To lose weight, you must make healthier food choices and burn more calories than you take in. But what determines whether you can do that? Your mindset and motivation play a role, but so does your living environment. Despite your best efforts, if your living environment isn’t set up to support your success, it will be challenging.
The environment that surrounds you influences your mood, motivation, and even the food choices you make. If you change your surroundings, you’ll have an easier time living the lifestyle you need to lose weight and control your weight after losing it. Let’s look at some ways to do that.
Do a Refrigerator and Cabinet Overhaul
It will be hard to adopt healthy eating habits if you keep your cabinets and refrigerator packed with unhealthy fare. When you have easy access to junk food, the temptation to eat it will be always there. Most people reach for foods they have the easiest access to. If the front of your cabinets and fridge is packed with ultra-processed food, you’ll eat more junk food and less healthy fare.
The solution? Do a clean sweep and donate unopened packaged foods you need to eat less of to a food shelter. Tidy up the fridge and cabinets and restock with wholesome, nutrient-dense foods, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, and nuts. Keep the healthy stuff in close reach and be sure it’s the first thing you see when you’re looking for a snack. When you open the fridge, the first thing your eyes gaze over should be something good for your body. Same with the freezer. When you open your fridge, you should see frozen fruit rather than pints of ice cream.
Buy Smaller Dishes
Does plate size matter? Yes! Eating off smaller dishes fools your eye into believing you’re eating more than you are. It’s a mind trick backed by some studies. Interestingly, the size of dinner plates has expanded as rapidly as waistlines. During the turn of the century, the average dinner plate measured 10 inches, but by 2010, it had grown to 12 inches. Serve meals on smaller plates and you’ll feel satisfied with less.
Also, choose muted shades of blue or green. These colors have a calming effect and don’t stimulate appetite, like red, orange, and yellow plates. It sounds like a small thing, but it can have an impact on how much you eat.
When you eat from a small plate, you eat a smaller portion, but your mind doesn’t perceive it’s small because it fills the plate. Portion sizes matter. One study found that people served larger food portions for lunch consumed up to 30% more food than those given smaller portions. It makes sense, doesn’t it? There’s the “clean your plate” mentality at play. We tend to eat what is put before us. If the portion size is larger, we take in more calories.
Clutter creates stress, and stress can cause you to eat more. One study found that subjects who dined in a cluttered environment with many office-related supplies by their side were less likely than those eating in a clutter-free environment to choose a healthy snack, in this case, an apple. So, clutter may also affect your food choices and how much you eat.
Also, don’t multitask when you eat. Studies show people eat more when they munch while watching television or working on a computer. Watching television or working on a computer makes it harder to eat mindfully, and mindfulness is the key to being satisfied with less. So slow down, savor, and enjoy.
Add More Natural Light to Your Home
Open the curtains and blinds in your home early in the day. Studies show that exposing your eyes to natural light early in the day helps set your internal biological clock in a manner that helps with metabolism, appetite, sleep, and weight control. If possible, get outside for a walk in the morning, so you can soak up natural light directly without a window blocking the warm rays of the sun.
Optimize Your Bedroom for Sleep
A good night’s sleep is critical for weight and appetite control. In studies, skimping on sleep enhances the release of ghrelin, a powerful appetite hormone that makes you crave sugary foods and refined carbohydrates. Plus, insufficient sleep reduces insulin sensitivity, another factor that can cause you to gain weight and worsen your metabolic health.
How can you maximize sleep? Make sure your bedroom is a haven for relaxation. Clean up the clutter and ensure you have a comfortable mattress and bedding. Studies also show many people sleep in a bedroom that’s too warm. The optimal bedroom temperature for sleep is around 65 degrees F. Make sure your bedroom isn’t any warmer than that.
Remove technology and the television from your bedroom too. Make sure your bedroom is completely dark when you turn in at night. Any light in a bedroom interferes with the secretion of the sleep hormone melatonin and makes it hard for you to drift off to sleep.
The Bottom Line
You can now make some simple changes to your living environment to help you lose weight. Losing weight starts with simple lifestyle changes. It’s not always easy when you first start, but once it becomes a habit, you’ll be glad you made these upgrades to your living environment and your waistline will thank you too.
- “A Cluttered Kitchen Can Nudge Us to Overeat, Study Finds ….” 15 Feb. 2016, npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/02/15/466567647/a-cluttered-kitchen-can-nudge-us-to-overeat-study-finds.
- “Distracted eating may add to weight gain – Harvard Health.” 29 Mar. 2013, health.harvard.edu/blog/distracted-eating-may-add-to-weight-gain-201303296037.
- “Use Smaller Plates for a Smaller Waist | SPARQ.” sparq.stanford.edu/solutions/use-smaller-plates-smaller-waist.
- “Do plate sizes affect how much you eat? | SiOWfa15 ….” 08 Oct. 2015, https://sites.psu.edu/siowfa15/2015/10/08/do-plate-sizes-affect-how-much-you-eat/.
- Barbara J Rolls, Erin L Morris, Liane S Roe, Portion size of food affects energy intake in normal-weight and overweight men and women, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 76, Issue 6, December 2002, Pages 1207–1213, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/76.6.1207