If you constantly find yourself reaching for the biscuit tin and you don’t know why what you may not realise is that it’s not all about willpower!

Set up your Environment for Success

When your environment is constantly directing you towards choices you don’t want to make you will cave in eventually!


The key concepts are

  • if you don’t want to do something – make it harder to do

  • if you do want to do something – make it as easy as possible



Most of us will eat everything we are served — however big the portion is.

If we are served a small bag of crisps, we’ll eat that. If we get out a family bag of Dorito’s, we’ll polish off the whole lot.


Consistently eating bigger portions makes them seem “normal”.

Our great-grandparents would be amazed how big a ‘grab bag’ of crisps is!


Set yourself up for success

Often, our environments trigger certain behaviours, eating junk food, lack of exercise, hours, and hours of TV watching, etc.


Here are some ideas that may make doing the right thing more automatic and less reliant on ‘willpower’:

  • Use smaller plates because that makes it harder to overeat

  • Hide the less nutritious, highly palatable stuff at the back of a cupboard. Out of sight, out of mind…

  • Flipping the script, if there’s a food you should be eating, make it easier to access:

  • Put a fruit bowl in a place where you see it often

  • Have fresh, healthy whole foods on hand and prepared. Make extra in the evening to eat as leftovers and, if necessary, buy pre-cut vegetables

  • If you have more money than time, consider signing up for a healthy meal delivery service

  • Put the TV in an inconvenient place or make the seating in front of it uncomfortable.

  • Don’t eat in front of any screen, it makes you overeat

  • Park your car farther away from where you’re going so you walk further. Or start cycling

  • Organize your social events around activity. Cycle to a coffee shop, walk a few miles to a country pub etc. Surround yourself with people who are also working on their health, fitness, and nutrition.

  • Before you reach for the biscuit tin or a bag of crisps etc. ask yourself ‘am I just thirsty’, ‘am I bored’, ‘Could I have a piece of fruit instead’

  • If you decide you do want something less nutritious, put it on the side and come back in 5 minutes. If you still really want it and would really, really enjoy it then fine, otherwise put it back for another day

  • Consider smaller items (e.g., mini magnum rather than full size) you still get the deliciousness

  • Serve a small portion from the container and then put it away, if you eat straight from the packet/box/tub you are far more likely to overeat without realising

  • Some families have a ‘treats box’. The rules they use are:

  • there is a limit of 2-3 treats for each person per week, maximum.

  • when they’re gone, they’re gone

  • teaches the children budgeting and the adults can join in too!

In the battle between willpower and environment, environment wins most often.

  • if you don’t want to do something – make it harder to do

  • if you do want to do something – make it as easy as possible


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