FUdiet: The Science of Weight Loss, Nutrition, and Fitness http://www.fudiet.com by Sherry Pagoto, PhD Tue, 25 Oct 2016 13:58:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.6 21 Days to Change a Habit? Why It’s Not That Simple http://www.fudiet.com/2016/10/21-days-to-change-a-habit-why-its-not-that-simple/ Tue, 25 Oct 2016 13:58:59 +0000 http://www.fudiet.com/?p=4276

Does it really only take 21 days to create a habit? This hopeful concept has sold a lot of books. But if it were true, we’d all be slim, avid exercisers, nonsmokers, and achieving huge work successes by next month. Instead, we muddle through on a much rockier road to behavior change…. Click here to read more of my latest post on US News and World Report.

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Happy Plankentine’s Day Challenge! http://www.fudiet.com/2016/02/happy-plankentines-day-challenge/ Thu, 11 Feb 2016 18:06:06 +0000 http://www.fudiet.com/?p=4240

plank heart

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, you know what that means, don’t you? Me neither! So let’s show some love to our abs on this Valentine’s weekend with a #plankaday challenge! Here are the deets:

  1. Plank for a total of 14 minutes between Feb 12-14. You can plank in any increment, any number of times, anywhere, any how (front planks, side planks, whatever!) you want, just get in 14 minutes!

  2. BONUS! Post a pic of you planking next to your Valentine’s Day gift! The worse the gift, the better. We are talking wilted flowers from the gas station, cheap chocolates, and fuzzy bunnies!

  3. SUPER BONUS! Some of you hard core plankers are poo poo’ing 14 minutes. If that’s you, then your assignment is 14 SETS of planks (front, left side, right side) between Feb 12-14.

Have a planktastic Plankentine’s weekend! To be hard core, love your sweetie, but love your abs more 🙂

valentines day crap

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The December 2015 #Plankaday Challenge http://www.fudiet.com/2015/11/the-december-2015-plankaday-challenge/ http://www.fudiet.com/2015/11/the-december-2015-plankaday-challenge/#comments Tue, 01 Dec 2015 01:14:54 +0000 http://www.fudiet.com/?p=4224

Why limit yourself to 6 geese a’laying, 7 days of Kwanzaa, or 8 crazy nights when you can have 31 days of #plankaday?


I’m talking about the December #plankaday challenge which involves a 1 minute plank EVERY day…but wait, that’s not all….here’s the kicker, add 5 seconds each day from December 1 through 31st.  By December 31st you will be up to a 3 minute 35 second plank!


Look out 2016, here we come!

planking mike holiday


Don’t forget to use the #plankaday hashtag!



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How Do You Lose 100 Pounds http://www.fudiet.com/2015/08/how-do-you-lose-100-pounds/ http://www.fudiet.com/2015/08/how-do-you-lose-100-pounds/#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2015 11:06:55 +0000 http://www.fudiet.com/?p=4184

Amy at her current weight

Well, that’s a pretty big question. I have to defer to Amy Greenan, a member of my FUdiet Facebook group who just passed the 100 lb weight loss mark. 100 pounds is a huge weight loss goal and to be perfectly honest, it is a rare achievement.  I have been interviewing people who I call “Real Life Biggest Losers” to find out how they achieve what doctors say can’t be done. If you take one thing from this post, take Amy’s answer to “How did you lose the weight?”

“It was all about finding a way of living that I could sustain for the rest of my life. I knew I had to eat less and eat higher quality foods, and I wanted to become a more active person. So, I made gradual changes that didn’t feel overwhelming. Exercise actually came first, and then I started figuring out how I wanted/needed to eat in order to start losing weight consistently.”

Notice she never mentions special diets, meal plans, giving up carbs, giving up fat, starving herself, or any magic pills.  None of the Real Life Biggest Losers do.

Name:  Amy Greenan

Age: 45

All time high weight: 372 lbs

Current weight and height: 272, 5’ 8”

Total weight loss: 100 lbs

Amy before her weight loss

How did you gain the weight? A lifetime of yo-yo dieting did me in. I also always had a poor body image, which didn’t help.

When did you begin your weight loss journey? This time? May 2014.

What motivated you to lose weight? Middle age and impending doom! Seriously. I didn’t want to face a horrible future of not being able to do things because I was too fat. It was already starting to happen.

