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  • Aah! My weight went up again? This scale must be broken.

  • Ever since I started working, the cute little university girl has now transformed into the chubby cookie monster!

  • How did this happen to me?

  • I really try to watch what I eat by not eating so much for dinner, though I do instead eat a lot for breakfast and lunch.

  • Or is it too much?

  • Sometimes in the office, we have cookies and cakes and all sorts of snacks, and I only grab one or two every once in a while!

  • I mean, I really try not to, but I always cave in.

  • They look so delicious, and it's free!

  • I usually only eat it in the afternoon, and by the evening, it's already digested and gone.

  • I set a goal for myself to lose half a kilo per week.

  • It's a weight-loss goal that professionals say are very effective.

  • When I calculated the numbers, I should lose about 24 kilos a year.

  • But no, not only did I lose only half a kilo a month, in some months, I didn't even lose anything, and instead, gained 2-3 kilos.

  • But then, somehow, I could do it! I lost the weight without even dieting or exercising.

  • It all happened when I signed a contract to be a writer.

  • When that happened, I quit my job and only worked from home.

  • I no longer had to face the parade of sweets in the office or internally battle the chocolates placed on my colleague's table.

  • It really helped not to be tempted.

  • Hedy Kober, Director of Yale's Clinical and Affective Neuroscience Lab, who also co-authored a 2016 research review on how we respond to food says, "Food cues. They make you eat more."

  • Food cues are like seeing food, smelling food, or even just images of food that will tempt you.

  • It's like ringing a bell to call a dog for dinner and he's just drooling non-stop.

  • If Pavlov himself were to rise from his grave to check our salivary glands when we walk past some grilled chicken, he would feel like his research has, yet again, been proven true.

  • In 2016, a researcher replicated Pavlov's experiment in Google's work space, which has a constant availability of food and drinks.

  • Before the experiment, the researchers noticed that most Google employees that enter the break room would often get a drink first after entering the room.

  • Taking this into account, the researchers decided to place snacks next to the drinks at one end of the room, while leaving the drink area empty at the other end of the room.

  • The experiment showed that the employees who went for a drink where the snacks were available ate twice as much as those who grabbed drinks from where there was no snacks in sight.

  • So, what have we learned from all of this?

  • It actually comes down to getting better control of your surroundings.

  • For example, not putting food near your place of work to avoid tempting yourself.

  • As the saying goes, "Out of sight, out of mind."

  • I myself have taken complete control of my own surroundings.

  • Now, if you were to step into my kitchen right now, you won't see any snacks laying around.

  • Not only do I avoid buying any junk food or snacks, if I did buy any, I would keep them away in a cupboard.

  • That way, I'm not tempted.

  • But I admit, when you're stuck in a surrounding that you have no control over, it's much harder to resist the temptation.

  • It's no coincidence that the pork roast from the roadside grill shop always smells so good, or that little dessert shops like to offer free samples.

  • I mean, there are actual jobs for people to decorate food and make it appear appetizing on screen.

  • This is what we must overcome.

  • It's been 20 years now since I left my job at the office and became a writer from home.

  • And trust me when I tell you, my weight-loss journey hasn't been easy.

  • But just by making these small changes in your surrounding, I believe you'll be able to live a happier and healthier life.

Aah! My weight went up again? This scale must be broken.

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