Life Performance Blog: What's Around You Decides Your Health

What's around you?

Changing your body doesn't just mean changing your mind; it means changing your surroundings, too.

It’s movie night.

As you fi le into the theatre, a nice man hands you a giant bucket of free popcorn. He says it’s some kind of theatre promotion. Cool!

As you settle into your seat and the lights go down, you dig into your popcorn. Your rst few bites don’t really taste that great. Thefl uffy kernels are chewy and tough, like little salty nuggets of shoe leather.

You notice but don’t really mind. You’re paying too much attention to the film to really care what it tastes like. Everyone around you is making happy crunching noises. The air smells like warm butter.

You get into a good regular rhythm of fist-to-mouth. Before you know it, your ngernails scrape the bottom of the bucket.

Little do you know that the popcorn you just finished is days old. Turns out you’re a lab rat in a food researcher’s experiment. And you’ve just proven a point about how our environment affects our eating. You ate a gallon of stale popcorn simply because it was there.

Don't feel bad. You were immersed in pleasant sounds and smells. You were distracted. And other people were doing the same thing. That's how mindless eating works. Our environment shapes our choices.

Experiments like this (yep, it was a real experiment) have shown us that our environment affects our eating habits more than we think.

For instance, Men’s Fitness recently looked at the Fittest and Fattest Cities in America. Cities with tter people had things like:

• better air quality

• more opportunities for daily-life activity (like walking or biking to work, or running errands) • better access to healthy, fresh foods (e.g. farmer’s markets, local produce, etc.) • more opportunities to enjoy outdoorsy and play-type activities (rather than always having to go to a gym) • urban planning that encouraged activity (like bike lanes, walking paths, etc.) • cult