Environmental Control for Weight Control

If you are considering buying something you might overeat, try this phrase: "If its made it in the car, its gone too far."
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I have something behind my reason for wanting to share my knowledge on weight loss. I am a licensed psychotherapist with over twenty years in the field. I have specialized in the treatment of eating disorders in my private practice and have been on staff at UCLA's Obesity Clinic for the past 15 years. I was also a patient at the obesity clinic where I lost a significant amount of weight and have kept it off for 18 years. I am passionate about getting the proper information out there so more people can be successful.

In my previous blogs I have laid out the behavioral basics for successful, long term weight loss/maintenance. I'm back to give you some helpful hints on how to be successful at your weight loss resolution. This week's tip concerns what enters your home environment. One of the best ways to be successful at maintaining and/or losing weight is to make your home environment "safe". By this I mean not bringing in anything that you are likely to overeat. If you are the one doing the food shopping, then this needs to be on your mind at the market. If you are the shopee then you need to tell the shopper what is and isn't safe for you.

I personally cannot live without a daily fix of chocolate, frozen yogurt, cookies, or all of the above. I have learned, however, that I cannot handle having an entire bag of my favorite cookies in the house. Why? Because I will eat them. I don't just mean, eat a few a day (although sometimes this does happen). I mean eat all of them. Maybe not all at once but over a day or two an entire bag of cookies can be gone. I have found small bags of my favorite cookies that are safe. Even if I eat the whole thing, the damage is not too bad. The same goes for chocolate. I can't have a pound box in my house but I can go and get a few of my favorite pieces and leave the scene. If you are considering buying something you might overeat, try this phrase: "If its made it in the car, its gone too far." The other tip is to total up the calories in your head right there in the market. Calories in an entire bag of Oreos 2,405. That might just stop you.

What if you have people in your house who need to eat the foods you can't help but overeat? Maybe you can work something out. For example, my son likes gummy anything. I hate gummy anything so they are safe to have in the house for me. Maybe you can find alternatives for your loved ones that don't tempt you so everyone is happy.

The other tip for your environment is to have ready to eat low-calorie foods cut up, in small bowls, in the fridge. If you have cut up jicama, carrots, celery, miniature grape tomatoes, frozen grapes, watermelon, etc... ready to grab, you will. This I know takes time and effort to shop and chop, but it really is worth it. One of my clients said he went from being obsessed with fast food burgers at his top weight of 350 lbs. to being obsessed with buying and chopping fresh produce at his low weight of 180 lbs.

If your environment is safe, and you are concerned that you might just get your keys, get into the car and go get something; then, when you get home, store your keys in the pocket of the outfit that made you feel your heaviest. For me, I was in denial that I was that overweight until one fateful day. I was walking in a store that had dressing rooms on either side. The doors of the rooms were open and so when you glanced to the side you saw yourself reflected in other places. I saw this woman out of the corner of my eye and my immediate thought was, "She is a big lady." Then, like that moment in The Sixth Sense when you realize Bruce Willis is dead, I realized that the big lady in the mirror was wearing the same color sweater that I was wearing. A slow motion moment later, I realized that big lady was me. It was like someone had poured ice water on me. I used to hang my keys on the hanger with that sweater as soon as I got home. It worked for me.

That's it for now. Good luck and let me know how you're doing.