever it’s empty. Drink from large glasses. Have water in the morning before you leave the house. Have water with you on car journeys. Make it easy to drink water, and impossible to forget!

If this kind of stuff interests you, the best person to check out is Professor Brian Wansink. His books “Mindless Eating” and “Slim By Design” are fantastic in book or audio format. This paper is a good summary of his studies into “small” environmental changes, eating behaviour, and health. 

Want a coach who can help you design your daily life with easy, small habit changes? Get in touch via email or phone 07883060108. We do weight loss, tailored to your lifestyle.