How to make healthy eating unbelievably easy | Luke Durward | TEDxYorkU


Translator: Maurício Kakuei Tanaka
Reviewer: Adam Fitzgerald My little brother was very good at a few things
from a very young age. The first thing he was really good at
was making everybody laugh without trying. Like the one time I told him he should have a little bit
of protein after a workout. He got all excited
because he thought I said “poutine.” (Laughter) The second thing he was good at
was eating large quantities of food. Come dinner time, it wasn’t uncommon for him to outeat
most of the adults at the table. Now, as you may have guessed,
as a five-foot-nothing little boy, there is, in fact, a downside
to regularly outeating full-grown men. At just 11 years old, I could already see
that, if nothing else changed, my little brother was headed
for an adolescent life littered with teasing
and unhealthy eating. As his older brother,
I wanted to do something about it. As a nutrition, or kinesiology student,
with an intense interest in nutrition, I knew that I had to do
something about it. Initially, I wasn’t sure how,
but I was determined to find a way. Now, in March of 2013, I broke my leg while I was
walking to class, and I slipped on some ice. Yes, that is the whole story. I was walking, there was some ice. Poof, broken leg. No lives saved. No purses returned. No cool story to tell. Little did I know as I lay there
in that quickly melting puddle of ice, waiting for the ambulance to arrive, that this moment would forever
change the life of my little brother. After I had a surgery to attach a small titanium plate
and a few screws onto my fibula, I was given two crutches, and told not to put any weight
on my leg for two months. This posed a unique problem, as there was still plenty
of snow and ice on the ground. And I still had two months left of class, spread out over one of the largest
campuses in the country. So, with that in mind,
I made a decision that any hard-working student
in my position would do. And I obviously decided
to stop going to classes. (Laughter) Now, with all this free time
from studying at home, I had finally figured out
how I was going to help my little brother. I knew that what he needed to do
was very simple in theory, but very difficult in practice. What he needed to do
was change his eating habits. From experience I knew the things that he needed
to change, and the things that he didn’t. The problem was that communicating
this through somebody else would most likely just end up
like the childhood game of telephone. The message gets passed along, but with little misunderstandings
and misinterpretations along the way. There’s not much left
of the original message, and everybody’s just left confused. And my little brother’s eating habits
are left unchanged. So, keeping that in mind, I made
one of the best decisions of my life, and I decided to move back home
for the next two weeks, and make every single meal
that my little brother would eat, educating him about proper
nutrition along the way. While I was at home, in the kitchen, I often found myself
awkwardly trying to maneuver holding on to two crutches,
hot pans, and sharp knives. It wasn’t very easy. I also had to make sure to take
little breaks every few minutes to make sure that the swelling in my ankle
wouldn’t become unbearable. Now, after just two weeks, not only were the results phenomenal, but they were as a result of a strategy
that anybody can use. The reason we were able to see
such dramatic and positive results, which I’m very excited
to share with you later, is that we changed his environment
to match his goal. We made his environment work for him,
instead of against him. This simply meant replacing
all of the bad options with healthy ones. Making this uncomplicated adjustment enabled us to easily
transform his nutrition, from the standard American diet, ironically referred to
from its acronym SAD, to wholesome and nutritious
without a hitch. Because of the planning this
wasn’t the least bit difficult to do. When you remove the unhealthy options, wholesome and nutritious food
becomes both plan A, and plan B. The beauty of this solution is that it takes willpower
almost completely out of the equation. Quite simply, if it’s not there,
you can’t eat it. An added bonus to this strategy is if there’s no chips
on the counter calling your name, it’s likely that you’ll just
forget about them, and completely avoid the feeling
of deprivation all at once. Little bit of a brain block. This may sound a little bit
too simple to be true, but I assure you it’s not. When you remove the barriers
to your success — in my little brother’s case,
unhealthy food — and you replace, or you pave
the way, barrier-free, the road to success
becomes a much smoother ride. So set up your environment so that it works for you,
instead of against you. This works well for any goal. For my little brother,
I was the environment. I made all of his food,
gave him the right snacks, and answered all of his questions. But what would that have
looked like if I wasn’t there, and how can you make this work for you? Well, to be successful, you have to minimize
the difficult decisions being made. Say, for example, you walk into the lobby, and, on the left of those tables,
is delicious chocolate chip cookies, squares, and everything you like. On the right side,
is fresh fruit and vegetables, vibrant colors, chopped up nicely,
they’re crunchy and juicy. You’ve been sitting in here
for two hours, so you’re starving, you have a choice to make. Should you choose option A on the left, or should you choose the wholesome
nutritious broccoli on the right? Given this scenario, I think it would be very hard
for most of us to resist the temptation of option A. This is a real-life situation, and it’s one that happens all the time. It’s very important,
because of that reason. So when you remove
the barriers to your success, it will just become a little bit easier for you to not have to make
that hard decision in the first place. Here’s how you can make
this strategy work for yourself. Start off by finding out
what your personal trigger foods are, and make a promise to not keep them
in your house anymore. So that when the time comes, the decision has already
been made for you. Now, that’s not to say you can never
have these foods again. If you really want one, you can always
just go to the store, and buy one, or you can keep it so that you’re only having them
at special events, such as this. Just don’t keep a stash
underneath the cupboard if you know that they’re going
to be an issue for you. That’s how you make your environment
work for you, instead of against you. That’s how you make healthy eating the default, and not the exception. So if you have a personal goal
of eating better, go home, find all of your junk food, and a neighbor that you’re
not particularly fond of, and give it all to them. The basis of this strategy worked
for my little 11-year-old brother, and it can certainly work for you too. Let me just finish off by sharing the final results
of my little brother’s lifestyle change. Let me also just point out, that I had one main rule
that I wanted to follow with the change. At no point, did I want my 11-year-old brother
to feel hungry, or deprived. Here’s how that worked out. After the first seven days,
he had lost five pounds. After the second week,
it was eight pounds. But it didn’t just stop there. I went back to write exams,
and he kept going. After 20 days, it was ten pounds, and, by 36 days, he had averaged half a pound a day to top it off at 18 pounds lost. (Applause) [Make your environment work FOR YOU] If everybody had their environment
working for them, instead of against them, my little brother’s level of success
would be the norm. My hope is that one day it will be. Thank you. (Applause)


