How small, easy to implement changes can transform your health
This week’s blog has two purposes: to get you thinking about your environment and whether it is helping or hindering your health and fitness goals; and to let you know about the events we have coming up that will help shape a healthier spring/summer for you.
Two things I have read and listened to in the past week led me thinking about how we can bring our environment back into focus again. The first was a program called Slim by Design where the creator was slim Brian Wanksink, leading behavioural economist and food psychologist who created a 100-point checklist for clients to see if their home environment is set up to help or hinder them. In the program, he walked viewers through the house, so I thought I would pick out some highlights and discuss why they are an issue.
The second was a podcast with Omar Ganai, one of the world’s leading behaviour change experts, who spoke about triggers you can put in your environment to help promote healthier habits.
Take a walk through your house and have a think about these points:
Do you have a television and comfortable chairs in your kitchen? If you do you are creating an environment that encourages sitting with food both visible and within easy reach (recipe for disaster).
Is your kitchen the main door you use for entering the house? Often you may subconsciously grab something to eat as you make your way into the next room.
Where do you store your food? Which foods are visible can play a big role in what you choose to eat. How often have you opened the fridge door and saw a chocolate bar, then suddenly wanted it??? Keep your healthier choices at eye level and at the front of the cupboard and fridge. Store the unhealthier choices in an out of the way cupboard or at the back of the bottom shelf of the freezer. Better still try and keep your environment as free from unhealthy foods as possible.
Also keep the fruit bowl somewhere handy that you will see it a lot.
Food preparation point: keep an area clear for food prep, make sure it is well lit and clutter free with good knives close at hand.
What appliances do you have? Aim to have food blenders, slow cookers, etc. easy to access (i.e. not at the back of cupboard behind a pile of plates and pots).
Plates, bowls and glasses: The plates you use will also have a big influence on the foods you eat. Aim to use plates that are 9-10 inches with colour on the rims. Cereal bowls should be no bigger than 6 ounces.
Make sure you have a cupboard with Tupperware for storing food you have prepared or food that is being left over.
Where you eat your dinner can also be very important. Aim to eat without the TV on, perhaps listening to relaxing music. Dish the salad first and have a sharing bowl with veg in the middle of the table. Have a jug of water on the table. Do not have bottles of wine, or cans of soft drinks on the table. If you are drinking them have them in a small glass.
As we have discussed plenty of times in the past, how well you sleep can have a big impact on your health and on your food choices. Your bedroom should be your place of Zen. No TV, laptops or phones. A cool dark room, with minimum clutter. Generally, it should be a place you love spending time in, somewhere that is conducive to relaxing and ultimately supporting a good night’s sleep.
Does your environment support positive habits?
A habit is something you doing on a regular basis with a minimum amount of thought. So take a look at the set up in your environment and check if there are some things that are supporting negative habits. For example, having a biscuit tin next to the kettle…..
When looking at habit formation, Omar advises that you create some cues in your environment to support the process. For example, a post it note saying do 20 squats next to your kettle, or leave your stretching mat in the hallway and aim to do a stretch when you walk past it or having a pull up bar in your doorway so as you do pull ups as you pass under it. You could have a chair in your bedroom that you lay your gym gear on so as you can just fall out of bed and put them on (or a space that you put your bag that is packed with your gym gear for lunchtime or after work).
Ok now you have some great tips on how you can make your home more conducive to a healthier lifestyle, let’s have a look at what we have planned for spring/summer to get/keep you on track.
I put on our Facebook page last week that it would be a good idea to come up with a lent health challenge and Linda Craig one of our clients step up to the plate with a great idea – pledge to do something that will improve your health for 6 weeks and if you slip up you can donate to our chosen charity – the MS Society. So far people have pledged to walk a certain number of steps per week; not eat from the kids’ sweetie jar, work out 3 times per week and I have pledged not to munch my way through the kitchen when I come in late at night from work. I know we are now 2 weeks into lent, but you can still get involved with this fun challenge
If you want to donate pledge on our Facebook group or drop an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Following on from the success of the yoga workshop we held with Katie Jackson last year, we are hosting another event at Whitecraigs tennis club on the 18th of March 1-3pm. Katie has a gift for making yoga accessible for everyone so whether you are new to yoga or you already love it, I can guarantee you will enjoy this event. Many that attended last year have said that they found it a great way to de-stress and also many are still using the movements they learned on the day.
Our aim is to enter teams into the Hairy Haggis Relay at the Edinburgh Marathon on the 28th May 2017. All details can be found at https://www.edinburghmarathon.com/events/relay/
This is an amazing way to take part in a marathon without running the full distance yourself!
Each team has 4 runners so your team completes the marathon distance between them as follows:
Runner 1: 8.3 miles
Runner 2: 5.5 miles
Runner 3: 8 miles
Runner 4: 4.4 miles
The cost per team is around £120 including booking fees so around £30 each for entry.
We are proposing to set up a justgiving page for Playlist for Life and MS Society Scotland and the idea is that we try and raise as much money as we can for charity while getting fit and having fun along the way. With 5 + teams that means if every runner got £100 each on the page we would raise £2000. We figured that by using the same fundraising page, we can raise lots of money with no pressure on any individuals.
At this stage we are looking for notes of interest. We need people to organise a team (i.e. enter and sort out a team of 4) and we also need to hear from people who would like to be placed in a team. We have also included a section in the form for supporters and anyone who can help with admin along the way – a true team effort!
We propose to launch 12 weeks of training and advice from Sunday 5th march through our dedicated FB group. YOU CAN DO IT!!
We have designed a form for you to fill in if you would like to:
- Captain a team
- Help us in another way
The form can be found HERE
Ps if you are looking to get started in running this event is perfect for you!