I love the heat of summer, so although there is much to love about fall – football, cider, pumpkins, boots, etc. – I cannot say I look forward to fall. I certainly relish it once it arrives though, because fall also brings tailgating, Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasts, and the promise of Christmas parties. It can be a dangerous season for dieting, especially combined with more inclement weather which tempts us to stay inside and inactive. At the advent of the autumn season, I encourage you to prepare your home to help you meet your weight loss goals throughout the cooler months when you will likely be spending more time inside.
Kitchen: Clean out the pantry and fridge, eliminating temptations. Place the healthiest options within sight and easy reach. Take the fruit out of the crisper and put it on the top shelf or on the counter. Make it easy to grab smaller plates, bowls, and flatware. According to Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink, when we choose a 12-inch plate over a 10-inch plate we are likely to eat up to 22 percent more, we eat up to 14 percent more using a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon, and we will fill a shorter, wider cup 30 percent more than a taller, thinner cup.
Dining room: Clear the table so you can sit and focus on what you are eating. Do not eat in front of a television! Consider decorating your eating space in cool colors. Warm colors such as red and yellow have been shown to increase appetite and consumption of up to a third more food.
Living room: Open the blinds and turn on the lights for more energy. We are often tempted to eat more in darker environments. Turn down the thermostat to burn more calories as your body works harder to warm itself; you will likely also be inspired to move more. Lose your remote so you must get up to change the channel. Even better, make sure there is room in front of the television for sit-ups, pushups, or dumbbell exercises, which can easily hide under the couch or in a cabinet. Consider peppermint scents to freshen your living spaces which some research has suggested decreases appetite.
Exercise room (or wherever you exercise in your home) – Take down the mirrors, and you may find that you exercise more often and more intensely without being able to see yourself.
Bathroom – Post a short list of simple exercises you can do while you brush your teeth or dry your hair. Consider plies, leg lifts, calf raises, etc. The college professor that shared that tip with me has not seemed to age at all in the last decade, so I think I will continue to follow her advice.
September 28th, 2011