What Is Your Environment?
Environment is defined as the surroundings in which you live. Your surroundings include your residence, the people around you, your workplace, the city or community that you live in and everything that you allow to be around you such as food, media and belongings. All of these factors exert a powerful influence on your health and fitness goals. It’s up to you to decide if that influence will be good or bad.
While it can be difficult to just up and move, it’s true that some communities are more fitness friendly than others. At one time I lived out in the country where walking was more difficult. I didn’t dare walk in the countryside because that area was known for an abundance of rattlesnakes. The woods are dense and hard to traverse. Pine trees and dense underbrush prohibit any sensible person from spending much time hacking their way through that jungle. Rattlesnakes love pines and dense underbrush and I have already been bitten once. I’m not looking for that to happen again. Living in that backwoods community all but prohibited outside exercise.
The country roads were scenic but very dangerous because you are isolated on those roads. If you needed help, it would be hard for anyone to find you even after you gave them your location. It’s so far back in the country we had to pipe in sunshine. After moving into town, I have wonderful infrastructure, sidewalks and scenic venues that are safe and pleasant to stroll. That difference helps me burn hundreds of calories every week just walking my dog. It’s a known fact that living in an area that provides an easy way to exercise helps people to reach their healthy goals.
Environment Conducive to Fitness
Even if you live in an area that’s not conducive to outside exercise, you still have a lot of control over your immediate environment, your residence. For many years I have put fitness at home before the decor. Even before I had my nutrition under control, I arranged my home to accommodate working out. My den was full of workout DVD’s, when that was a thing, and I had exercise mats and hand weights nearby. I emptied out a small bedroom to make room for my treadmill. I placed exercise bands at strategic points throughout my house to remind me to do some resistance training and made sure that there was no clutter to impede my workouts whenever I could slip one in. Fitness MUST be more important to you than household decor and sentimental clutter.
As a matter of fact, clutter is known to contribute to depression and that can keep you from working out or doing anything positive for yourself. After moving into the house that I live in now, I emptied the entire downstairs finished basement and set up my gym. I don’t buy the things that many women buy. I buy gym equipment and workout clothes and shoes. I have never paid over $20 for a purse but I paid much more than that for my power rack. Life has it’s priorities.
Environment Landmine or Haven?
And while we’re talking about our home, lets not forget that land mine, the kitchen! What’s in your kitchen? Do you have chips and sugary desserts? Don’t even rationalize that you buy or make that stuff for someone else. They don’t need it either. Do you want to get healthy or do you want to think about it, be depressed about it, get mad every time you look at social media and just think that life is so unfair?!? If you’re bringing trigger foods into your home, you don’t really want to change. You want to feel better or look better but you don’t want to put in the work if you are continually self-sabotaging. Leave the chips and cookies at the grocery store and don’t even think about stopping at the bakery! You WILL NOT win the battle of the cupcakes.
Speaking of cupcakes… What in the heck is the thing that’s going on right now with cupcakes? If you have a so-called friend that is always wooing you to go to the cupcake shop, ditch them. They do not have your best interest in mind. I have known of people who would see that their “friend” was beginning to lose some weight and although they had not had anything to do with them in a good while, they would just have to have a “Girls Day” and go to the cupcake shop. Remove those people from your life because they are going to kill you slowly. Trust me on this. I had a “friend” that I dearly loved and she began dropping homemade cheesecake off on my doorstep. In about 6 months, I had gained 40 pounds. I got a grip on reality and started losing weight. She told me that she didn’t like me being smaller than her and we soon went our separate ways. I continued my journey into health and she developed full-blown diabetes and started on insulin. Her mother died from a stroke that was induced by the effects of diabetes and I have no doubt that she will have a similar demise. Why on earth would anyone want to follow down that same path?
It’s critical to remove negative influences from your life to be healthy. “Friends” are much easier to eradicate than family. Quite often, family members are just as detrimental as so-called “friends”. Their negative influence may come in the form of a loving family member who genuinely wants to bake something special for you. Sometimes it can be an envious person who feels competitive. It’s much easier to avoid the competitive, petty ones. The loving family member who wants you to have “just a bite” is a tough situation. If they genuinely love you, they will be happy for you when you explain why you won’t have that bite. When you explain that one bite of that sugary confection will send you on an unhealthy binge and destroy your healthy goals, they should understand. If not, they will get used to the idea, and when they need someone to care for them in old age, you may be the only one left that’s healthy enough to do it. If they don’t understand now, they will then.
Control Your Workplace Environment!
Does your job help or hurt your goals? In today’s economy, we can’t just walk out on a job where they bombard us with doughnuts every morning, but we can manage the environment. Everyone who works with me knows not to put garbage foods in my environment. I don’t care how much anyone paid for doughnuts, cupcakes or cookies, they will either be given away or tossed into the garbage within minutes of me walking into my workplace. If you are not in a position to do that, make sure that you eat before you go to work! NEVER get into the habit of showing up at work starving and just looking around for free food. I can assure you, you will usually find it in the form of simple carbs that will make your job much harder. You will be lethargic and miserable.
Before leaving home, load up on whole healthy foods including a good source of protein and some complex carbs. I have oats with chia. flax and hemp seeds, brown Swerve (a zero calorie sweetener) and pepitas every day with a side of eggs. I carry plain, Greek yogurt and berries, sunflower seeds, lean protein such as chicken and a sweet potato. I am not going to be caught hungry in the land of doughnuts. Our kitchen also serves some excellent cuisine but I don’t eat it very often because I don’t know ahead of time what we’ll have and it’s hard to control my calories and macronutrients if I don’t preplan. BE IN CONTROL of your environment. Eat before you go and CARRY YOUR FOOD. DO NOT get caught up in ordering or eating out. That’s a calorie bomb almost every time. You are NOT a victim of circumstances unless you choose to be because you want to binge.
Make It “Home Sweet Home”
Along with avoiding bad influences, bad foods (YES, THERE ARE BAD FOODS! Don’t even start that argument with me. If I had my way, certain “food” products would be illegal.) and unsupportive environments, it’s necessary to have access to the foods and influences that you need to create the life that you want. Buy groceries and cook. I have been told that groceries are too expensive. Buying groceries are not nearly as expensive as eating out all the time. That’s a common excuse to eat every meal at the drive-thru window but it’s a lie. Oats, eggs, apples, potatoes of all kinds, beans and moderate amounts of lean meats are much less expensive when you but them and cook them yourself. If you don’t know how to cook, find some information on You Tube or just Google it.
If you think all of this, the simple act of being accountable for your environment, is too hard, try allowing your health to deteriorate and see how hard that is. If you think it’s too expensive, try paying deductibles and copays and buying prescription drugs, insulin and needles. I can assure you, you can buy lots of workout equipment and good groceries much cheaper.
You truly are a product of your environment. Control your environment.
Create Your Life.
Dream Big. Work Hard. Make It Happen.