I’ve been having lots of discussions with clients recently about temptation at home, work and when out socially. It is harder to protect yourself from the outside environment but you can make small changes at home that encourage you to be healthy. There is current thinking about using your unconscious to ‘nudge’ you into making the right choices. Here are 4 ideas to encourage you to eat healthier foods, eat less, and be more active without you really noticing.
1. Out of sight out of mind – Put it away!
Be the one in the office to put the treat away in a drawer, cupboard or the bin (because of flies or food spoilage?), just do it. This works at home too. It’s best not to buy treats, but if you have them around shut them away in a tin (without a viewing window!) in the cupboard. When dishing up a meal if you have extra put the serving dish in the oven not on the table. Also freeze extras, which can be really useful after baking. The defrosting delay may make you think twice.
2. Bring out the good stuff
Keep the fruit bowl on the dinner table not the window sill or the fridge and if the apples and grapes are in front of you and washed you are more likely to snack on them. You can try this with vegetables; try leaving out washed cherry tomatoes, no need to peel carrots, or sugar snap peas. And why not leave a box of herbal tea by the kettle, or fresh water in a glass jug in the fridge.
3. Down Size
We ‘eat with our eyes’ and are more likely to think a full side plate is more food than the same amount on a dinner plate. Your dinner plate should be 26cm diameter or 10” and white. A study demonstrated that we are more likely to over serve is there is little contrast between the colour of the food and the plate. White plates contrast strongly to most food colours so make the best choice. We also drink with our eyes so try a smaller wine glass or one that is thinner, maybe even pour wine into a champagne glass. The supermarket ranges of wine glasses and dinner plates are a good place to look for small size and value.
4. Leave out visually healthy cues.
This could be a ‘good body day’ photo on your fridge, maybe one taken with you doing something active or a physical challenge. Having a photo of yourself that reminds you of a healthy time, on your fridge where you will see it constantly, will ‘nudge’ you into better decisions. Back this up by leaving your trainers in the hallway (to trip over) and lay your gym kit out the night before you plan to go.
Ready to nudge yourself? Let me know how you go.