To what extent had your weight affected your physical health?  I had high-ish blood pressure and I was on the brink of diabetes; otherwise I was pretty lucky and wasn’t in too poor health… yet.

How did you lose the weight?  Tell us about your diet and exercise regimen. It was all about finding a way of living that I could sustain for the rest of my life. I knew I had to eat less and eat higher quality foods, and I wanted to become a more active person. So, I made gradual changes that didn’t feel overwhelming. Exercise actually came first, and then I started figuring out how I wanted/needed to eat in order to start losing weight consistently.

Who was the most influential person/people to you during the process of losing weight? I found online communities that I found incredibly supportive, in particular making friends at MyFitnessPal and the amazing Facebook group for FUDiet. I’m also involved in a weight loss program with my local running store – it’s pretty loose and you more or less just weigh in weekly, but they have a private Facebook group that I really enjoy.

Have you ever lost weight and then gained it back? Oh yes, it was the story of my life pretty much from age 9, when I went on my first diet. I was never able to break the yo-yo cycle, until (hopefully) now. I feel pretty confident that that part of my life is over. I’d lose maybe 50 or 60 pounds at a time, but then gain it back plus more – lots more. It was pretty awful. This is, so far, the most weight I’ve lost in one go… I still have at least 100 more to lose, but I am sure that I’m going to get there. I am driven. There’s too much I want to do.

It’s easy to let your diet drift or slowly stop exercising. What do you find to be the key to STICKING TO IT? For me, it’s exercise that is super important – and the key to sticking to it is finding something you truly love to do! I started out at the gym, which was kind of fun, but I have since found that I much more enjoy being outdoors doing things like hiking, running, cycling, playing tennis, and plain old walking. I joined a Learn to 5K program with a local running store back in February, and I’ve made lots of awesome friends who really keep me going. You really can’t underestimate the power of friendship and camaraderie. I’ll be running five miles this weekend for the first time – it’s amazing to think that in just less than six months, I’ve built up to that from nothing. My body is constantly surprising me with the things it can do, even though I still have a lot of weight to lose.

I say that exercise is the most important element in my efforts to lose weight because I’m learning that if I eat like crap, it will affect my performance. I don’t eat perfectly by any means, but wanting to be better at physical activities (say, running at a faster pace, or being able to make my way across the tennis court more efficiently) does help me stay on track. I definitely want to lose weight, but it is no longer my only impetus to eat better.

Just starting off, losing weight is hard.  Tell us, did it get easier or harder for you over time? I would say that it is getting easier. I still struggle with my relationship to food and body image, but I have become more forgiving of transgressions along the way, knowing that I can always “get back on the horse” and I’ll be just fine. I just can’t give up, or there is a very real chance that I would end up back where I was, or worse. That is always in the back of my mind. For now, I feel like after losing 100 pounds I am out of a danger zone in a way, but I think until I lose at least another 50 I won’t feel totally comfortable with my success. Another thing that I have changed about my mindset is that this isn’t a race! There is no deadline! Too many times I’ve set time-based goals and get frustrated when I didn’t meet them. Nowadays, I do set monthly goals – usually I’d love to lose 8-10 pounds each month – but as long as I lose something, even just a pound (and that has happened!), I’m pretty OK. I don’t really care how long it takes me to lose all the weight I want to lose, as long as it happens. That has been a big shift in attitude for me and I think is another big key to my success this time.

Amy before losing 100 lbs

If you could tell your former self anything, knowing what you know now, what would you say? Oh gosh, so many things. Most of all, Stop devaluing yourself because of your weight!

Do you worry about gaining weight back?  How do you prevent yourself from gaining it back? Yes, as I mentioned before, I think until I get down in the lower 200s I’m going to always be worried about that. Heck, probably even beyond that. But maybe that is a good thing – keeps you aware and on your toes. This is always something I am going to have to be on top of, and I am OK with that. Since I’m developing a whole new way of life for myself, I could say that it won’t be much of a problem, but I don’t want to get too cocky at this early juncture.

Sometimes people trying to lose weight have a tough time with motivation. How do you get and stay motivated day after day? On the occasional day or two that I go back to old habits (it’s easy, ugh!), I realize how crappy eating like that makes me feel and I honestly don’t want to keep it up. I know now how good this new lifestyle makes me feel. I’m not sure I like the word “motivation” – people always talk about not having it, or wondering how to get it. I guess my feeling is, that if you really want to make a change in the way you’re living your life, you do it however you can. You also have to know that the transition is not going to be perfect – there will be bumps and detours along the way. You can let those derail you, or you can take one day at a time, one step at a time, and just keep moving forward. That’s all you can do – and you don’t need to wait for motivation to cross your threshold.

