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Lifestyle: Environmental Food Cues
By Denise Shields, Profile Coach, Sioux Falls, SD
Did you know that the environment around you plays a big role in your food choices you make each day? Each day we encounter environmental food cues almost everywhere we look. Environmental food cues are factors that can influence your food intake – the amount, kind and frequency. The effects of food cues may have a subtle but powerful influence on our decisions regarding what to eat and drink. Cues can come from a variety of sources: Maybe it’s the smell of popcorn at the movies, the advertisement for soda during a television program or the over-sized plate or bowl used at restaurants. All of these “cues” can influence the amount an individual consumes. So, the question is, what can we do to resist all these cues around us to help make better food choices, consume an appropriate amount of calories and prevent “mindless eating”?
- Be mindful about your eating environment – for each meal eat in a consistent place that is conducive to a good eating experience – not in front of the
TV or in your bedroom. If you have to eat at your desk, be sure to move work out of the way.
- Use environmental cues to your advantage. Place your comfortable walking shoes where you can see them so you’re reminded to walk. Keep healthy food
choices on hand and make them visible. Place fruits and vegetables in a highly visible place, such as on the counter or on the middle refrigerator
- Avoid going to places on an empty stomach – especially the grocery store. If you have an event that involves eating, be sure to have a healthy snack or
even a meal replacement shake prior to the event. This certainly will encourage you to be vigilant and avoid mindless snacking that can sabotage your
weight loss goals.
- Be cognizant about your plate and utensil sizes – experts suggest using a 10” plate for dinner – this will encourage realistic portion sizes and help
you know what a typical and appropriate serving looks like.
- Have a plan – you know what gets you into trouble. Learn from the mistakes of the past and anticipate what you need to be successful when an environmental cue strikes. Have “emergency” options (safe restaurant order, bars/shakes at work or in the car, gum or Shapewise chews) available to keep you on track.
- Avoid going to places on an empty stomach – especially the grocery store. If you have an event that involves eating, be sure to have a healthy snack or even a meal replacement shake prior to the event. This certainly will encourage you to be vigilant and avoid mindless snacking that can sabotage your weight loss goals.
Activity: Keeping Fit and Staying Warm during Winter – It Can Be Done.
By Hanna Grinaker, Profile Coach, Fargo, ND
Although you may want to stay snuggled up in your warm bed, winter shouldn’t be a time where your fitness plans go into hibernation. If you’re anything like me, winter weather can really put a damper on your workout plans. But winter can be the perfect opportunity to mix up your workouts, get creative with new ways to challenge your body and even reignite your love of fitness!
- Change your mindset: In order to keep myself on track to stay active, I challenge myself to sit down and revisit my goals. From there, I plan out what
I’d like to accomplish during the next few months.
- Set some little goals to help you achieve a bigger goal: Setting a SMART goal that you break down into smaller, achievable actions steps will help you
stay focused and on track.
- Invest in warm clothing: Start with garments that are synthetic and have “wicking” power—the ability to move moisture from your skin and pass it
through the fabric where it can evaporate. Next, add a middle insulating layer—sweaters and vests to trap your body heat. Finally, finish off with a
protective layer—generally a shell and pants– that can block the wind and repel snow.
- Set up an inexpensive home-gym: Whether you pop in a workout DVD, invest in a few pieces of fitness equipment or even just use your body weight to get
in a killer workout.
- Get creative: If you’ve never been a winter fan, start focusing on what you do love about it and how this time of year provides new opportunities for
fitness and health. Build a snowman, make a fort, shovel—the options are endless!
- Stay safe: First of all, it is important to dress appropriately for cold weather. You should also stay close to home, carry a cell phone with you in case of an emergency or let friends and family know what you are doing and where you are going.
This is the most wonderful time of the year so get out and enjoy it!