Day 38--Change What you can change

Welcome to Day 38!




Change What You can change


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.

1.Change What You can Change

This is all about putting good choices in your environment and getting rid of bad choices.

We’ll talk about this more later in the lesson, but some of my favorites include:

  • Moving tempting snack foods to the back of cupboards.

  • Have a fruit bowl on the counter

  • Making a vegetable tray and put it in the front of the fridge

  • Make a large salad to last most of the week

  • Having a few back-up emergency meals in the freezer (to avoid fast food)

2. Avoid what you can avoid

This is all about making all the bad choices invisible. 

My favorites include:

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

  • Take an alternative route to 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

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

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

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

This is all about shutting down the Assistant’s excuses. Even if you can’t take these cues out of your environment, they’ve been neutralized with a rule.

Here are some rules that you could make:

  • I never buy food out of a vending machine.

  • I only buy foods off of my shopping list.

  • I only check my social media for fifteen minutes after I do my workout.

  • I always have an emergency frozen meal in my freezer (I don’t buy fast food). 

  • I eat only foods I bring to work, not food my co-workers leave out for others.

  • Snacks for my kids go to the back of the cupboard.

  • I only buy snacks for my kids that I hate. 

I only buy snacks for my kids that I’m comfortable eating. 

Change What You Can Change

Let’s start with “change what you can change” step. 

Remember that in sports, playing a good defense will only keep you from losing, not winning.  To win, you need a good offense as well.

You need to change your environment, so the healthy choice is the lazy choice and the unhealthy choice is hard.

The Magic Vegetable Tray

For instance, one of my clients (let’s call her April) told me, "Making a weekly vegetable tray has changed my life." That's a strong statement for just a plate of vegetables. But, sometimes it's the smallest habits that can make all the difference in your willpower and weight loss. 

When April began prepping a large vegetable tray each weekend, this one habit started a chain reaction of goodness. The veggie tray allowed her to add vegetables quickly to her brown bag lunches. And, she was able to quickly throw together salads at dinner with already prepped vegetables.  

With vegetables always available, April was able to use the RHH meal template, fill half her plate with veggies, eat the veggies first, feel more satisfied, eat less carbs, eat more fiber, and lose weight. Her energy increased, her health improved, and she felt better than she had in years--all from making a vegetable tray! 

I know it sounds dramatic, but remember, April is the one who said the vegetable tray changed her life. This small hack (a great offense) started a chain reaction of foundational healthy habits for her. 

Lazy is Your Friend

The key to successful long term health and weight loss is using the least amount of willpower possible. Scott Adams (the creator of the Dilbert cartoon) agrees, "The trick to eating right is to keep willpower out of the equation for your diet.  Laziness can make you choose healthy foods if you are clever enough to make those foods the most convenient in your house."

So let's be clever like Adams and make the healthy choice the lazy choice.  

The Assignment

Look back at your photos from yesterday. 

For cues that you can change, how can you change them so the healthy choice is the lazy choice, and the unhealthy choice is just hard to do?


Now, brainstorm some ideas.

Here are some of my favorites.

The three simplest healthy eating cues that encourage eating right

  • Make a vegetable tray every weekend.

  • Keep a fruit bowl on your kitchen counter.

  • Make a large green salad to last several days .

Other healthy, but lazy choices that my clients have made include:


For breakfast--have these options made or easily accessible 

Greek yogurt, yogurt parfaits, protein shakes, low sugar steel-cut oatmeal cups, frozen egg frittatas, bags with frozen smoothie add-ins, and hard-boiled eggs 


For lunch--have these options made or easily accessible 

Dinner leftovers, salads, or boxed soup ready to eat. Bring lunch with you to work, have a veggie tray to grab from, pre-prep salads in mason jars, add roasted veggies and cooked chicken to salads, use tuna pouches, salmon cans, or sardines for quick protein options. 


For lazy snack options, have nuts, protein shakes, protein bars, a vegetable tray, cheese sticks, and hard-boiled eggs on hand.  Place  a fruit bowl on the counter.


For dinner, start a crockpot before you leave for work, use a meal planning service like E-meals, or prep large amounts of protein and vegetables on the weekend to make fast, throw together meals. Make sure to always have a back-up emergency meal or two in the freezer. 

Pick one or two of these options and start doing them. 

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

Tomorrow we’ll be talking about the second step to a winning environment--Avoid What You Can Avoid.

Mission Freedom!

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