Can You Reach Fitness Goals With a Clean Kitchen?


We’ve all heard about clean eating. Taking this one step further, is the state of your client’s kitchen jeopardizing their workout routine? Your clients are putting in the hard work at the gym while under your instruction, but during the other 15 hours of the day it’s up to them to make smarter choices on their own and not just with what to eat. Instead of only worrying about what foods your clients are loading their cabinets with, you may need to actually evaluate the state of their kitchen first. Turns out a chaotic and messy environment makes for a caloric hot box!


Cornell Food and Brand Lab supported this theory in a study analyzing the impact a cluttered and chaotic food environment can have on one’s mindset and how it affects what and how much they consume. In this study, the participants consisted of 101 undergraduate females. Half of them were asked to wait in a disorganized kitchen with scattered piles of papers, dirty dishes in the sink, and a ringing phone, while the other half waited in an orderly kitchen. Each kitchen had bowls of cookies, crackers, and carrots available to the participants.

Reduce caloric intake with a clean kitchen

In ten minutes time, the women in the messy kitchen ate 53 more calories from cookies than the women who waited in the organized kitchen. Half of these participants were also asked to write about a time they felt in control prior to entering the chaotic kitchen, while the others were asked to do just the opposite. The females who felt in control upon entering the cluttered room ate 100 fewer calories than those who felt out of control.

Of course here, the participants were only in this chaotic environment for a short while, where the food and amount of calories consumed would not be necessarily deemed unhealthful. In the real world though, stress does not only loom its daunting head over our messy kitchens for a mere ten minutes, and those calories can add up quickly throughout the day! This is why it is important to get to know your clients and what environments test their self-control.

Clean kitchens influence clean diets and clean clients

When your surroundings represent organization and calmness, your energy feeds off of these same vibrations. In the Cornell study, we saw this reflected when women who were in a clean and organized environment felt more relaxed and in control over what they ate. The kitchen is an especially important space in the home; it’s where we cultivate fuel for our bodies through the art of cooking. Like any great artist needs inspiration for their work, so do we when cooking in our home!

Ask your clients about their kitchen space and how they feel when they enter it. Are they overwhelmed? Intimidated? Relaxed? Address their concerns and brainstorm what they can do to make their kitchen a more joyous space. For some it may be having flowers on the counter, or soft music playing in the background, while for others it may just be simply having cleaned and clear countertops!

It may be worth applying some of what you find out to the space they workout in with you. Environments are important, they set the tone for our attitudes. Got thoughts about this or questions for Regina, our RD in training?

Come and ask away, she’s in the heat of her studies and overflowing with the most recent info out there!

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Clutter, Chaos, and Overconsumption: The Role of Mind-Set in Stressful and Chaotic Food Environments


Regina Pellegrino

Regina Pellegrino is a certified Health Coach throughThe Institute for Integrative Nutrition, as well as a certified Fitness Specialist through San Diego Mesa College. She is currently working towards her accreditation as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Her goal is to spread her thirst for knowledge and passion for living a healthy lifestyle by helping others achieve their optimal health. Learn more about Regina at


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