The Bariatric and Hernia Institute
7500 Greenway Center Drive
Greenbelt, MD 20770
Your Environment Influences Your Weight
Weight management is challenging and as a society we are facing an epidemic with obesity. In looking at the environmental component to weight management, we are considering a person’s experiences and exposures on a daily basis.
What is the potential for healthy lifestyle practices that lead to weight loss versus unhealthy practices that lead to weight gain? Diet and exercise are the major modifiable factors related to weight management and so we will explore the environment in relation to these factors.
At home, what do you see when you open the refrigerator or the cupboards? Do you see high calorie drinks and foods or do you see healthy low calorie drinks and foods. Are you more likely to fix yourself a healthy meal or have a fruit or are you more likely to drink a soda, or maybe eat potato chips, cookies, or carry-out food. What foods does the rest of your household eat and keep around you?
Similarly, in the work environment, what is available to you to influence your lifestyle practices? Are there healthy low-calorie foods available in the cafeteria or is everything loaded with calories and grease?
If you don’t like your cafeteria foods then are you able to leave the job to get something healthy and be back at work in time? Are you always on the road and simply grab lunch at the nearest fast food? Do you have the opportunity to take a walk or work-out at your job?
At the grocery store, are you more likely to see, and therefore, buy fruits as you enter or are you more likely to see and buy chips and cookies? Is it easy to find healthy foods where you buy groceries?
In your neighborhood, how likely are you to engage in physical activity or develop an exercise routine? Is there a park or gym close by? Is there a pool that you have access to? Is your neighborhood safe for the activities that you want to do?
How are the people around you living? Do they have healthy lifestyle practices? Do they support your weight loss efforts? Over time, your environment influences your weight either positively or negatively.
For effective weight management, it is important to evaluate your environment, make changes to your environment, or change the way that you interact with your environment.