We’re heading into a new "season" — the mercury is dropping, we’re close to the middle of September … and it’s time to clean up your environment. There’s no need to make losing weight any more challenging.
Fortunately this can be easy and will help you tremendously in your quest to lose or maintain your weight loss.
That step is to "Clean up" and replace negative cues with more positive ones throughout the house:
The kitchen is the by far the worst location for negative eating cues. When “cleaning” the kitchen, remember the cliché “Out of sight, out of mind.”
If tempting, high sugar, high fat, high calorie foods in the house are a ‘must have,’ (kind of an oxymoron) they should not be visible. But before you automatically put them away in the ‘junk food cabinet’, consider this cabinet’s effect on your behavior as well.
Most houses have them.
It’s the place you turn to when you’re looking for a snack, the first place the kids open when they come home from school hungry, etc.
“The cabinet” contains all foods easy to reach, easy to snack on, and more likely than not, most likely to sabotage your diet.
If eliminating “the cabinet” and its high calorie items is not possible, consider moving it. Pick an out of reach, less accessible cabinet or drawer in the kitchen and switch the items in each location.
The next time you unconsciously open “the cabinet” just because, instead of finding a pantry full of high calorie foods, you’ll be faced with something different such as storage containers or spices.
This alone will provide a mental cue that you intentionally wanted to break this habit, and may lead you to choose a healthier snack, or forget the snack altogether.
Next, check the countertops.
Do you see tempting foods out in the open?
Make the switch from clear storage containers to opaque ones so food is not visible.
Anytime you walk past food that is visible, you receive a cue for food and eating. This does not mean you will act on that cue every time, but the more frequently you are cued, the more likely you are to act
Take a walk through the rest of your house. Think about your typical habits. Does walking into the living room entice you to sit in “your” favorite seat on the sofa or chair and turn on the TV? If so, make some changes.
Rearrange the furniture or make a conscious effort to sit someplace else when you watch TV to break this learned pattern of behavior.
If you own exercise equipment such as a treadmill or bike, don’t keep it hidden in the corners of your house as a clothes hanger or storage unit, move it to a key location such as the living or family room. By having exercise equipment in an enjoyable location, you are more likely to use it regularly.
Think about your normal morning and evening routine.
Eliminate the things that stall your commitment to exercise. If you typically hit the snooze button on the alarm clock instead of getting out of bed to exercise, move the clock. Place it in a location in the bedroom where you have to get out of bed to turn it off.
Do you find it difficult to keep track of your exercise clothes and shoes? Organize your exercise clothes in a drawer or section of the closet so they are easily accessible.
Create a place to keep your exercise shoes so you can always find them.
There you have it – simple tips and strategies to helping you take control of you and “spring cleaning” your house.