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Which One Is More Like Your Kitchen? It Might Reveal Your Diet And Health

Which One Is More Like Your Kitchen? It Might Reveal Your Diet And Health

Rising rates of people who are overweight or obese is a problem both in the United States and around the world. One of the reasons for this is that weight gain (and loss) is more than just about eating fewer calories or exercising more. Hormonal imbalances, medical conditions, and even the environment can affect the way weight is gained and lost, and a new study out of the University of New South Wales in Australia underlines just how important the environment can be to a healthy diet.

The Experiment

messy kitchen
    Chaotic Kitchen
      Neat Kitchen

      In order to understand a little more about the relationship between stress, eating habits and the environment, 100 college students were chosen to participate in this study. The students were divided into 2 groups, one being placed in a neat and tidy kitchen environment while the other was placed in a kitchen which was chaotic and cluttered. Once there, the students were encouraged to think and talk about times they had felt in control of a situation and times when they had felt stressed or out of control. Cookies, crackers, and carrots were provided to the students as part of the study.

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      The Results

      The result of this study were starker than many of the researchers had expected: the students who were in a more chaotic frame of mind and in the cluttered kitchen ate more of the cookies than those who were situation in the neat and tidy kitchen. As a matter of fact, they ate more than twice as many calories as the other students.

      The research suggested that eating in a chaotic environment is not recommended for those who are wanting to lose weight or to keep it off, as it encourages overeating and makes it easier to consume more calories than you realize, making it easy to put on weight and to derail attempts at weight loss.

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      Researcher’s noted that “Although a chaotic environment can create a vulnerability to making unhealthy food choices, one’s mindset against the environment can either trigger or buffer against that vulnerability.”

      Reasons for The Students’ Behavior

      The reasons for the behavior the students in the chaotic environment are not, perhaps, surprising, considered that other studies have found that the mental chaos which arises from being in a cluttered or chaotic environment can easily lead to unhealthy eating habits and weight gain. Part of this is because that when the body feels like it is under stress — as it can do in a surroundings that are chaotic — it produces chemicals and hormones that make it easier to gain weight. One of those chemicals is called betatropin, which blocks the activity of an enzyme that burns fat and cortisol, a hormone which rises in response to stress and which signals to the body that it needs to store fat, particularly in the abdominal area.

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      What to Learn from This Study

      This might be a small study, but there are a lot of important lessons to take away from it. The most important lesson to learn is that chaos and clutter around the house really can affect the quality of your environment — which, in turn, can affect your eating habits. The trial mentioned above is not the only one to find this link: another study in 2008 found that people who struggled with organizing their homes or work spaces were 77% more likely to be overweight or obese. Thus, while it may seem difficult to do, decluttering your home and providing yourself an organized, neat environment to be in can actually help your efforts to lose weight.

      The Importance of Decluttering

      This study underlines the importance of decluttering one’s life in order to reduce stress (and cortisol levels) in order to make it easier to lose weight, and while decluttering won’t happen overnight, you can make a difference if you are persistent and take care of the problem over time.

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      Tips for a good clean-out include:

      • Making sure you have the materials (such as storage bins) ready ahead of time
      • Choosing one area at a time to work on for decluttering
      • Buying the products (such as hooks for car keys or filing cabinets for papers) that are tailored for your particular needs.
      • Be sure to sort papers into “like” piles to make it easier to organize and file them.

      In short, decluttering might feel like a lot of work — and even seem overwhelming at times — but as studies like this one show, the short— and long-term benefits you will derive from this activity more than make up for the effort you will put into it.

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      Brian Wu

      Health Writer, Author

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      Last Updated on March 13, 2019

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

      You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

      Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

      1. Work on the small tasks.

      When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

      Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

      2. Take a break from your work desk.

      Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

      Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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      3. Upgrade yourself

      Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

      The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

      4. Talk to a friend.

      Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

      Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

      5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

      If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

      Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

      Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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      6. Paint a vision to work towards.

      If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

      Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

      Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

      7. Read a book (or blog).

      The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

      Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

      Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

      8. Have a quick nap.

      If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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      9. Remember why you are doing this.

      Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

      What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

      10. Find some competition.

      Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

      Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

      11. Go exercise.

      Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

      Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

      As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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      Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

      12. Take a good break.

      Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

      Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

      Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

      Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

      More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

      Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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