Friday, July 31, 2015

Weight loss success begins at the grocery store!

My job at the college often requires that I work at the ‘other’ (meaning Mt. Pleasant) campus. While this adds about a ½ hour to my drive and I sometimes feel out of my element using someone else’s office, it does allow me to do my shopping after work in the “big city.”  For those that live in a rural area like me, going to a town that has a Meijer AND a Walmart store is a BIG CITY!  My regular grocery store is 15 miles from home and has only the basic essentials (LIKE WATERMELON).  I can’t even get my favorite Dannon Greek Light-n-Fit yogurt there.  Getting to go grocery shopping in a big-box store (and the thrift store, of course J) sort of balances out any negative thoughts/feelings I have about being required to work at the other campus.

So…you may have guessed it by now….I have to work in Mt. Pleasant today and grocery shopping is on my agenda for after-work.  One of the things I learned very early in my weight loss journey is that WEIGHT LOSS SUCCESS BEGINS in the grocery store!  It’s a simple concept to grasp, and yet such a hard thing to actually embrace sometimes. The bottom line is… If it is NOT PART OF YOUR PLAN…..or a necessity for a recipe for a potluck/holiday dish….or something that someone in your family cannot live without….DON’T BRING IT IN THE HOUSE!  Even those of us that have a great deal of self-control do not need any unnecessary temptation in the refrigerator or cupboard to cause us to stumble in a moment of weakness.

In some ways, living alone is a blessing.  I’m not required to pack kid’s lunches or keep snacks in the house for growing teenagers. I’m not required to have chips and soda for the football games. I’m not going to get any flack from anyone for not having cookies or ice-cream at my house. While I continue to cook and bake treats for a friend, all of that is done and kept at HIS house, so I really have no excuse to buy it for my house.  That makes it a bit easier, and I sympathize with those that are required to purchase all sorts of goodies and make dishes that you are trying not to eat.

A few months ago, I got on a big protein bar kick. I justified them by convincing myself that they were ‘good for me” and that there really wasn’t any harm in eating them because they we allowed on my plan.  While it is true that protein bars were/are a staple in my diet and satisfied my sweet tooth, I developed a bit of an addiction to them and each time I visited the ‘big city’ I would bring home several boxes of them.  It was not unusual for me to have 30 or more protein bars of all kinds/brands in my cupboard.  Well…guess what?  Having them there….coupled with my incredible love of them….made it very easy for me to grab one whenever I wanted. Notice I said, “Whenever I wanted” and not “whenever I was hungry.” I had several stashed in my purse at all times; a few more at work; and several at a friend’s house. They were everywhere….and readily available for me to eat at all hours of the day. I even got into the bad habit of grabbing one in the middle of the night when I got up one of the half-dozen times to use the bathroom (gotta love that watermelon! LOL).  Each time I ate one, I justified it because it was “on my plan” and it was PROTEIN.  Actually, what was happening is that I was becoming addicted again to the sugar in some of the varieties. That, in turn, made me want to eat another….or something else….and I was constantly hungry and guess what… pants were getting tighter and tighter.  Fortunately, I am able to recognize that I was teetering on a slippery slope… that BEGAN IN THE GROCERY STORE….the ‘big city one” because they don’t stock my favorite flavor/brand in my regular small-town market….and I no longer even buy them! Certainly I will eat a protein bar if/when I want one, but not having them in the house makes it much easier to stay on track.

The same type of scenario played out a few weeks ago when I needed to buy a bag of pretzels for a recipe. It’s been over 4 years since I have had even a single potato chip or Frito. Salty junk food was my downfall (probably still is) and I know….that I cannot eat just one, so I simply will not even try it.   Pretzels, though….well, they are fat-free and better for you, so since Christmas I would occasionally allow myself to eat about 10 pretzels on rare occasions. Well….I discovered quickly that 10 pretzels became 12 the next time….and 15 the time after that….(all justified by “it’s fat free…..lowest calories of all the snack foods, etc….”) and I managed to eat the remaining pretzels (from the recipe) in a matter of a couple of weeks.  SO….I quickly learned that I WILL NOT BUY them in the first place. The next time I need to make a dessert for a gathering, I will choose something else.  The journey to weight loss BEGINS IN THE GROCERY STORE!!!!  Fortunately, I am aware of my addiction/desires/temptations/weaknesses and have learned how to avoid situations that will cause me to stumble.

So…for the past month or so….I have not even purchased a single protein bar, nor will I buy another bag of pretzels….because if it is NOT IN MY HOUSE, than I won’t be able to eat it when I’m tempted.  It’s a simple concept to grasp…..but not so easy to live by, is it?  All one has to do is walk in the store and be greeted by the smell of fresh baked goods or walk by the displays of goodies at every corner. Even waiting in line at the check-out is tempting to those that love chocolate and candy (fortunately not me.)  It seems like all the high-calorie junk is just crying out…..’Buy me….you can’t live without me….take me home…don’t I look good?”  Well, my friends….TRUST ME…….you CAN live without it….and YES, it looks good, and smells good, and very likely TASTES good too…..but…..NOTHING…NOTHING….NOTHING tastes as good as being healthy and reaching a goal (even a little tiny one along the way).  Simply put….JUST WALK AWAY, be strong, and JUST DON’T BUY IT!

There are a few tricks I’ve learned along the way…..
Don’t shop when you are hungry; you’ll end up with more than you need.
Go with a plan/menu… that you know what you need for the week.
Stay away from the snack food/cookie/ and bakery aisles.
Only buy what’s on your list.
Buy all the fresh fruit/vegetables that you can afford.
Mostly…..first and foremost….ask God to take away your desire/temptation for EVERYTHING that is not healthy and nourishing for your body and WALK AWAY confident that “ You can do all things through HIM that gives you strength!”

Happy….and healthy…!