Most of us have good intentions to eat healthy to stay fit and maintain a healthy body composition (more muscle and less fat on our bodies). But, do you sometimes feel like external events are interfering with your food choices?
Triggers in our environment can play a big role in our success (or lack there of) when it comes to healthy eating. Maybe you automatically buy a soda and popcorn at the movie theater even though you just ate dinner an hour ago. On the other hand, after a great workout at the gym are you more likely to stop for a salad than fast food fries?
Knowledge is power when it comes to our habits and food triggers. So, let’s discover the environmental triggers that make you want to make unhealthy food choices, and learn to overcome them.
Change the Channel
Break the habit of snacking in front of the TV. Aim to go for an hour without eating anything. Work your way up to watching a whole movie without food or drink. Keep yourself busy by doing floor exercises during the commercials instead of heading to the refrigerator.
Check the Weather
A piping hot cup of cocoa with sugar cookies may sound very good when it’s snowing outside. A sunny beach may make you long for a margarita and corn chips. Use healthy substitutes year round like herbal tea, homemade popsicles, or fresh fruit.
Prepare for the Holidays
The winter holidays ,may seem far off, but we have to include them because they are so challenging for many people. The parties and cookies seem to be endless between November and January. Develop a plan of action before temptations arise, such as limiting yourself to one serving of dessert on Thanksgiving day.
Of course, there are festivities year round like birthday parties and networking events. Pay more attention to conversation and keep a drink like sparkling water in your hand so you’ll make fewer trips to the buffet.
Pass on Seconds
You probably eat more when you are around certain family and friends who encourage overeating. Bring a healthy dish along to share and decide ahead of time to only take one serving. Enjoy the company while you stick to your steamed vegetables.
On the other hand, think about the neighbor you see jogging each morning or the coworker who brings in a salad for lunch. Spend more time with healthy role models so their habits will rub off on you.
Engage Your Senses
Food is about more than flavor. Notice how sight, sound, smell, and touch also cause cravings. Decide if you really want a strawberry shortcake bar or you’re just reacting to the music playing on the ice cream truck.
Clear Out Your Pantry
Junk food is easier to resist when it is out of your kitchen or at least beyond easy reach. Fill your refrigerator with fruits and vegetables instead of donuts and if you want to keep some treats around, put them out of sight on a top shelf.
Eat In More
Restaurants trigger us to indulge. In fact, they have made a science out of luring you into eating more with tantalizing menus and hearty portions. Prepare more meals at home. When you eat out, set aside half your plate to take home for another meal.
Create a New Bedtime Ritual
Did your mom always give you a bedtime snack as a kid? The hours before bed can be hazardous to your diet and science firmly indicates that closing the kitchen several hours before bedtime is best for our health and waistline. Listening to an audio book will lull you to sleep faster than wolfing down leftover Chinese food.
By being aware of the environmental triggers that influence you the most, you can begin to make a plan ahead of time to avoid them or make a better choice when faced with the situation. In this was, we can relearn to eat when we are hungry instead of mindlessly grabbing a bowl of chips because a TV commercial shows a famous athlete munching on them (you know they don’t really eat that stuff!).
Tune out environmental triggers and listen to your body. You’ll eat healthier and enjoy your food more. If you need additional guidance when it comes to making health food choices, inquire about our next FREE Nutrition Workshop at the link below. You will learn the basics of macro nutrients, portion control, meal planning, and supplementing to fill in nutritional gaps. You will walk away with an individualized plan that you can implement immediately!