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6 Easy Kitchen Organization Hacks to Promote Weight Loss

6 Easy Kitchen Organization Hacks to Promote Weight Loss

If home (or apartment!) is where the heart is, then to me, the kitchen serves as the veins and arteries of the home. Biology analogy aside (I am a scientist after all) your kitchen can be the central place to promote positive health changes. Starting a journey toward weight loss or maintaining a healthful diet can seem daunting, but some of the most important steps toward a healthful approach to weight management or weight loss can start in the kitchen. Whether your kitchen is decked out with fancy gadgets or you have just the bare essentials in a tiny galley kitchen, read on for six simple tricks for making your kitchen work for you:

Switch up your dinnerware.

You may have heard that eating meals from smaller plates and bowls will help you eat less without even realizing it. While partly true, this argument has another interesting side to the story. Turns out people who used a large plate for meals served themselves more vegetables than those using a smaller plate. The takeaway? Using a large plate might be a simple and cheap strategy to increase vegetable consumption, so use dinner plates for your salad and save smaller plates for higher-calorie entrees and desserts.

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Keep cookies and candy on the top shelf.

Let’s face it – some days, a cookie is the only thing that’s going to make us feel better. Studies show that trying to fight food cravings can lead to overeating down the line, so satisfying an urge before it becomes irresistible is healthier than devouring a sleeve of cookies as a midnight snack. Keeping snacks around can help manage your cravings, but to avoid overconsumption, store high-calorie snacks and sweets on the top shelf or in opaque containers. You’ll be able to indulge when you need it, but otherwise out of sight, out of mind can work for you.

Rethink your fridge space.

“Out of sight, out of mind” also works in reverse – if you normally store vegetables in the refrigerator’s bottom drawers, rearrange your fridge to keep lower calorie, high fiber fruits and veggies in plain sight. The next time hunger strikes, you’ll find yourself reaching for salad or an apple instead of leftover pizza. You’ll also cut down on food waste and save your cash from (literally and figuratively) going into the garbage. A win-win situation!

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Plan for portion control.

Put your reusable food containers to good use. Set aside time on the weekend to prepare a big batch of your favorite grain or greens, mix in lean protein like chicken breast, canned tuna, or beans, and take 5 minutes to chop up vegetables for office lunches and snacks. Then, put food in single-serving containers so you’ll be able to grab-and-go during the busy morning rush. Planning ahead will save stress and calories in the long run.

Measure up.

Research has shown that overestimating serving sizes is a common reason that people don’t lose weight. Measuring food can help to keep portion sizes accurate, so keep measuring cups and spoons close by when serving up a meal. (If you have a kitchen scale, this is also a good idea to use.) Chances are it will be an eye-opening experience. You may be shocked to see the true serving size of some of your favorite things like cereal, peanut butter, and even salad dressing. It should only take a few times of visually seeing an appropriate serving size to make this a long-term change. This handy guide of appropriate serving sizes will make it easier to stick to appropriate serving sizes.

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Make the kitchen your happy place.

Creating a calming environment may be the key to de-stressing in the kitchen. Try to keep the countertops clear of clutter and the sink free of dirty dishes to make the kitchen a place where you want to spend time. Special touches like a bowl full of fresh fruit or a vase of farmers’ market flowers can add to the room’s appeal. Preparing a healthy meal can be great therapy at the end of a stressful day – and it beats drowning your worries in a bag of potato chips.

Some of these kitchen hacks only take a few minutes but can really add up to significant health-promoting changes. The hardest question is — which one will you try first?

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Allison Dostal, PhD, RD, Sylvia Rowe fellow of the International Food Information Council, contributed to this piece.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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