100 Responses

  1. Damo Roden

    December 4, 2018 7:33 pm

    A wonderful example that the future is in good hands . A very brave young man to stand up and talk in front of all those people. And obviously a truly good natured individual to share his story .

  2. Molly Mae

    December 10, 2018 3:23 pm

    Okay but what happens when you drive past your favorite fast food place? Or you aren't in the mood to cook? Or you don't have someone to sit there and do it for you… My boyfriend has been eating awful food for 28 years now. We don't have ANY unhealthy food in our house. I cook for him when I can, but if I am not there, he doesn't like to cook.

  3. Philip Schroeder

    December 16, 2018 10:03 am

    After almost 6 minutes all he said was, don't buy unhealthy food, that is exactly why I hate video tutorials, that and people who need to prepare stuff on the video, because they couldn't set the stuff up before, and those people who think their annoying useless introductions, logos and AMVs are an upgrade to your life.

  4. Astrea Kaito

    January 26, 2019 2:16 pm

    And then you starve.
    I lost 15 kg without meaning to, or needing to. You can't just buy healthy food in stores, that basically doesn't exist. You have to do everything yourself from scratch. This is worth it but it ain't "easy".

  5. Katie Motter

    February 3, 2019 5:54 pm

    He is 100% right. I purged as much unhealthy food all at once that I could and slowly but surely replaced things I used up with the organic /whole food replacement. I started with just buying a fluoride free / organic toothpaste instead of my normal crest brand. Then I replaced all my seasonings, condiments and now everything I have is organic / whole.

  6. Fiona

    February 4, 2019 5:22 pm

    I think Tedx is not the same as TED talk. But this really makes me thinking, maybe I will also go on Tedx talk one day, and TED talk eventually. I love public speaking LOL I know I am weird hahah

  7. Hunter Winslow

    February 12, 2019 9:46 pm

    Yeah but what if you have money and drive to work and you are forced to enter environments that don’t work for you. Ugh.

