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Nutrition Challenge Day 4 – Design Your Environment

🎯 Today’s Mission:

To successfully complete today’s mission:

  • ✅ Take stock of your kitchen and identify whether the foods that you keep around you are making this journey easier or harder for you.
  • ✅ Design your environment by making healthier foods more noticeable, visible, accessible, and convenient to eat while making unhealthy foods less noticeable, less visible, less accessible, and less convenient to eat.
  • Write down what changes you made and any changes that you might still want to make in the future in your food journal.
  • Complete the form at the bottom of the page when done.

💡 More Info:

On Day 2 and 3 we spoke about the 3 Sleekgeek Food Lists.

Today, we want to show you how to use them to design your environment so that healthy habits come more easily and less willpower is required to stay on track.

At Sleekgeek, we have found that the foods you choose to keep around you and your loved ones at home, at work, at school, and at social events are some of the biggest environmental factors that are within your control when it comes to your health and fitness.

🍎 Which foods will you eat? 🍪

Simply put, you are more likely to eat whatever food is around you.

For better or for worse.

  • If you choose to keep lots of junk food around… You are more likely to eat it.
  • If you choose to keep lots of healthy food around… You are more likely to eat it.

This is not about how much willpower you have, whether you feel motivated or not, or what kind of genetics you have.

It’s environment design, and whether you are setting yourself up for success or failure by default.

🦸 The Power of Your Environment:

Your environment (like your kitchen) plays a much bigger role in your success than things like motivation, or willpower, or talent, or genetics, or luck.

Those things do matter, especially in key moments throughout life… But it is your environment that affects you every minute of every day, for better or for worse.

If you don’t put any attention into what kind of environment you design around yourself then you make achieving your goals so much harder than it needs to be.

We like to think that we make all of our own choices, but very often, our choices and decisions are actually driven by our environment:

  • 🍫 If someone puts a chocolate on your desk, suddenly they’ve changed your environment and you’re now much more likely to “choose” to eat the chocolate, even if you weren’t thinking about chocolate until then.
  • 🍎 If you walk into the kitchen and the first thing you see is a big bowl of fruit, you’re more likely to eat some than if you walked into the kitchen and there was a jar of rusks instead.
  • 🚬 If you grow up in a household full of smokers, you are much more likely to become a smoker yourself than if you grew up in a household where no one smoked.

This is NOT about how much willpower you have, whether you feel motivated or not, or what kind of genetics you were born with.

It’s ENVIRONMENT DESIGN and whether it sets you up for success or failure by default.

📐How to Design Your Kitchen Environment🌍:

In an ideal world, we would all have squeaky clean kitchens stocked full of healthy food and absolutely no junk food around.

This would certainly make our lives simpler… But, life isn’t simple, is it?

We can’t always get rid of all the junk food because we have families, kids, and guests who we may need to provide for. Plus, there’s definitely a place for a little bit of unhealthy food in a generally healthy diet as long as it’s done within moderation and we accept the tradeoffs.

While it is up to you to fight to raise the quality and standards of what “food” is in your household, often a more agreeable first step among household members is to make small tweaks to your environment as opposed to taking giant leaps where you completely overhaul what everyone eats overnight.

To be more practical, we suggest designing your kitchen environment with these tips:

  • Put healthier foods at eye level. Make them noticeable.
  • Put healthier foods in transparent containers. Make them visible.
  • Put healthier foods at the front and within easy reach. Make them accessible.
  • Do the opposite for less healthy foods. Either get rid of as much of them as possible, or at least make them less noticeable, less visible, and less accessible.

This is a more “always something” or “best-effort” approach where you just do your best, as opposed to an “all-or-nothing” approach where your house either has to be perfectly healthy or there’s no point in trying.

Above all of this, it is essential you have healthy foods that you enjoy and are convenient, portable, and ready to eat right away. It’s a lot easier to say “no” to some tempting junk food when you have something healthy that requires minimal effort to prepare and eat.

Some ideas from the Sleekgeek Food List that I use personally on just about a daily basis include:

  • Protein: Tins of tuna, hard-boiled eggs, protein powder, biltong, and left-overs (mince, chicken, braai meat, beans, etc).
  • Veg: Carrots, bell peppers, cucumber, baby tomatoes, sugar snap peas, and pickles (all ready to eat in seconds, no prep requires).
  • Carbs: Fruit, rolled oats (microwave for 4 mins with double the amount of water), left-overs like potatoes, rice, or quinoa, etc (re-heat and eat).
  • Fats: Nuts, nut butters, avocado, coconut, olive oil, etc.

With this list of protein, veg, carbs, and fats, I can put together a healthy meal or a work lunch box in less than 3 minutes flat.

Stocking up on healthy food like this, while reducing or eliminating junk food ensures that your environment works with you rather than against you.

Be sure to learn from past failures by identifying which situations you “gave in” to unhealthy food or “went off plan” because you did not have healthy food on hand.

Plan ahead for upcoming challenges that you might face (meetings, travelling, short on time, etc) and stock up or prep accordingly.

The end goal is to have a supportive environment that steps in to take care of you, even on your worst days. Those days when you lack time, lack energy, or lack willpower.

REMEMBER: Your environment design affects you every minute of every day, for better or for worse. A well-designed environment makes willpower and motivation nearly optional. It becomes easier to stay on track and save your willpower and energy for other important things.

✅ Mission Accomplished?

Fill in the form below once you’re done to keep track of your progress.

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