Day 39--Avoid What You Can Avoid

Welcome to Day 39!




avoid what you can avoid


One of the most important, but overlooked, aspects of long term health and weight loss success is your environment. It can make success easy or hard. People who win at health and weight loss “stack the deck” by hacking their environments first--so that the healthy choice is the lazy choice.

3 Steps to Change Your Environment

Once you’ve discovered those bad behavior triggers by taking pictures there’s a three step process to change your environment:

  1. Change what you can change

  2. Avoid what you can avoid.

  3. Make a rule for what you can’t avoid.

Avoid What You Can Avoid

If you can clean up your environment, then you may never need a rule or have to use willpower.  It makes things so much easier!  

But, sometimes you don’t have control of your environment, so  you’ll want to avoid what you can avoid. 

Willpower and the Environment

Think about grabbing some M&Ms out of the candy jar on your co-workers desk.  

Were you thinking, I need some M&Ms. If you did, would you go to the store and buy some?  

Chances are you didn’t even think about it at all. Your Assistant was walking by the candy jar. She grabbed a handful of candy and you ate them before you were even consciously aware of what happened. If it’s not a conscious decision, you can’t use willpower because willpower is the Boss’ job (the conscious part of your brain).

And, that’s why it’s important not to rely on willpower all the time. 

Willpower is the domain of the Boss. But if your environment is set up for you to easily overeat , then you may eat, and never even access willpower because the Boss wasn’t involved in the situation.  

When You Don’t Have Control

Yesterday, we worked on changing your environment so the good choices are easy and the bad choices are hard. But, sometimes you don’t have control of your environment.  

You don’t have control of whether your coworker puts candy on her desk.

You don’t have control of all the junk food that the supermarket stocks.

You don’t have control of city planning and where all the fast food restaurants are.

You don’t have control of Facebook’s algorithms that make social media addicting. 

But, that doesn’t mean you’re powerless.

Avoid the Cues

With a little thought you can avoid some of the cues that get you to eat unhealthy and stay on the couch.  

My favorites strategies of Avoiding what you can avoid include:

  • Avoid walking by the M&M dish at work. 

  • Shop only the perimeter of the grocery store where the perishable, healthy foods are.

  • Take an alternative route home from work that keeps you from going by tempting fast food restaurants.

  • Ask co-workers to keep treats in the work fridge instead of on the counter in the break room. 

  • Take a route to the office bathroom that doesn’t take you by the vending machines.

  • Uninstall social media apps and Netflix off your phone, so you’d have to use your desktop instead.

The Assignment

1. Look back at your photos from the other day—the ones that helped you to see your environmental cues.  

For cues that you don’t have control over, how can you avoid them instead?  

What options can you think of to avoid what you can’t change?

2.Pick one or two options (that you came up with or use some of mine) and start doing them.

Be sure to let Treva know what your plan is for assistance getting started and some accountability.

Tomorrow we’ll be talking about the third step to a winning environment--Make a Rule for What You Can’t Avoid.

Mission Freedom!

Download the Avoid Guide: