Making good food choices isn’t just about making good food choices.

Seriously. We wake up and think, “No sugar today! I’m going to resist all the sugar!” or “I’ve planned out my meals and I’m not eating anything that isn’t part of the plan!” Those are both fine & good. I’ve done it. It can be helpful. But are you taking advantage of ways you can improve your food choices that have nothing to do with food?

For me and for many of my coaching clients, there are a handful of simple things we can do that automatically improve our choices and take very little effort. They’ll be different from person to person but once you identify yours, you’ve just move further down the progress spectrum without additional willpower or self-discipline.

Want to know some of mine? A major one is taking the time to put on something other than my crappiest workout clothes (sweats, an old bra and a ratty t-shirt) and actually put on either “real” clothes or my cutest, sexiest workout clothes and a little makeup. The few extra minutes of effort makes me feel more motivated and more confident. That small change helps me to make better food choices subconsciously, with little to no extra willpower required.

This really follows the concept of “dress for success”. It doesn’t mean dressing to the 9s every day (I’d hate that and never do it) but rather picking items that make you feel a little better about yourself. Nice underwear vs the junky stuff you hope no one ever sees. Your sexy jeans vs your fat jeans (c’mon, everyone has fat jeans, don’t get sensitive). A fitted top instead of a baggy one. We rise to the level of our own expectations and dressing the part makes us stand a little taller, feel a little more positive and radiate energy. I don’t know about you, but when I’m in a happy, confident, positive mood I make better food choices. So, by spending an extra 5 minutes putting on mascara and a nice bra – I make better food choices. Done. Doing that alllllll day long. These little things, when you identify what they are for you, add up and make the pursuit of your goals soooo much easier.

Another one that moves the needle for me is the space around me. If I take a few minutes to clean up my office, make my bed, clean the kitchen or clean out my car I instantly feel more productive, more responsible and more confident. That impacts my food choices. It just does.

I don’t binge when I’m feeling great about myself. I don’t binge when I’m feeling productive, happy & confident. So, it goes without saying that anything I can do to feel better about myself supports my desire to make good choices.

One of the best ways to identify your unique non-food behaviors that really influence your food choices is by getting disciplined about keeping a tracking document. You can do this in a paper journal, through a tracking app, or my personal fave – Google docs. Keep track of the date, what you eat/how much/when, your hormonal biofeedback (mood, quality of sleep, cravings, energy, hunger) and any other relevant factors throughout the day. If you suspect you might know what some of your non-food influencers are, make note of them so you can identify patterns and trends to see how they impact your food choices.

Here are some other non-food influencers that I’ve found make a difference either for me or for some of my clients. If you aren’t sure, try a couple on for size and pay attention to how they make you feel.

  • Going for a walk first thing in the morning
  • Saying affirmations
  • Reading or writing out your goals
  • Buying a new outfit or handbag (raises hand on the handbag thing…..)
  • Getting a massage, facial or pedicure
  • Getting your hair cut, colored and/or styled
  • Cleaning or washing your car
  • Cleaning out your pantry or fridge

Do you have others? What are they? I’d really love to know. In your past diets, you’ve probably been like me and just focused on willpower, discipline, food choices and exercise. Why not make it easier, not harder? Why not identify all the “easy” things you can do to improve your choices subconsciously? Let’s add those up and experience massive cumulative effects!