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 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, WI. “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 free online quiz to learn more about your ideal weight.