Weighty Matters

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Supermarket Shopping

on September 1, 2012

Every weight loss counselor, magazine article, or list of helpful tips I can think of recommends making a list to take with you when you go food shopping.  I was frequently really good at making up my list ahead of time and studiously finding the items on it when I got to the store.  By the time I got to the check out counter, I’d completed the list for sure, along with a dozen other things that I hadn’t planned to buy until I saw them in the store.

Some experts suggest that you “shop the perimeter” first and stay away from the interior aisles as much as possible.  Yeah, sure, the perimeter has the fresh produce, dairy, seafood, meat and  poultry shelves.  Good choices!  However, in my local Publix supermarket, the first department on the perimeter to my right is the bakery, giving one ample opportunity to load up on cake, pies and doughnuts.  Then the scent of baked goods gives way to the aroma of fried chicken when you hit the deli department.  You can avoid that counter if you cut to the left, but you’ll have to withstand the temptation of the wine shelves and international cheeses.

If you’re successful, you can wile away your time in the produce section before sauntering on to the dairy cases.  Speaking of dairy, I don’t think it’s an accident that the refrigerated cookie dough, biscuits, and popping fresh cinammon roll tubes are situated before you ever get to the non-fat Greek yogurt.

It’s a plot, I tell you.  The masterminds who designed the supermarket layout know that they should make us forge a path through pastries before we can fill our carts with ripe berries and good-for-us greens.  By shopping the perimeter, we could completely pass up boxes of cookies, so of course they want to be sure that the slice and bake stuff can grab our attention.

Just in case we manage to stick to our guns and purchase only the items we pre-wrote on our well-intentioned lists, the stores have one more chance to topple us into temptation — the candy racks at the check-out lines.  I can’t tell you how many internal arguments discussions I’ve had with myself over whether that pack of M&Ms or single Reese’s Peanut Butter cup would really be so bad.

These days I don’t do as much supermarket shopping as I did before.   I pretty much make one trip a week on the weekend and that carries me through.  I’ve become much better at pre-planning, making lists, and then sticking to them once I’m at the store.  The lists, of course, are pretty short, but that doesn’t mean I’m not tempted.  I’m just better at resisting.

I walked in today with my list.  I’m part of an organic produce buying club.  This week’s share included a sizeable butternut squash and I was determined to make homemade soup.  I walked out of the supermarket with every item on my list, but not one thing more.

Not even a pack of M&Ms.

7 responses to “Supermarket Shopping

  1. hoperoth says:

    Good for you!

    I seem to remember reading that supermarket designers put the milk in the far back corners of their stores so that you have to walk past everything else just to get that one pint that you originally walked in for.

  2. I too know the siren song of that damn cookie dough that looms large between me and my nonfat fage yogurts….i resisted today but i did buy those 90 calorie fiber one chocolate granola bars that are utter processed crap…

  3. One of the many things I like about my grocery store is that you first walk into the produce section – large and filled with lovely produce. Although since I shop for a family I end in the produce sections so what I get doesn’t get squished. And I can’t imagine shopping without a list – I’d never remember what I need to get. Another nice thing in our store is the no candy check out lanes – if it’s not there, you can’t pick it up!

  4. Shop on line…or come to Belgium where the supermarkets are uninspiring, but the markets are awesome. We spend a shedload on fresh fruit and veg every week at the market, I visit the supermarket once every 6-8 weeks for bulk purchases of dry stuff, plus they do have a good fish counter. I too am strict with the list.

    • Mary Stella says:

      Shopping online for groceries wouldn’t be economical for me or the environment in the Keys. Unfortunate fact.

      I was thinking today, however, how cool it would be if I could submit my list on line and then just drive to the store and pick up my order. Time saver!

  5. Mary Stella says:

    The recipe is by Ina Garten and I found it on FoodNetwork dot com. I chose it because it didn’t include cream or any fat except a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Yes, I have to be careful to get my protein in and not fill up on anything else first. Soup is a “slider” food, so it’s easier to balance it with protein then if I filled up with, say, bread or something else. I often look for ways to incorporate more protein, too. I could probably add some sort of beans to this and it would be quite good. Tonight I also grilled a lamb chop.

    Some things are prohibited earlier in the recovery period because your stomach needs to adjust. At this stage, I can tolerate most things fairly well. One exception is white meat chicken or turkey. Unless they’re in a casserole or some sort of sauce, or chopped up fine in chicken salad, white meat poultry sticks funny in my stomach. Hmm, I bought turkey thighs at the store today and will roast them. I might shred some of the meat up into my soup, too, for the protein.

    I eat peanuts and walnuts without a problem. I don’t like raw tomatoes, so I can’t answer that question. I don’t have a problem with corn. I wasn’t a big diet soda drinker – maybe one every couple of days. I suppose bariatric patients can drink it at some point, but honestly I’d rather not fill my stomach with carbonated beverages. Water can get boring, so sometimes I add Crystal light. I’m not a big juice drinker because of the calories, but will mix some in with water sometimes.

    Ask away without fear of getting thumped by celery. If anyone ever hits a question that makes me uncomfortable, I’ll say. 🙂

  6. forestjane says:

    I have great intentions going INTO the store, but they’ve all folded before coming out. What’s your recipe for squash soup? Do you have to be extra careful filling up on soup (no protein, lots of water) if you have to have a certain amount of other stuff?

    What things are prohibited? Corn because of the hard to digest kernels? Tomatoes with peels because of the hard to digest peels? Peanuts or other nuts that haven’t been made into pb? Can you have diet sodas anymore?

    And if I ever get to personal with my questions, just slap me upside the virtual head with a stalk of celery or something. 🙂

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