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The Pants-Pantry Connection
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The Pants-Pantry Connection

According to CBS News, approximately 45 million Americans go on diets each year, and we spend up to $2 billion each year on weight-loss products. But in spite of that, the American obesity epidemic keeps getting worse. There's even evidence that obesity now causes more preventable illnesses than smoking!

Many people have a tough time changing their diets and lifestyles because they don't make the big changes necessary when they embark on a new eating plan. People often equate losing weight with merely looking good, and though looking good is obviously a perk - and may even be the main reason you adopt a new diet - the main goal should be to be healthy.

When people quit smoking, they often find it necessary to avoid the places they used to light up. Of course, it's impossible to avoid everywhere you eat, since several of those places are inside your home. But there are ways to set up your home to maximize your diet plan's likelihood of success. And that setup starts in your kitchen. I call it the "pants-pantry connection." What you have in your pantry - and how you organize it - has a direct effect on how successful you'll be at reaching your weight-loss goals.

Get started with these two tips:

  1. Toss the trash. This is easiest for single people or people who are creating new, healthy diet plans for their entire family. One day you may be strong enough to avoid the temptation of chips or cookies, but having them in your face when you first set out on your weight-loss journey is essentially setting yourself up for failure. Grab a bag or box and fill it with everything in your pantry that doesn't fit in with the life you want to build for yourself, then donate that food to a local food bank or shelter.

  2. Get shelf smart. Place healthy foods and snacks on shelves at arm and eye level. Every time you open your pantry, millet, steel-cut oatmeal, chia seeds, and quinoa should be among the first things you see. If it's good for you, you want it to be easily accessible. Similarly, if your family members insist on sticking to their old diet plans, place unhealthy items in hard-to-reach places (bonus points if you need a step stool to reach them). Ideally, there will come a time when getting the cookies down is just too much work. This works for the fridge, too; place bad-for-you items way in the back and on the bottom.

Will removing all vestiges of cheese doodles from your house suddenly obliterate your cravings for them? Of course not. But healthy eating is about so much more than just swapping out one food for another - it's about creating a healthy lifestyle and setting yourself up for success.