Though your home is the one environment you have most control over, my patients often struggle to take charge of the foods that are available at home.
I tell them that successful weight management occurs when you can better control all the ‘eat now’ and ‘eat more’ temptations in your home.
If you’re interested in making your home a safer haven when it comes to your health, here are some tips to guide you:
1 – Clear Home of Less Healthy Foods
Eating more healthfully will be easier when you’re not surrounded by the foods that keep calling out your name.
Chips, cookies, candies, ice cream and soda are some examples. Know that you can still enjoy these foods outside of the house in an empowered, fun and social way.
2 – Find Healthier Substitutes so You Don’t Feel Deprived
Deprivation is not the name of the game when it comes to healthy weight loss. Instead, it’s important to identify healthier substitutes for the foods you crave.
In my self-help book, Six Factors to Fit: Weight Loss that Works for You!, you can find lists for healthier ways to satisfy some common cravings:
- Sweet cravings
- Salty and crunchy cravings
- Savory or creamy cravings
- Sugary beverage cravings
If you find stress is causing you to eat the wrong kinds of foods at home, you may need to find healthier ways to regulate your mood.
3 – Make Healthy Options the Easiest Choice
It’s true that some of your family members may insist on keeping certain treat foods at home. It’s also a given that at holiday times, foods you crave may come inside your home.
That’s why you also need to try to limit the food cues around your home that keep tempting you to eat.
To nudge better eating habits, here are some things you can start doing today:
- Keep tempting treats out of sight on a high shelf in opaque containers or even in another less accessible room like the laundry room.
- Clear counters of snack foods and sweet treats and replace them with a fruit bowl.
- Remove candy dishes from your living areas or fill them with potpourri.
- In the refrigerator, move produce from the crisper drawer to the eye-level shelf, and move less healthful foods to the crisper drawer.
- When saving leftovers, wrap healthier foods in the clear wrap so they’re visible and the less healthy foods in aluminum foil.
Know that your goal is not to be perfect or create the perfect home.
Instead, you can use the 80/20 rule whereas if 80% of the time you’re eating healthy foods, it’s okay if 20% of the time you’re eating less healthy foods.
Food can still be comforting, be pleasurable and taste good, but you need to work on taking back control so food doesn’t have so much power over you.
Making your home a safe haven can help set you up for weight loss success.
Robert Kushner, MD