No really, hear me out.
On a daily basis there are a whole host of forces conspiring against us and preventing us from living our healthiest lives. Busy work days make getting to the gym, much less preparing a healthy meal, HARD. For whatever reason, unhealthy choices always seem to be the easier ones, and in our hectic, non-stop, balls-to-the-wall lifestyles, easy will win over hard any day. Why take the time to prepare a snack when a vending machine down the hall has 10 candy bars ready and waiting? Why fix a home cooked meal after working a full day when drive-through fast food restaurants are a dime a dozen?
Most of us spend the majority of our hours outside of work at home, so our houses should serve as an escape from the lure of unhealthy habits and the ease of eating convenience or fast foods. But if your home isn’t set up right, it could be encouraging bad habits. Winning this battle often means restructuring our home environment to protect yourself from those unhealthy habits and a sedentary lifestyle. From organizing your kitchen to your thermostat setting, read more to discover how you home may be causing you to pack on the pounds.
YOUR CABINETS ARE OVERFLOWING:
If your cabinets are so stuffed that you have to put food on the counter, your setting yourself up to give into a craving. If you walk by a bag of potato chips, its scientifically proven that you can’t not eat them if you see them. A handful here and there and suddenly it’s not even lunch and you’ve already eaten and entire party sized bag of lays salted.
THE FIX: Clean out your pantry on a regular basis (I feel like I sound like a broken record, because so much of my advice revolves around cleaning regularly). Get rid of stuff you don’t like or that’s expired, even the healthy stuff.
SHOW OFF THE GOODS(TUFF)
If your healthy foods are in the fridge, you are less likely to chose them. I am not sure what it says about us that even the act of opening the fridge will deter us from getting the baby carrots out, but do yourself a favor and put fruits and vegetables that don’t need to be refrigerated in a pretty bowl in plain sight.
IT’S GETTING HOT IN HERE
Ok, I am not sure I am totally on board with this one, but SCIENCE, so here you go. Apparently, setting your thermostat somewhere in the 70’s is a surprising contributor to obesity. Your body doesn’t have to work to warm itself up and as a result, your metabolism sputters.
THE FIX: Turn down your thermostat a few degrees. Being cold activate your brown fat, which spurs your metabolism and improves glucose sensitivity. Researchers say you will adapt to the chillier temp. Skepticism. If anyone loses weight from turning their AC down, please let me know because I find this one highly unlikely.
THE TV IS CENTER STAGE
Or, your prioritize sitting on your butt over interacting with others. Ouch. Ok, no one go in my living room because I am definitely guilty of this. My cozy setup enables me to be sedentary, even encourages laziness. Also, I like my couch potato set up so it’s unlikely to change. Do as I say and not as I do.
THE FIX: Group arrangements of seating so you can readily interact with others and focus on wide views that inspire movement to other spaces or nature.
TURN OFF THE BOOB TUBE
Raise your hand if you aren’t quite ready to remove your perfect sloth tv den from your home. How about just from a few rooms? More TV watching is associated with the risk of being obese, because screen time is sedentary time. Most of us watch things we don’t like simply to fill the time (cough, real housewives, cough).
THE FIX: You don’t have to get rid of TV completely. However, consider removing the one from your bedroom (experts say to keep this area for sex and sleep only) and kitchen (TV encourages lingering and snacking). Then, be choosier with your shows, giving up those you feel ho-hum about and enjoying the ones you really love. Cut down on your TV time and you’re more likely to be more active without even trying.
CONFESSION: I actually tried to do this once by setting a four hour sleep timer so I wouldn’t watch more than 4 hours of TV a night. It’s embarrassing how often the FOUR HOUR timer would turn the TV off and I would TURN IT BACK ON. That means that four hours of TV watching a night wasn’t enough for me. I’m going to throw out all of my TV’s now in shame. It did, however, make me more aware of how much time I was wasting away sitting in front of mindless shows.
I can’t tell you how many nights I stayed up way past my bedtime binging on episodes of Friends or Parks and Rec that I had already seen a million times, because the TV was on when I went to bed. I haven’t done that in over a year since I moved the TV out of my room, and as a result I am a much more productive and well rested human being. I just realized this as I was writing this article and now I am VERY proud of myself for my healthy life choices. Lets pretend I don’t scroll through Instagram for at least an hour every night.
THE EXERCISE EQUIPMENT IS HIDDEN AWAY
So on the one hand, we will tell you to hide exercise equipment for showings and open houses, but now you are going to tell me to put it out? Make up your mind! Contradictions abound but sticking exercise stuff in a dusty basement makes it much harder to use. When you have a choice between comfy couch and dark spider basement, the couch will win every time.
THE FIX: Keep your dumbbells next to your couch so you’re reminded to use them while you watch TV. Set up equipment like a yoga mat or exercise bike in a space in your home you want to be in—like by a window. But not when your house is for sale. Real life rules no longer apply when you are selling your house.
FALLEN INTO THE WRONG CROWD
Don’t blame me, blame James O. Hill, PhD, director of the Colorado Nutrition Obesity Research Center. “You’re going to behave similarly to the people you spend time with.” If your friends are more the type to sit around and drink beer and eat chips, then you will be, too.
THE FIX: Okay, no one’s saying to lose your friends—no matter how bad their health habits. But maybe also have friends who are doing the right thing, and have them over, too. If they’re more active and like to eat nutritious foods, you’re more likely to adopt their habits. Conversely, their attitude can rub off on your less-than-virtuous pals.
DON’T BE DIM
Dark spaces have a tendency to make us snack more and sit more. They make us cozy and sleepy. On the contrary bright light spaces are energizing and healing.n one study, sleep-deprived adults who were exposed to dim light in the morning had lower concentrations of the fullness hormone leptin, while those in blue light (the kind from energy-efficient bulbs) had higher leptin levels.
THE FIX: When you wake up, open your shades to allow natural sunlight in and turn on lamps and overhead lights. Bonus: It’ll also help you wake up faster. So, if you are looking for more energy, motivation, and happiness add some views to the outdoors, add some natural lighting, and watch your figure shout for joy!
GO THE F TO SLEEP
Seriously, doctors keep saying this and everyone keeps ignoring them. Very few of us get enough sleep, and when you don’t get enough sleep, your body scrambles hormone levels that control hunger, making you crave junk food (among the myriad of other awful problems caused by chronic sleep deprivation).
THE FIX: Make your bedroom a perfect sleeping oasis, whatever that means to you: get rid of the TV, put up black out blinds, get a fancy sound machine, or kick out your snoring husband (my mom really did this). Adequate sleep is literally the most important gift that you can give yourself to encourage a healthier lifestyle. Make it a priority. Well rested? You have energy to hit the gym before work, you have energy to fix a healthy dinner, you have energy to give to your family. See where I am going with this? One healthy choice that leads to a snowball of all these others, all because you turned of reruns of SVU. You’re welcome.