Yes, we are products of our environment. Our brains seek routine to make mental processing easier. Without knowing it, our minds are finding short cuts, building habits, and setting up routines based on our environment. This is incredibly useful if you are trying to lose weight this year. Just small changes in what and who is around you can seemingly bring effortless results.

If you are overweight, pay attention to:

  1. the size and fitness level of your co-workers, family, friends
  2. how often does your circle go out to eat?
  3. does your social circle participate in sedentary or active entertainment options?
  4. the eating habits of those around you-do they always order dessert; do they always eat everything on their plate; do they eat quickly?
  5. what is expected of you-work, go to all the kids activities, volunteer at a community center, keep up with the latest shows and news.
  6. are the people you surround yourself with positive and goal-oriented or negative and complacent?

Inactivity, poor food choices, and stress lead to excess weight gain and health issues. It’s easier to change your environment than to change you. Those around us have influence that sometimes goes unnoticed. Try to pay attention to how you may be adopting the habits of those around you. Instead of giving them power to derail your goals, try changing something or someone in your environment.

Find one thing in your daily environment to change this week:

  1. spend less time with negative people
  2. invite a friend on a walk around the mall instead of sitting in a bakery over muffins and coffee
  3. find your fit co-worker and eat lunch with her-mimic her healthy eating habits
  4. say no to one activity that is too much-one that makes you too busy and stressed
  5. hide all junky snacks and keep fresh fruit and veggies ready to go in clear containers in the fridge

It may seem daunting to say no to something that has been in your routine for a long time. If “no” is too much of a step, try moderation.

  • “Yes, we can go out to eat.” Mentally you plan to order water and a veggie/protein option.
  • Say yes to the friend that shares too much baggage and stress but limit the time to 30 min for coffee.
  • Say yes to the party but eat a healthy dinner beforehand and choose just 1 alcohol beverage.

Small changes to your environment add up to huge weight loss and health gains over time.