Food is everywhere. Tasty treats stare at you through shop windows.
Soda adverts fill advertising billboards. And the local takeaway pumps
air from the kitchen out onto the street – the smell of instant satisfaction.
We try to eat healthy
food and we try to eat in moderation. But these triggers in our
environment activate our desire to eat energy-rich food. So even
though we’re not hungry, we get into the habit of picking up that
extra soda or bagel.
We can’t always avoid these triggers in our wider environment.
Instead, take a look at your immediate environment, such as your home
or office. Research shows that even small changes can make a big
difference and make weight
management easier for you.
Plan and shop for healthy meals that fill you up
- Try not to go shopping for food when you’re hungry.
- Try to buy more food that’s low in calories but high in protein
and fibre. For example, try fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs,
yoghurt, fresh meat, whole grains, beans, or lentils.
your belly and wallet happy by buying vegetables that are in season
– they are cheaper and also taste great.
- If it’s not at
home, you can’t eat it. So be mindful of what you put in your
Make it harder to find, prepare and eat tempting food at home
- Try to keep food out of eyesight at home. And if you do buy
high-calorie foods, put them at the back of the fridge or buried
away at the back of the pantry.
- Buy food that makes you
work to eat it. For example, oranges that you first have to peel, or
nuts that have to be cracked open one at a time.
strictest approach is to only keep food at home that has to be
cooked or heated before it can be eaten. This reduces the chance of
snacking between meals.
- Are there foods that you find
especially rewarding to eat? Make a habit of only eating them
occasionally, but not every day.
- It can be hard to find the
energy to cook at the end of a long day. So how about using some
hours over the weekend to cook some meals you love and store them in
your fridge or freezer?
How to feel comfortable eating out or joining a social gathering
- Call the restaurant or host ahead of time to get the menu, or
look online. That way you can comfortably plan what you will
- If you’re heading to a social event, how about offering
to bring a dish or food course? That way you can share your healthy
dishes with others.
- Try to drink still or mineral water
instead of alcoholic drinks. If you drink alcohol to relax or
celebrate, try to keep it to just one low-calorie drink a day, like
a small glass of wine.
- If anyone notices that you are
avoiding certain foods and makes a comment, you can reply with
something like: “I’m just trying to eat more healthily” or “I’m just
watching what I eat”. You don’t have to explain any more than
- Remember to be gentle on yourself. No matter what you
eat when you are out, give yourself credit for trying, and see it as
an opportunity for learning.
- If you’re going out for dinner
with friends and also want to enjoy eating and drinking, try and eat
a little less during the day or do some extra physical activity.
This can give you a buffer for these extra calories that we all tend
to consume while we are in good company.
Find simple ways to stay active
- Only a little extra physical activity can make a big
difference. And the simplest way to be more active is to fit it into
your existing routines. For example, instead of meeting in a café to
catch up with friends, grab a coffee and go for a walk.
possible, take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- If you
have to sit at a desk all day, set a reminder to stretch and move a
little every thirty minutes. It doesn’t have to be much, just fetch
a glass of water or go to the toilet. And instead of emailing or
calling a colleague, walk over and have a chat instead.
- Exercise and physical activity don’t have to be a drag. Find
something you enjoy and that fits your schedule.
Remember that no single solution is right
for everyone. Some people might find it easier to be more active, and
others might get really excited about meal prepping on the weekend.
Either way, taking control of your immediate environment is one of the
key elements to a successful weight management.
A last point is to think about the people who are close to you, like
friends, family, and colleagues. They could be a source of support and
may also benefit from the changes that you make to your environment.
Remember that no single solution is right for everyone. Some people
might find it easier to be more active, and others might get really
excited about meal prepping on the weekend. Either way, taking control
of your immediate environment is one of the key elements to a
successful weight management.