The environment directly affects our behavior. But once you tweak it a bit, you may find it easy and simple to stick to a proper diet. If you swap a huge plate for a smaller one, for instance, you start out eating less. Find out the rest of the recommendations in this article.
Small changes in the environment will help you stick to good habits with ease. It does not matter what area of life we are talking about. You’ll find advice on how to start eating healthily down below. But the principle that underlies all of these strategies can be applied to develop other good habits or quit bad ones.
Read also: 10 Foods Rich in Protein and Amino Acids
1. Eat from small plates
The serving size increases with the size of the plate. Therefore, you will also eat more. Research by Brian Wansink and a team of psychologists found that if you use a 25cm plate instead of 30cm, you will eat 22% less food in a year.
As you read this, you might be thinking, “I can just put less on a big plate.” But it’s not that simple. And the illustration below illustrates why. When you eat a small portion from a large plate, you will feel like you have not eaten enough, and therefore you will think that you are not full. But one has only to replace the plate, and after eating, you will feel full. In the image below, the circles are identical, but your brain (and stomach) does not perceive them as such.
2. Keep water close at hand
When you are busy with anything, you frequently relieve your thirst by drinking a glass of soda or coffee without giving it any thought. But try always carrying a bottle of plain water with you. For example, put it on your desk at work. When water is readily available, you will drink it more frequently than not very healthy drinks.
3. Use tall, narrow glasses instead of short and wide glasses
If you wish to consume less soda or booze, use tall, narrow glasses. Look at the picture. Which line you think is longer – vertical or horizontal?
In fact, both lines are the same length. But our brains tend to overestimate vertical lines. In other words, it will seem to us that there is more drink in a tall glass than in a wide one. Therefore, you will drink less from a tall, narrow glass. Research confirms that people drink 20% less from a tall glass than from a wide glass.
4. Use plates that contrast strongly with the food
When the plate’s color matches the color of the food, you will automatically impose more on yourself because it is more difficult for your brain to distinguish a serving from a plate. For this reason, it is preferable to use blue and green plates; they contrast strongly with pasta or potatoes (which means you put less of them), but practically do not contrast with herbs and vegetables (most likely you will put more of them).
5. Store healthy foods in a visible place
For instance, put a cup of nuts or fruit on the shelf next to your front door or wherever you walk before leaving your home. When you’re hungry, and in a hurry, you usually grab the first thing that comes along. Make it a healthy snack.
6. Store junk food in foil
And healthy products are best stored in transparent packaging. There is some truth in the adage, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Frequently, the brain makes food decisions based on what it observes with the eyes. So, keeping unhealthy foods closed and in places, you rarely look at will make you less likely to want to eat them.
7. Put healthy food in large containers and packages, and junk food in small
Large boxes and containers constantly catch your eye and take up space in the kitchen. The advice’s essence is simple; you notice the container and, most likely, eat it. Small jars and boxes can hide in the kitchen for several months. Just look at what has been sitting idle in your kitchen for a long time; most likely, it is something in small packages.
And additional advice, If you buy a large box of junk food, pack the contents into small containers and Ziploc bags. This will facilitate your ability to control the portion size and not eat too much at once.
8. Remember the “half plate” rule
When serving yourself lunch, have vegetables or fruits on one half of the plate. The other half should be occupied by everything else.
9. To buy only healthy food in the store, use the “outer ring” rule
The strategy’s essence is simple; when you come to the supermarket, you do not need to wander down the aisles. Walk around the outer perimeter of the store. As a rule, useful food is placed there; fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, nuts, dairy products. So you’ll purchase healthy meals, which implies that you’ll eat well.
How to change the environment to improve other areas of life
When you try these strategies, you will see that their work principle comes down to a simple rule; we add extra steps between ourselves and unwanted behavior. Between ourselves and a good habit, we get rid of intermediate steps.
- When we store junk food in foil, we add another step; to see the dish; you have to unfold the foil, see what is in there, and decide whether it is there or not. When we store healthy foods in transparent packaging, we see what is inside and immediately go to the last step: decide whether to eat or not.
- Using small plates adds one step between you and the habit of eating a lot. If you want to eat more, you will have to go to the kitchen again and fill your plate.
Other facets of life can benefit from this strategy as well. In order to stop a habit, increase the number of intermediate steps between you and the unwanted behavior.
Conversely, if you want to develop a healthy habit, minimize the distance between it and you. For example, if you want to run in the morning, prepare your shoes and clothes in the evening. That way, there is one step less between you and your workout.
Adapted and translated by The Cop Cart Staff
Sources: Life hacker