5 ways your house is making you fat, sick, and toxic
1. Lighting. I had a young client with severe PMS, depression, and weight loss resistance. Her doctor “solved” these problems with birth control pills and Prozac. Her problems actually began a year earlier, after she moved into a new house with bedrooms that had a skylight over her bed. Light streaming into her bedroom from the skylight disrupted her sleep, which stressed her body and triggered mood swings, PMS, fatigue, and food cravings. She also became insulin resistant, which stymied fast fat loss. Covering the skylight and removing all light sources in her room guaranteed total darkness while she slept, solving her numerous problems.
- Action Step 1: Check your bedroom for natural and artificial lighting that could affect your sleep. You need total darkness for your pineal gland to create adequate melatonin levels.
- Action Step 2: When you awake, open your drapes and let natural light in. Invest in full-spectrum lighting if you live in an overcast winter environment or building with limited lighting. Natural light keeps your circadian rhythm balanced and your mood sunny.
2. Noise. I recently got upgraded to an executive suite. I quickly discovered why no one wanted this room: the bedroom backed up to an ice machine. Ticking clocks, noisy appliances, loud neighbors, snoring husbands, and noisy pets all destroy your quality sleep, lead to weight loss resistance, age you, and make you cranky and craving an Everything with Cheese bagel slathered in cream cheese.
- Action Step 3: Identify sources of bedroom noisy and eliminate everything possible. Use earplugs, a white noise machine, and any other device that drowns out noise and helps you sleep.
3. Convenience and clutter. Your home’s luxuries and conveniences could be stalling fast fat loss. Self-propelled vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers, remote controls, and numerous other 21st-century conveniences provide less work for your body. And how many people use elliptical machines and other exercise equipment as storage or a second closet?
- Action Step 4: Designate an area of your house as the exercise area. Make it inviting. Set a goal to use it at least five minutes each day and gradually increase that time.
- Action Step 5: Wear a pedometer and stop making your home a complete comfort zone. Move more. Rather than vacuum, carry groceries in yourself, park farther away, and dump the remotes (or better yet, the TV). Journal your daily total steps each week and divide by seven to average. Try to increase that number 10% each week by looking for opportunities to move more.
- Action Step 6: Create a designated eating area where you and your family can enjoy your meals together.
4. Your Kitchen. If you don’t keep it in your kitchen, you have no risk for succumbing to the enemy during an 11 p.m. half-asleep Haagan Daz moment. But don’t keep bare cupboards. Let’s be honest: an empty kitchen will encourage you to hop into the car at 11 p.m. Restock your kitchen with veggies, fruit, clean lean protein, and raw nuts and seeds.
- Action Step 7: Clean out your junk and don’t hold back. Thoroughly clear your refrigerator, pantry, nightstand drawers, the glove box in your car, and anywhere else you’ve stashed your sugar loot.
- Action Step 8: Restock. Stock your kitchen and pantry with healthy choices so balanced meals will be easy and you’ll avoid succumbing to your late-night culinary enemy.
5. Toxicity. Studies show environmental toxicity contributes to obesity because toxins disrupt your hormone messenger systems, which negatively impacts your body’s ability to burn fat and build muscle.
Toxic overload can also slow down your metabolism as much as 30%. Your fat cells often store toxins that make your body cling harder to toxin-protecting fat and prevent fast fat loss. Unfortunately, your environment continually bombards you with toxins on a daily basis. Begin the fight against toxins in your home, with “green” cleaning supplies, live green plants, and air and water purifiers. Move electric devices away from the beds. Whenever possible, buy organic foods. Use safe pesticides.