Change Your Home & Lose Weight


When making bad choices can be so easy, being healthy becomes a difficult task. A nutritious diet and physical activity are the keys to a healthy lifestyle. While achieving this may seem like a daunting undertaking, there is something you can start with today to change your life: Remodeling your home.

Over 60% of adults in Montana are overweight. Several factors can lead to weight gain: lack of exercise, low fruit and veggie intake, large portion sizes, eating out, etc. Further, our built environment plays a significant role in health issues. For instance, with high-sugar, high-fat foods readily available in grocery stores and restaurants, it’s easy to fall off the wagon. While we cannot control our outside environment, there is a lot we can do to control and improve our home environment.

Here are a few easy tips to remodel your home for a healthier lifestyle.

1. Food on the counter: It may sound too good to be true, but one of the easiest ways to increase your fruit and vegetable consumption is to put fruits and veggies on the counter. Research showed that proximity and visibility of a food increases our consumption of it. So, let’s store away chips, candies and soft drinks, and keep a pretty bowl with healthy snacks on our kitchen counters.

2. The top-shelf: Studies have shown that we are more likely to grab whatever is on the top shelf. We can make healthy choice the easy choice by moving healthy foods like fruits, yogurt and milk to the front of the top shelves of our fridge. Similarly, put unhealthy foods like chips and cookies away, and make healthy snacks available by placing them in the front row of your cupboards.

3. Re-think your dish: Over the past 30 years, portion sizes in restaurants and food packages have steadily increased. The larger amounts of foods served to us may have affected our judgment of what is a normal or healthy portion size. Surveys found that the majority of American adults attempt to “clean their plates”. The logical result of this is that we eat more when we are served more. By downsizing our dishes, we can serve smaller portions and therefore decrease our caloric intake. Consider purchasing small plates, cups and glasses. For instance, pour soft drinks only in small glasses to decrease your intake of high-sugar beverages.

4. Inefficiency: When we arrange our furniture or dishes, we usually aim for the most efficiency. While efficiency regarding cleanliness and energy use is certainly something to strive for, in other areas efficiency can actually hinder physical activity. To increase our daily activity levels and improve our health, we should consider making our home (and work office) less efficient. We can start by leaving all foods in the kitchen area and away from living areas (living room, bedroom or office). That way we always have to get up and move to enjoy a snack. To be even more inefficient, leave your cell phone in the next room instead of carrying it with you. If you want to receive the call or text message, you will have to walk. So, stay active by being inefficient.

For any questions about living healthy, you can contact Richland County Extension Agent Ludmila Keller at 406-433-1206 or e-mail at [email protected].


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