We often forget what we have in our environment. Let’s pretend you choose to have a couple of rice cakes for a snack. You were honestly not even craving anything bad when you opened the cupboard to grab a light cracker and then, bam! Here it is. The box of Girl Guide cookies that your spouse bought last night is sitting right there, front and centre, torturing you. You did not even know they were there until one second ago and now that is all you can think of. They have put their spell on you. If you happen to have ‘bad stuff’ in your cupboards, hide it. Make it very inaccessible and especially not visible at first glance. If you remember that they are there, make it at least hard to get to.

Set up your environment so that healthy snacks are positioned strategically to wink at you every time you open the cupboard or the refrigerator. We mentioned in a previous chapter how to prepare healthy food in advance, ready to go in your fridge in order to increase your chances of eating them.

Another way to set up your environment to serve you is to make sure the bad food is out of sight, to limit its damage on your willpower. The Girl Guide cookies need to be hidden.


An even better strategy is to avoid having them in your home altogether.  If it is there, of course you will be tempted. Duh! So next time you want to support a cause, just give them the money and leave them with the cookies.


Keep your fridge organized. Having a disorganized fridge that is full of old food can prevent you from eating well, because good food gets ‘lost’ and you may not want to deal with digging around in the messy fridge. Even if there’s healthy stuff in there, you may still grab quicker, easy-to-access food.


Be very strict with your grocery shopping. Notice when your willpower seems to be at its highest, and that is when you want to choose to make your list and grocery shop. Never go when you are hungry. Go early in the morning, after breakfast or right after lunch. Only buy food that would pass the test if you were entering a clean eating contest. If you are buying food for a special occasion, buy it for that occasion only and buy just enough so that it gets entirely consumed on event day.


If you are having people over and your guests are bringing food, cheese, bread, dessert, tell them exactly how many people are expected at the party and ask that they plan for a smaller portion, a small cake, to make sure there are no leftovers. If there are some, make sure to send the guests away with them. Do not keep compromising food in the house.


As you will learn soon in a few chapters, if you are eating well 80 percent of the time, and allow yourself to indulge 20 percent of the time, make sure you do so when you go out. Keep your own house clean of unwanted temptations. Keep your car, your couch, your kitchen chairs and stools, your office chair free of any relationship with unhealthy food. The last thing you want is to anchor the memory of a piece of pie with your favourite spot on the couch in front of the television. No wonder why you would start craving pie every time you sit on that particular spot.

If you are going to be ‘bad’, do it somewhere other than your usual environment. It also makes sure you choose individual servings. For example, it is very rare that you will go out for dessert in a restaurant and order a whole cake, or two pieces of pie. The external pressure of having to ask the waiter for another piece will help in keeping you from eating a second serving. Interesting how we would never do this in a restaurant and somehow if there is a whole pie in the fridge, we may have two or even three portions back-to-back.

Keep your ‘bad’ food out of your normal environment.


This post was an excerpt from my book THINK Yourself® HEALTHY, 27 Simple, Practical Applications for a Vibrant Life.

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