Health & Wellness

Set up your home for success

16 ingenious tips to organize your living space to inspire healthy habits

If you eat while you’re watching TV, using the computer or just generally vegging, you’ll be less aware of your satisfaction level and more likely to overdo it. The solution:  break the connection between viewing and snacking. How? Simply replace one not-so-healthy habit with a better one. I


Action plan: Living room 

  • Clear space in the center of the room so you can do stretches and toning moves while you watch your favorite shows. Talk about active viewing!
  • Shift your seating so it’s more conducive to interacting or playing games with family and friends. And when you’re enjoying these activities, keep the TV turned off and leave any food in the kitchen.
  • Get up and move during commercials. Lunges, planks, walking around — pick your favorite ways to move. Challenge yourself to squeeze in more reps with each commercial break.
  • If you feel the urge to snack, sip herbal tea or flavored seltzer. Experiment with flavors until you find one that feels like a treat. Or keep plan-friendly cut-up fruits and vegetables on hand.
  • Fold laundry to keep busy. Make chores fly by: Stand and fold laundry while you watch your favorite show.
  • Scale back on trays and tables, which make mindless eating way too convenient. If there’s no place to rest a bag of chips, you’re less likely to bring it into the room to begin with.
  • Keep candy, nuts and alcohol hidden. Some of us keep a bowl with snacks and candy, and other entertaining-friendly things out on display. Don’t; there are only so many times you’re going to walk past it without succumbing.
  • Beware of trigger smells. Ever catch a whiff of a “birthday cake” or “cinnamon bun” candle and suddenly get the urge to eat something sweet? That’s no coincidence: Just smelling a delicious aroma can make you physically crave a food. “When it comes to hunger, cravings for certain foods are more about craving aromas,” says Alan Hirsch, MD, neurological director of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago. Avoid the decadent food-scented candles and try a fragrance that suits your mood.


Action plan: Bedroom

  • Store workout clothes in clear plastic containers, tops and bottoms in different tubs. Low stacks will signal laundry time — and nip the “I didn’t have any clean workout clothes” excuse in the bud.
  • Always have a full set of fitness clothes out and visible. It means you don’t have to think about it when you wake up.
  • Remove clutter from exercise equipment. Hang clothes and bags from a hook on your closet door (install one if you must — do whatever it takes so that you never use your elliptical trainer as a clothes hanger again). While you’re reorganizing, why not hop on the machine for a few minutes?
  • Save time in the morning by setting up a “tomorrow” space in your closet. Add a couple of hooks and/or a basket to the front of your closet so each evening you can lay out everything you need for the following day. Start with your work clothes to make your mornings a no-brainer. 
  • Don’t hang on to your “before” clothes. If you’ve lost enough weight to have gone down a clothing size or two, clear out those “before” clothes. They can feel like a buffer zone if your habits start to relax enough for you to gain a pound or few back. Organize a clothing swap, or donate them to charity.
  • Invest in bedding. Spend time testing new mattresses to discover what really feels relaxing, and look for pillows that support your head and neck.
  • Remove the television in your bedroom. Our bodies are wired to fall asleep in quiet darkness — and that blue glow alone can disrupt your sleep. Partner won’t budge? At least make a rule that “lights out” includes all electronics.
  • Put the alarm clock across the room. It’s too easy to hit “snooze” when the clock is inches from your face. Keep the clock across the room, so you’ll have to get up to turn it off. Hey, look — you’re halfway to the treadmill!

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