Tips for Creating an Environment for Successful Weight Loss

by jamie on August 14, 2013


Does the environment at home,  work,  school, restaurants, friend’s homes, etc.,  make it easy for you to follow up on your good intentions in regards to permanent weight loss? Or is navigating them like trying to get through a mine field full of goodies and temptations displayed everywhere?

If you have high cholesterol, diabetes symptoms, heart disease or other health-related issues, you know that it is imperative that you make healthier choices.

Our surroundings impact how successful we can be.  If  your environment doesn’t support your wishes for healthy weight loss,  you can make changes to your environments so that they support your good choices and the changes can even help decrease the likelihood of making choices that you may regret later.


Environmental Control Tips

Making it convenient to be successful with your weight loss and maintenance efforts is what Environmental Control is about. Below are some tips to help you take some things out of your environment as well as to add some things to your environment that will make it easier for you to be successful.


Taking things OUT of your environment


Food Related:

-Store food in opaque containers in cupboards to avoid being cued by the sight of them

-Keep all food out of sight and off counters or tables

-Avoid restaurants with only high-fat or high-calorie offerings

-Avoid bringing  food home that you cannot control, even if it is for your spouse or kids. They can always get treats somewhere else.

-When eating out, ask that the bread and butter or chips be served with dinner, not before, or even not at all if you have a difficult time controlling the amount you eat.

– Ask that your soup, salad or entree be brought when others’ food is served, no matter if others are ordering high-fat appetizers or salads/soups, to avoid munching on bread or chips mindlessly

-Limit alcohol consumption

-Re-route yourself to avoid areas at work where junk food is in plain view

-Decline offers for high-fat lunches, potlucks and all-you-can-eat buffets

-Put food away after meals to avoid nibbling or, ask someone else to put food away

-Serve meals from the stove instead of family style-which can encourage second helpings


People Related:

-Avoid non-supportive co-workers, friends and family and have something rehearsed to say when they encourage you to eat something that does not support your healthy choices

-Decline offers for “lunch” or “coffee”-instead suggest a walk, golf, tennis or gym date


Putting things INTO your environment:

Food Related:

-Preplan your menu and shop from a list, avoiding the aisles of the store where your trigger foods are placed

-Purchase lots of vegetables that take little or no prep

-Have a CSA box delivered, encouraging you to use the produce delivered

-Preplan your day’s food intake and follow through

-Prepare meals ahead of time and eat within a few days or freeze for later

-Preplan your day’s snacks and label the time to be eaten (if you need to)

-Eat something before a social event if hungry to avoid impulse eating

-Keep low-fat food in the car or your bag for times when there is a lapse between meals or snacks when you might become hungry and be susceptible to impulse foods

-Purchase individually wrapped desserts or snacks to control portion size and intake

-Place a large glass of water on your desk to remind yourself to drink water

-Eat protein at meals and snacks to control hunger levels

-Choose restaurants with lower-fat and lower-calorie items or check online for menus for good choices and decide what you will order before you go so you will not be tempted by impulse decisions

-Stock up on lower-fat and lower-calorie convenience meals for quick lunches at work or quick dinners

-Purchase healthy cookbooks such as my recent cookbook, Livin’ Lean with Trader Joe’s, which includes two 1400-calorie menu plans and shopping lists. Purchase cookbooks  with nutritional analysis so you can make healthier meals and snacks.


Exercise Related:

-Walk or bike partway (or all the way) to work or to the store, post office, etc.

-Use the stairs partway or all the way instead of the elevator or escalator

-Walk at lunchtime or walk while meeting with co-workers or friends

-Keep your exercise gear in your car or bag to make it convenient to walk, rollerblade, etc.

-Put exercise equipment in the TV area and exercise while watching TV

-Purchase exercise DVDs and use them!

-Join an exercise class, program or gym and go at least 3 times a week

-Cultivate an exercise buddy

-Plan vacations with a variety of physical activities available

-Play lively music while taking a break and dance for a few minutes


Other Related:

-Have cut up vegetables to nibble on while preparing meals if you are hungry or tend to nibble while cooking

-Turn off food commercials (or record programs to avoid commercials)

-Spend time with wellness-oriented people and groups

-Give and request non-food gifts

-Practice deep breathing before eating, especially when anxious

-Eat only in one place at home and make sure you are seated (make eating somewhat inconvenient if you tend to nibble in several locations in the house or at the kitchen counter)

-Keep food records either with a paper and pen or on a hand-held device or computer

-Join a wellness-oriented group or meet-up or form a healthy cooking group and/or exercise group

-Hire a weight management coach to be accountable to


Copyright Jamie Davidson, 2013


What are some ways that you create a healthier environment for your weight loss success?


{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a comment!

Previous post:

Next post: