Most people think that building better choices, creating healthy habits or changing your actions is all about willpower or motivation. But from all my years of helping folks organize their spaces and their bodies, AND all my years of studying yoga, human mind and anatomy, I believe that the number one driver of behavior change (or at least the easiest to access) is our physical world.
Our environment has an incredible ability to shape our actions and choices. Nowhere is this more true than with food. What we eat on a daily basis is often a result of what we see. If you are anything like me, you will buy or eat whatever is closer to you, whether it’s wholesome food or not. So to eat healthy food a good reverse-engineering is to surround yourself or hang out with healthy food.
When I go to my local grocery store (which I must say it’s a gigantic emporium of Portuguese & South American food), I walk around the outer periphery of the market. This is true to every supermarket around the world I have ever been, the outer periphery is where the healthy food usually lives: fruits, vegetables, eggs, nuts, lean meats. Basically all items that are usually not processed and healthier for you. So shopping on the outer periphery is what I am “choosing” to eat, because it is what I see.
Architecture determines where things go, since electric outlets for massive refrigeration are usually on a wall and so are the building´s drains. That means that the middle aisles are where all of the caned, boxed and adulterated stuff is placed -they, more likely don´t need refrigeration. If you don’t want to eat or you want to cut back in processed-food consumption, don’t go down those middle aisles and you won’t buy those foods. If you don’t buy those foods, they won’t end up around for you to eat. Try this the next time you go to the store and do your best to not make exceptions. When I do this not only I spend way less money in my groceries, but I find myself cooking and eating healthier = feeling great in my body and mind.
Sure, there will be the occasional time that you’ll need to go down an aisle to pick up your oils, spices or honey but that will be rare and not often. It could be weeks before I go into those middle aisles ( but when I do I always pick more than what I intended to buy, which confirms that knowing of something isn’t as effective as doing something- smile )