Advice from Dr. Oz: The Easiest Way to Change Your Eating Habits
Information isn’t always enough to steer your nutritional choices in the right direction. Neither is motivation. Sometimes, no matter how smart, driven, inspired, or even desperate you are, the slice of cake wins. Sometimes, when you’re hungry or sad or out-of-your-mind mad, you will comfort-binge on leftover linguine. Sometimes, you need reinforcements to support your best intentions. That’s where strategy comes in.
If you want to succeed with food, make it easy to do the right thing. Create personal environments that are full of healing options.
Your fridge, your freezer, your pantry, your kitchen counters, and your bag should be well stocked with foods that can sustain you through a day’s arc of hunger pangs and emotions.
Think about it: How many times do you reach for organ-strangling foods just because they’re closest? It happens when you walk by an open cabinet and see that orange box, beckoning you to crunch some crackers. (There’s a reason that manufacturers make boxes so brightly colored — they say “eat me!” loud and clear.) It happens when that nice lady brings in cupcakes for the volunteer crew. It happens when you didn’t think ahead about lunch, one o’clock rolls around, and the closest thing to you is the Chinese buffet — a great deal at $5.99. But at 3,000 calories and who knows how much deep-fried fat, that buffet is the furthest thing from a bargain. It happens all the time.
5 TRICKS TO AUTOMATE YOUR ENVIRONMENT
1. Clean out your pantry.
Take an hour to clean your cabinets, pantry, and get rid of processed junk. Make a shopping list to include food FIXES. [Dr. Oz’s pantry staples include beans, brown and wild rices, lentils, nut butters, nuts, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, rolled oats, salsa, herbs and spices, condiments, and oil and vinegar.]
2. Plan ahead.
Plan your lunches for the week and pack them to take to work or wherever.
3. Make Sunday a meal-plan, meal-prep, and meal-making day.
Cook a big batch of something healthy that you can use for several lunches and dinners. Use the day to cut up veggies and have them ready to go as snacks and sides.
4. Hide the junk.
If you stash junk food in your home for other people to eat, put it on the top shelf of the pantry (and behind other items). The harder they are to see and reach, the less likely you are to dig for them when a momentary urge strikes.
5. Stash nuts everywhere.
Keep a small bag of nuts in your car, purse, or briefcase. It’ll save you in a hunger emergency.
Dr. Mehmet Oz is a cardiothoracic surgeon, the host of the celebrated Dr. Oz television show, and the director of the Complementary Medicine Program at Columbia Medical Center.