Toss out junk food
In the Habits of Health Transformational System, one of the first suggestions we make is to clean out your pantry. Toss out or donate the foods that don’t align with your new approach to fuelings, wipe everything down along the way, and restock your cabinets and refrigerator with healthy foods.
We have learned—from working directly with clients and through a mountain of research on how people make choices—that immediacy is a powerful force. If you have a box full of cookies in the next room, choosing not to reach for the cookies when you are bored or feel anxious is much more difficult. Yes, choosing to take a walk would be the healthier option, but the cookies are right there.
When we disrupt the momentum of immediacy, amazing things happen. A delay, even a small one, makes us far more likely to make the decisions that align with our health goals. This is the basis for Stop. Challenge. Choose. (check out the free ebook for more). If we can step back, we become more mindful of the situation we are in and give ourselves more power to decide what the next chapter of our story will be.
When you optimize your surroundings by cleaning out your pantries, or swapping your dinnerware for smaller plates, or moving the television out of the bedroom, the healthy choices become the more immediate options. When you don’t have sweets in the house, you have an entire drive to the grocery store to recognize that you are about to reinforce a Habit of Disease.
There’s more to this strategy than just tossing out junk food. Consider the following:
- Clean out your kitchen and pantries as we talked about. Dr. A’s Habits of Health has a full breakdown of what foods to keep and what foods to get rid of.
- Build your healthy shopping list before you go to the store. Knowing what you need to get ahead of time can eliminate impulse shopping and keep you focused.
- Buy groceries right after you have had a fueling. Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry. Eat something healthy before you leave, and keep a bottle of water nearby so that you can take a big gulp of water if you feel a craving.
- Talk to your family. If the rest of your household is not joining you on your journey (they should!), explain to them that you are trying to eliminate nearby temptations. If they need to keep sweets in the house, keep them separate from your food and perhaps even ask them to hide them if you need to.
The good news is that this gets easier. Every time you successfully make the healthy choice, the next choice will come more naturally, and eventually the process of eating healthy and shopping healthy will become automatic. In the meantime, lean on the tips I have shared here, and talk to your health coach for more ideas as well.