Can the route of your commute affect your weight?
Your daily commuting routine may play a role in the number you see on the scale.
A recent U.S. study published in PLOS One showed that people who lived near grocery stores or passed fast food restaurants on their way to and from work were more likely to have a higher body-mass index or be obese.
“When that attraction is there, it can be so hard to pass by without taking advantage,” says Samantha Klinkner, a family medicine nurse practitioner at Aurora Health Center in Manitowoc, Wis. “They’re called ‘convenience’ foods for a reason.”
If this sounds familiar to you, here are some tips that may help you curb your temptations:
Plan for your day: If you tell yourself ahead of time it’s not in your plan to stop at a fast food restaurant, you’ll be less likely to indulge. The same applies to grocery shopping. If you do not have a burning need to go to the grocery store, don’t.
Pack your meals, drinks and snacks: Try to get in the habit of never walking out your door empty-handed. If you’ve got a weakness for the local coffee shop with a drive-thru window, brew your coffee and bring it with you. If you just can’t say no to the convenience store donuts, grab an apple to-go. You can even plan to have a snack for on your way home, too. Little tricks like this go a long way.
Avoid the inner aisles at the grocery store: Planning for your day and for your grocery shopping trip go hand-in-hand. Make a list, stick to it and make sure you’re shopping the perimeter of the store. “Unless you absolutely have to, avoid the inner aisles, where many highly-processed foods reside,” says Klinkner. “Sticking to the outer aisles means you’re more likely to avoid those unhealthier options and stick to the essentials: vegetables, fruits, proteins and grains.”
Work out in the mornings: “Working out first thing in the morning is a great way to make sure you’re starting your day right,” Klinkner explains. “When you start the day with a healthy task, you’re more likely to make healthy choices throughout the day.”
Stress less: Certain situations may trigger some people to go to their comfort food. When that situation happens, make a habit of doing something else instead when you get to your destination, like going for a brief walk outside, meditating, calling a friend or even playing with a pet.
If you’re concerned about your weight, you can take a quick, free online assessment to learn more about your ideal weight by clicking here.