By: Michelle McMahon who is a Certified Health & Wellness Specialist, Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor. If you are wanting to get physically fit, live a healthier lifestyle, reduce stress, learn about nutrition and enjoy life, then you will love her sessions. She will not only help in mind and body awareness but she will empower you to go out in the day and feel great about yourself and others. Let her be your cheerleader and you will win the game of life!
Food and Activity cues are all around us. They are habits we form from our current surroundings that affect how much we eat and activity cues affect how much we move. Some cues are positive and lead to a healthy behavior. Other cues are a problem and lead us to overeat or be less active. So how do we eliminate negative cues and change them into positive ones?
What are the different food cues that make you want to eat? They can be simple and natural, such as good old-fashioned hunger. They can take on emotional properties like feeling lonely, bored, or even happy. Sight, smell, other people, and our activities all play a part in our actions of raiding the refrigerator or snack cupboard.
Identifying these cues and then finding ways to modify them will determine your success, so I challenge you to think carefully about your daily routine. Visualize yourself walking throughout your home. Does seeing the computer, television, or couch make you think of your favorite indulgent snack? When faced with a food cue, we respond without thinking. If you want to thrive in becoming a healthier version of yourself then you need to take the time to set yourself up for success.
Here are some helpful hints to understand food cues and use awareness to create positive life change:
- Stay away from your food cue. Out of sight, out of mind. No more candy dishes on the counter. If you normally stop at McDonalds on your way to work, take a different route.
- Only eat in the kitchen.
- Don’t keep sweets in the house. If you have a strong desire for ice cream then you have to go out of the comfort of your home to buy a small cone.
- Keep unhealthy foods in a hard to reach place and keep healthy foods ready and available.
- Make a rule, no eating while cooking.
- Put leftovers away before eating meals and serve your meals onto smaller plates (and smaller portions) before you put them on the table.
- Remove your plate as soon as you are finished and refrain from eating a family members’ who doesn’t finish.
- Never eat in your car, the less often you will have to clean it!
- Limit other activities while you eat, so you can thoroughly enjoy your meal and think about your body and when you feel satisfied. Eliminate the television, phone and driving which are distractions and steer us away from doing it out of habit.
- When shopping only get the items on your list and visit the grocery store after eating a meal or snack. Try not to buy an item because it is on sale or you have a coupon if it is unhealthy.
- Stay on the outside perimeter of the store.
There are also many ways to hold yourself accountable to be more active. Think of some activities you enjoy most and how to incorporate them into your daily life. If you don’t make these changes for yourself, no one else will. Be your own advocate!
- Put exercise clothing right beside your bed at night or in the front passenger seat of your car so it is a visual reminder of your good intentions.
- Enter your physical activity on a calendar, an appointment you are making with yourself.
- Subscribe to a health magazine to inspire you and give ideas.
- Put your favorite workout video on the coffee table as a reminder to use it.
- Put notes or pictures on the tv or on the bathroom mirror with your favorite quotes to keep you motivated.
- Remove cable or Netflix to watch less tv and even save money!
- Keep your bicycle ready and waiting in the garage.
- Ask a friend, neighbor or co-worker to go for a walk.
“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t. You’re right.” –Henry Ford
In life there are so many factors out of our control. Finding ways to be healthy isn’t one of them. Take control of your life and take action! Small daily changes are the key to long-term staggering results. Go out and seize the day.