  8. Leshreddur Mitchell

    February 26, 2019 3:59 am

    Great wisdom in this idea. However, it was possible because the little brother didn't have the money and transportation, and probably permission to go to the store to get them junkfoods. Strength of will, you might have taught him on accident as well as the idea of, create a healthy atmosphere, become healthy. But with all strengths, you must practice and exercise, a true master never acts like he is the master and doesn't need to practice, a true master, makes the practice enjoyable, and ever tries to do better, or something new. Good man for turning a disadvantage of a broken leg, into an advantage for your brother. Heart warmed. Great story.

  9. acan thus

    March 21, 2019 5:06 am

    Are you saying that people who don’t see chips and chocolate all day at work won’t start crawling these by 4 pm on too many days ?? This young man should read a few more books and listen to more case studies

  10. Samarpan02

    March 31, 2019 1:40 am

    Good motivation . Not sure why that "Red Carpet'? Looked like a Bath room rug ! so worried that he was going o trip and fall again ! Can the YORKU have a decent carpet please?

  11. TheTripstraps

    April 1, 2019 2:33 pm

    i have zero will power so i agree with him. im changing my eating habits and i have also changed foods that i have home. no chips or candies etc, only healthy snacks. and also portion sizes. i eat everything, but not so healthy foods not so often. it has to be balanced. oll obese ppl should go to learn to eat and move camps for couple of weeks. introduce healthy foods and choices to their life

  12. Marli Okono

    April 11, 2019 7:50 pm

    I would have loved to have heard what kind of meals and snacks he prepared and taught his little brother. 18 lbs is a great accomplishment in a few weeks!!

  13. pb qd

    May 1, 2019 1:43 am

    good talk and message, he just needed some stage practice. at least he is hot and smart

  14. Stanley Slawski

    May 2, 2019 6:57 pm

    Ted Talks is going to kill their brand with presentations like this. The most obvious advice, presented in the most boring, drone-like voice possible. NOT GOOD, PEOPLE!

  15. I Live For Myself Not For You

    May 3, 2019 6:32 pm

    By doing so, it's that easy. You either love yourself enough to do it or you don't!!

  16. fatma alajmi

    May 6, 2019 5:52 am

    Thank you for ur speech
    What u have done with ur brother is great
    It is simple but I dont know why I can’t stick to it 💔

  17. llamadog killsu

    May 7, 2019 9:45 am

    So this supposed to be a good speech because it was in front of lots of people? The message was very basic, not much learned here. Took a long time to say nothing so he could show off helping his brother lose 20 lbs. This is high school worthy.

  18. Oleg Perchyk

    May 13, 2019 1:06 pm

    “increase your barrier to entry for bad habits”

    In this case eating junk food.
    It’s great advice with many applications, great job!

  19. Velo-Pro International

    May 17, 2019 8:39 am

    I know young people know a lot because they have Google but juicing machines have been around over a hundred years. Some fresh vegetables and fruit juices date back to the Egyptians. Considering beer is 13000 years old I'm not surprised.

  20. Nini K

    June 3, 2019 9:48 am

    I get wholesome food when a was young and not much in the house. Ihate the taste of vegetebles I eat it but it load the taste.

  21. Daisy Hendriks

    June 17, 2019 11:41 am

    Great talk. To everyone crapping on this guy, get lost. I'd like to see y'all up there making a speech.

  22. Will Alexander

    June 18, 2019 12:49 am

    It would have been much better if I discovered this particular “Yamzοkο Weebly” (Google it) a couple of years back. For 15 days of utilizing the programs, I burned 12 pounds There is still need of work outs even just a few times a week and the foods to consume should be ideal. It showed amazing outcomes for me. Undeniably, this is strongly recommended and I also do wish this would give good results to you too mainly because it did to me. .

