Couple getting ready for a morning run

I’m going to ask a potentially dumb question: have you noticed that it’s way easier to resist bad food when you can’t see it?

Seems pretty obvious, and it makes perfect sense, if you think about it: what you can’t see you probably won’t go for.

Well as obvious as it may seem, I bet you haven’t fully grasped the weight of it as a revelation.

Confused? Let me explain.

interior of white light kitchen with delicious fruits and vegetables on kitchen counterThere’s a theory within behavioral psychology known as nudge theory. It’s the idea that by altering, in some subtle way, your environment, you’ll be more or less inclined to behave in a certain way. It’s essentially designing the world around you so that it helps you make better choices without even thinking about.

It can be both positive and negative. Grocery stores use it; that’s why they have candy at eyeline at checkout and all their best offers at the end of each aisle. What you see, and what is around you has a big impact on what you do.

So here’s why this is relevant and helpful for you: You can harness the power of the nudge to guide yourself towards healthier choices. Here are some simple ways:

  • Put junk food and candy on higher shelves in your cupboards so that it’s out of sight and out of reach.
  • Place your fruit in bowls on the counter top, or in a bowl in the hallway – you’re more likely to grab it on your way out.
  • Use smaller plates – you’ll still fill your plate but you won’t be able to fit as much on as you would if eating from a larger plate.
  • Buy frozen desserts that require thawing – typically when we want something sweet, we want it now. Going for frozen desserts means that you’ll have to wait longer to satisfy the cravings, so you’re more likely to skip it and go for something more immediate, like fruit.
  • Don’t put your running shoes away – leave them by the door and they’ll serve as a reminder to get moving.
  • Keep a yoga mat right by the bed – when you get up in the morning, you’ll be more inclined to get down on the floor for a quick morning stretch.

Have you tried nudging? What simple changes can you make today that will make tomorrow healthier?

Femi A-Williams is a health and fitness convert trying to reconcile a healthy lifestyle and a happy food life. She is 80% whole grain and 20% donut.

All posts by Femi A-Williams