Take control of your environment and build healthy habits

When you’ve decided to embark on a weight-loss programme, it’s easy to underestimate how much your environment can impact on your success. Here are some simple strategies to ensure your surroundings are helping rather than hindering you.

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Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

One thing that most people forget about when they’re trying to lose weight is their environment and how that influences and determines what they eat each day and their behaviour towards food.

Our home or work environment is not something that we think about very often but it’s really important for achieving goals because if your environment is stacked against you then it just makes it really hard to get to where you want to be.

If for example you work in an office and somebody is constantly bringing in cakes or chocolate then it’s very hard to resist temptation. Or if you’re in the habit of including treats and snacks in your weekly shop so that these things are always in the house then of course it’s going to be so easy to just munch your way through them during the day.

People often say “oh it’s for my son” or “it’s for my husband” when actually I think that’s a big excuse and it’s really for themselves!

Yes it’s true that we respond to the environment around us but we can turn this round and actually use the environment to help us rather than hinder us.

Things in our environment become visual triggers for us to eat or drink and very quickly develop into a bad habit.

But we can use visual triggers to turn things around and create good habits. Here are some ideas:

  1. Switch things around a bit at home. If you want to break a habit then put the thing that’s causing the issue in a place that’s a bit more difficult to get to. Out of sight helps it to be out of mind.
  2. Make the healthy things far more visible to you. e.g  put the fruit in a place that you can easily see it every day. Have a bottle of water on your desk and challenge yourself to drink it all in the day.
  3. This next one is a fabulous strategy and it would be a great motivator to set yourself this as a task for the week ahead. Put up a calendar in a visible place and every day that you perform your new habit, put a big cross on the calendar. It will soon make a “success chain” and psychology proves that when you have consistently marked crosses on the calendar you won’t want to break the chain.

This last simple strategy has been proven to help with procrastination and motivation.

Most people get demotivated and off-track after a bad day, which could include a bad workout, eating badly or simply a bad day at work, but this encourages you to get right back on track again because your focus is on the process of not breaking the chain and you forget about everything else. Again, the task needs to be meaningful and simple enough to get it done easily!

If you slip up, then get back on track quickly. None of us is superhuman. We all slip up and to ride the blips we need to be kind to ourselves, understand it’s going to happen and practise self-compassion. Build it into life! That’s what successful people do and you can do it too!

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