  23. Sandy Heesom

    June 23, 2019 8:22 am

    I am a plant based health food reformer, we "veganize" all the old unhealthy American foods we used to love. I make most everything from scratch, soy sauce, butter, plant based ranch salad dressing ect …make other "vegan meals" as well. It takes time to adjust the tastebuds but it is well worth it. In just 2 yrs, at 50 yrs old, I feel much better than ever and with a low thyroid. Am NOT taking the pharmacy junk med for low thyroid anymore but all natural medicines and feel so much better than when on the pharmacy chemical junk with a junk food diet.

    Now I do not have to worry about clogged arteries from meat and cheese….

    In time we will enjoy the healthy foods more and more and add to the list more of our favorite very tasty meals that we love!!

    No animals were tortured for our tastebuds and plates of food.

    It is a WIN WIN!!!

  24. Alex DeLeon

    June 27, 2019 8:07 pm

    I totally look up to this man as someone I can relate to. Now to continue my journey on having a healthier lifestyle while going green!

  25. All Interesting -MThing

    July 21, 2019 1:06 am

    Thank you! For your information. You can tell everyone leads a healthy lifestyle.

  26. stefano nutini

    July 24, 2019 11:11 am

    A friend of mine uncovered her own technique to me regarding how she got to trim her excess weight by using “Yamzοkο Weebly” (Google it) weightloss system. Up to now it’s been working great. I’ve already shed 3 lbs that I have been wanting so hard to lose. Happy of the success I have gotten at this point. .

  27. E Zimny

    July 27, 2019 8:43 pm

    Well, yes, he basically said that you shouldn't keep junk food at your house. But it's just one facet of an infinitely bigger idea: "make your environment work for you instead of against you". And this can be used for so many other situations and goals!
    For example, if you want to move more throughout the day, enlarge distances between the places you usually move between at your home or workplace. Have your bathroom upstairs, so that every time you need to go, you have to climb the stairs. Put the filing cabinets in your office as far away from your desk as you can so that every time you need something, you have to get up and get it. If your goal is to drink more water, make sure you have a bottle at hand everywhere you go. Want to read more? Make sure your book is in your bag wherever you go. Make it easy to choose the right thing. This rule can be applied to many, many situations!

  28. DZ Author

    July 31, 2019 5:42 pm

    What was the opening joke? Li’l bro thought protein was … ?

    Regional, ethnic food? Local dialect of a well-recognized food? Also, food anecdote is a good speech starter, kudos on the organization of thoughts and ideas.

  29. Andrew Dwillis

    August 14, 2019 5:30 pm

    You had to go to school to learn that? “Don’t keep junk food in the house”. That’s all he said.

  30. Marly

    August 20, 2019 5:36 pm

    Thank you for sharing your personal experience and braving through this presentation. I, like millions, suffer from fear of public speaking and totally understand the desire to do it but your body does this.. kuddos to you for doing it, and you will get to a place where you won't be as nervous. I think you did great! and the info you provided was inspiring..

    I'm just saddened to read some of the comments that were very critical and judgemental, perhaps they need some stage time and empathy.

  31. Cecily 95

    August 23, 2019 2:00 am

    I work in a bakery 😂 10 hours surrounded by baked goods. Donuts cookies cake brownies fudge breaaaad! 🤤

  32. Jemma C

    August 26, 2019 1:36 pm

    Im experiencing this right now. I’m away from home (where it is stocked with junk food) and have been buying only nutritious foods. All of a sudden, that massive conflict to eat healthy vs unhealthy was gone. It’s such a relief.

  33. arttubelady

    August 27, 2019 11:59 am

    Yes. Practical advice clearly stated. Thanks my eyes are open now…. No wonder I am choosing wrong. I have the wrong food on the counter.

  34. Gl Gl

    September 3, 2019 1:49 am

    I agree… a lot of criticism… but hey …he can put a TED talk on his CV…. Can you? I listen to a lot of TED talks and a lot of them are fluff common sense or just a plain infomercial… This is common sense. and great if you never leave the house. Fighting obesity is like fighting age… Consistency bitches….

  35. Gemini Girl

    September 8, 2019 2:42 am

    Dude… I don't have any tempting food in my house… Because I eat it all on my way back from the store! Next strategy please!


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