Managing Your Environment


Your surroundings can either help you control the amount of food you eat and make it easier to be more physically active OR they can contribute to poor activity and unhealthy eating habits.

When you manage your environment, you add things or take away things to make it easier to control your eating and ensure that you are active.

Control Impulse Eating

Impulse eating is eating when you aren't hungry just because you saw or smelled some food. You can use the food and physical activity diary to determine when you are most likely to impulse eat. You can then put something in place or take something away from your surrounding to cut down on your impulse eating.

For example:

  • Remove or replace candy dishes with fruit bowls to cut down on the amount of candy you may eat throughout the day.
  • If you have hidden food to eat in private, remove the food from these secret hiding places and get rid of it!
  • Keep tempting foods out of the house. Only eat them in places where you can control the quantity you eat. For example, order a one-scoop ice cream cone when you are out rather than having a half-gallon of your favorite ice cream in the freezer.
  • If you can't keep tempting foods out of the house, keep them out of sight or in a place that is difficult to reach — e.g. at the back of the cupboard behind other food containers.
  • Make tasting difficult to do: chew gum when you cook or ask someone else to do the tasting.
  • If you usually stop for something to nibble on whenever you see a certain store or pass a certain store window, change your route to work, to the store, etc.
  • If eating leftovers is a problem, ask someone to help you clean up. If no one is available, put all dirty dishes immediately into hot, sudsy water.
  • Sit as far away as possible from tempting finger foods at parties. Focus on the people or concentrate on the conversation rather than the food.
  • Have an engaging hobby to do that keeps your hands busy while watching TV. Make sure you have all the necessary supplies and that they are readily available for use.

Follow Through with Physical Activity Plans

Use the food and physical activity diary to determine what gets in the way of your physical activity plans. Then put something in place or take something away from your surroundings to support your physical activity.

For Example:

  • Put your walking shoes by the front door to serve as a reminder to take your daily walks.
  • Make physical activity easy to do. Have all your clothing and/or equipment on hand and ready to "grab and go". For example, keep all your dancing supplies together by packing your dance shoes, clothing, water bottle, etc. in one bag.
  • Make activity dates with an "activity" buddy - someone who is more committed to doing your selected activity than you are.
  • Have all the clothing, equipment, and supplies you need for seasonal activities at home. Make sure you keep them in good repair.

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