A new approach to New Year's Resolutions

Instead of relying on willpower, try altering your environment to help you shed pounds.

It’s that time of year again! The holidays are wrapping up and there are no more excuses or distractions to keep us from remembering that it is, once again, time to set new resolutions and get in shape.

The newsstands are packed with “New Year, New You” covers that promise to shrink your waistline and reduce the number on the scale with a magic diet. While it drives me nuts to see silly fad diets pop up everywhere, I do love that everyone is inspired and focused on their health and nutrition.

This year I’m going to challenge you to take a slightly different approach to reaching your goals. Instead of focusing on yourself, focus on your environment. Making changes to the world around you is much easier then mustering the willpower to refrain from eating high-calorie foods. Mindless eating is a huge contributing factor to weight gain and can easily be fixed with a few small changes in your environment. Think of it as a fish being taken out of a swampy tank and put into a big clean tank. That little fish will be happier, more active, and healthier in it’s new environment!

Here are five simple tips to reach your goal by living in a healthier environment.

1. Clear the counters and coffee tables. Having snacks on the counter and table makes it easy to walk by and grab a handful with out thinking. You may not be hungry, but when you see the bag of chips on the counter it’s hard to walk by. Avoid mindless eating by getting rid of candy bowls, and other visible snack foods on the counter. Replace it with a jump rope or a set of dumbbells instead!

2. Don’t shop in bulk. Saving money is great, but NOT when it comes to oversized bags of chips, crackers, pretzels and other proceeded foods. Buy beans, grains, veggies, and other healthy foods in bulk but stick to the single portion size when it comes to the not-so-healthy processed snacks. Or, better yet, don’t buy them at all!

3. Out of sight out of mind. Set aside an inconvenient place for foods that you are trying to eat less of. In a perfect world, candy, cookies, chips, etc wouldn’t land in your grocery cart much less your kitchen, however, let’s get real, it happens. Rather then rely on willpower, store snack food in the pantry on a top shelf that requires you to pull out a step stool, in a cabinet in the garage, basement or guest bedroom. Out of site and out of mind is one thing, but completely inconvenient to grab is even better!

4. Size matters. The size and the color of your dishes make a difference. Believe it or not, if your plate is the same color of your food, you are likely to serve yourself 18% more. Think twice before you pile rice or pasta on your white dishes! To avoid the portion control issue all together, eat your carbs in an 8oz coffee mug instead of on a plate. Get in the habit of using a mug for your cereal in the morning, and your rice and pasta in the afternoon. Save the big dishes for salads and lean proteins.

5. Chew gum! To lessen cravings and late night snacking chew peppermint gum. The fresh peppermint taste clashes with many foods making the thought of snacking less appetizing while curing the need to chew! With your newly cleaned countertops there will be plenty of room for a little pack of gum!


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