Train your environment and your habits will follow.
Just about everyone wants to change something about their body—tone up, lose weight, get stronger, eat healthier. Changing how you think is hard. Changing your environment isn’t. By training your environment, your habits follow. Here are 10 strategies that’ll help you you improve your lifestyle and transform your body, no willpower (or gym membership) required!
1. Keep the ice cream, cookies, and chocolates –your trigger foods— out of the house
Make “laziness” work for you by making it harder and more inconvenient to reach for high-calorie, low-nutrition, easy-to-overeat foods. Make these foods special treats for you AND your little ones.
If you want sweets, you have to go get them. At 9 PM, when the house is finally quiet and you’re proud to have made it through another day of parenting and quarantine, there are no “reward” foods tempting you in the pantry.
- Fit tip: Keep a colorful assortment of fresh fruits around for dessert instead. Or pick a non-food item as ‘reward’ for getting through another groundhogs day (manicure, relax with a favorite book, listen to a meditation app…)
2. Use a meal plan
Don’t make fresh decisions every day, or keep meal choices totally open-ended all the time. Instead, make decisions in advance and work from a template.
- Fit tip: Every few days, sketch out the meals you and your family will eat for the next few days. (Your child’s leftover chicken fingers are not an ideal dinner.) Check the list daily so you know:
- what to buy at the grocery store;
- what to pre-prep;
- what meal you’ll eat at what time (or when you’re really hungry).
3. Keep chopped, ready-to-eat vegetables in the fridge
Put them front-and-center so you see them and can get to them easily.
- Fit tip: Pick one day (in my house it’s Sunday) where you wash, peel and chop all your veggies and store then in snack size containers for the week.
4. Keep a batch of cooked grains handy
Whole grains take time to cook, but if you make a batch on Sunday, you’ll have it in the fridge to use in grain bowls, salads, or a side dish all week long. In my house we eat quinoa 2-3 times a week. A little sprinkle of olive oil, salt & pepper, and it makes a great base to seasonal roasted / sautéed veggies. Add diced avocado, your favorite lean protein and you have a quick, super food dish.
- Fit tip: Make two batches, and portion one out by the cupful to keep in containers in the freezer. Brown rice and quinoa both reheat nicely in the microwave.
5. Don’t be hungry and in the grocery store at the same time
Treat grocery shopping like a surgical operation: Have a plan (like your meal list from Tip 2). Get in and get out as efficiently as possible—which may not be too hard these Covid days.
- Fit tip: Focus on the perimeter — the produce and meat sections. Don’t even go down the processed food aisles, so you won’t be tempted, and your child doesn’t throw a tantrum because you passed the Oreos. Alternatively, sign-up for a grocery delivery service like Peapod, Amazon Fresh or Instacart.
6. Keep workout gear in your face
Have a resistance band, a dumbbell or two, and a mat in your home or office so you’re more tempted to use them. I have a foam roller and a kettlebell laying out in my home office — now workout space— and use them just about everyday.
- Fit tip: Do “trigger training”: Leave the gear in various places throughout your house, and whenever you pass one of them, do a few reps. Use your infant as a weight. Over the course of the day and week, all the reps will add up quickly without eating up too much time and you’ll feel motivated knowing you got something in.
7. Designate a workout station for gear & lay out your workout clothes the night before
Your workout station should include everything you need for your workout—sneakers, water bottle, mat, headphones, hairbands, etc. It makes it easier to get up for an early morning workout, or end of the day when everything is prepped and ready to go.
- Fit tip: Keep your workout gear in eye sight— just seeing it out may prompt you to do a little bit more. My son wears a fresh pair of shorts and tee shirt to bed so he can skip the “getting dressed” step in the morning. This might sound extreme, but he’s on to something. He’s ready to go as soon as he wakes up!
8. Schedule workouts like you schedule meetings
Put them on your calendar and treat them like any other appointment.
- Fit tip: Put workouts on your family & work calendar. It took my husband and I over two years after the boys were born to create a regular workout schedule for the two of us. We split the early weekday mornings between us, and negotiated when necessary to protect our precious workout time.
9. Move social gatherings and work meetings outdoors
Make your next date, or meet-up outside (power walk) or try out a new live-streaming class together.
- Fit tip: This goes for professional work, too. Instead of sitting at your desk, don your headset and make it a walking meeting for fresh air and movement.
10. Create your team—turn family and friends into coaches
To create a supportive environment, be explicit with loved ones that you’re trying to eat better and get fit — and why. They don’t have to participate, but ask them to help and support your goals.
- Fit tip: Involve your family in goal-related activities, such as menu planning, meal prep, and rep counting. Lead by example, your kids will love to do squats and eat veggies just like mom and dad.
By changing your environment you’ll be able to optimize opportunities to eat healthier and lead a more active lifestyle—and ultimately transform your body—no willpower required. Choose 3-4 strategies above and start to be the change so that you can be the best version of you.
Lots of people benefit from extra guidance and accountability when they want to improve their fitness and nutrition —even coaches like me! Let Coach Cassandra and AMC help you be the best version of yourself. You deserve it, now more than ever!
BRAND NEW SUMMER 2020—
The Healthy Moms’ Hangout is AMC’s new monthly membership program designed to provide accountability and motivation for moms to get on track and maintain healthy habits.
Healthy Mom Hangout kicks off June 1, 2020. New members can join any time.
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