BB Dakota's resident fitness and wellness guru Janel Wierenga explains the ins-and-outs of healthy grocery shopping habits.
When we want to lose weight, many of us prefer a quick fix. We jump on board with a fad diet we heard works miracles, and, initially, it does. But, then the diet ends, the restrictions are over, and, because you haven’t learned healthier ways to fuel your body, you begin to feed your former hunger pains. You make little exceptions, like “only on weekends and special occasions,” but, before long, the exceptions become the rule. Just like that, you revert to old habits. What’s worse, you’re unable to maintain the weight loss you achieved and, before long, you’ve gained more weight.
It’s easy to slip back into old habits. Real weight-loss success requires effort and a desire to tackle the root of the problem. How strong is your willingness to break bad habits and adopt better ones? Strategic planning supported by mental toughness and follow through creates a lifestyle change. That’s very different from “dieting”.
My advice is to start small and take ownership of your behaviors. Focusing 100% on a single habit is the best way to stack up small wins and achieve overall change. So, what’s your first move?
Habit Change: Grocery Shopping
Grocery shopping is a habit change that starts at home. First and foremost, assess your kitchen and get rid of all the sabotaging foods lingering around. Free yourself from the craving grip of tempting foods so you can replace them with healthier ones. We all know, a good plan saves time, money, and frustration, so plan your meals ahead of time. It will keep you on course and make you less tempted to throw “extras” in your cart. Write the ingredients you will buy for each meal, so you don’t get distracted and stressed while shopping. When I neglect to prepare a grocery list, I find myself aimlessly walking through the aisles and drawn to easy access, eye-level junk foods that don’t serve my goal of healthy eating. I end up spending more money buying foods I “want” versus “need” and waste my precious time deciding between Rocky Road or Mint Chip.
Armed with a plan and list in hand, it’s time to hit the grocery store. As you adopt your new habit change, give yourself more time than you think you need. Don’t shop rushed. Not only is it more enjoyable to shop this way (joyful habits are always easier to repeat J), it also gives you plenty of time to read food labels and choose better ingredients. Steer clear of sweet treats, alcohol, and sugary beverages, as well as anything that comes from a bag or box. You’ll be surprised what you find when you read your food labels. Most likely your favorite snacks you thought were healthy have hidden sugars along with other stuff you can’t pronounce, and that’s no bueno!
Staying out of the aisles and in the outskirts of your grocery store is where you’ll find whole foods lower in unnecessary fats and sugars.
Staying out of the aisles and in the outskirts of your grocery store is where you’ll find whole foods lower in unnecessary fats and sugars. Whole foods are also high in vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients you need for optimal health. Furthermore, real foods are packed with antioxidants and healthy fats that support heart health and help reduce inflammation. So, if you want to look, feel, and live your best, then fill your shopping cart with all the lean proteins, veggies, fruits, and nuts your heart desires. Real food is the key to good health and your body will thank you!
Lastly, don’t be scared to try new things! Substitute your go-to dairy products for alternatives such as coconut milk, almond milk, and ghee (Keep in mind substitute products can have added sweeteners, preservatives, etc. so read your labels!) Try new flavors, and experiment with different herbs and spices. To avoid the diet mentality, think of it as adding new foods rather than removing bad ones.
Most importantly, celebrate small wins! When you successfully navigate your way through the grocery store, it will build your self-confidence and motivate you to keep going! This single habit of better grocery shopping has the potential to change the way you eat for the rest of your life. Remember, tackle one habit at a time and don’t fall for quick fixes!
What healthy new habits are you trying to cultivate? Join the conversation on our BB Dakota Facebook community page here.
About The Author:
Janel Wierenga lives in Irvine, California and has been a personal trainer for 15 years. She is passionately committed to improving the health and fitness of her community, and inspires her clients to achieve major goals at her private gym, PowerLab Workouts. Janel believes everyone can train like an athlete no matter age or experience. Focusing on cardiovascular conditioning, Janel’s workouts are fun, challenging, and always changing, pushing boundaries and stimulating new achievements.