Amy after a tennis match!

Can you tell us how your participation in technology and/or social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, mobile apps, blogs (reading them and writing your own) has impacted your weight loss journey? For me, it has made all the difference. I don’t know if I would be as successful with all the various tools and communities available. At various points I’ve used Pact, Lark, Happy Scale, at least a few fitness apps… as I mentioned, I’ve been active on MyFitnessPal from day 1 (I have a 444 day streak as of today!), and the Facebook groups I’ve mentioned before. I do post on my personal Facebook page about my running, and when I reach big milestones in my weight loss. I get so much amazing support there from friends and family. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I’ve written in my own blog (http://amytenpercent.blogspot.com) since 2008, through several ups and downs. I’m not sure how many people read it, but even just getting the occasional comment from someone feels really great. It really helps me to keep track of all my accomplishments in one place, not to mention lists of favorite blogs, and just hashing out all the feelings I’ve experienced going through this. It’s a lot to process and it really keeps me going, especially when times are tough.

What is different (if anything) about your life (and/or health) now that you have lost the weight? Everything is different, for the better. From very little things like being able to bend over and tie my shoes or wear a watch again, to big things like being able to run for four miles straight or fit into size XXL… it’s all been amazing. It’s all been totally worth the blood, sweat, and tears – and that’s a good thing, since I am far from being finished! I’m thinking I’d like to see myself at around 150 pounds, so I’ve got at least 120 left to lose.

Amy running a race in 2015

If we want to follow you, where do we find you? My blog, Ten Percent! http://amytenpercent.blogspot.com! You can also friend me with a little message on MFP to my username, radiosilents. And if you happen to be interested in art, visit http://www.amygreenan.com to see my paintings and other work.

Amy is an artist and graphic designer in Niagara Falls, NY.  She lives with her partner of 15 years and their 4 cats. 


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Taming Hunger http://www.fudiet.com/2015/05/taming-hunger/ Fri, 08 May 2015 15:20:45 +0000 http://www.fudiet.com/?p=4169

Check out my latest post, Taming Hunger, on US News and World Report Eat+Run blog…

Appetite is a tricky thing. Some people seem to be hungry all the time, while others forget to eat. Humans vary widely in their subjective experience of hunger due to neurobiological variations (our brains!) and how exposed we are to environmental cues. The key to appetite control is learning how your brain works and controlling the cues that set it off.  Read on by clicking here.

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Why Diets Shouldn’t Tell You What NOT To Eat http://www.fudiet.com/2015/03/why-diets-shouldnt-tell-you-what-not-to-eat/ Tue, 24 Mar 2015 12:55:21 +0000 http://www.fudiet.com/?p=4152

I recently started blogging for the Eat+Run section of US News and World Report. My first post covered my team’s research comparing two diets: the traditional diet that focuses on all the foods you should eat less of versus a diet that has you focus on eating more of a certain healthy food—fiber. Check out the post HERE to see our findings and why focusing on healthy might just be a healthier approach!


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Too Stressed To Lose Weight http://www.fudiet.com/2015/02/too-stressed-to-lose-weight/ http://www.fudiet.com/2015/02/too-stressed-to-lose-weight/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 21:46:28 +0000 http://www.fudiet.com/?p=4129

Stress causes the trifecta of weight loss failure: it makes us overeat, zaps our motivation to exercise, and by exhausting us, makes us more sedentary. I have seen many patients fail to lose weight simply because the stress in their life wasn’t allowing them the time or the energy to develop healthy lifestyle habits. Is this you?

Stressors can be rocks or boulders. A rock is a stressor that causes discomfort but probably doesn’t require a major life change. Rush hour traffic, being late for a meeting, and/or a long day taking care of children are good examples. A boulder, on the other hand, is one that probably won’t be resolved without a major life change. For example, an unsatisfying job or relationship, doing poorly in school, a house that is falling apart, or lack of meaning in life require big changes. The first approach to truly overcoming your stress will be to determine whether you are dealing with rocks or boulders.

If you are dealing with boulders, then there are no easy fixes to help you overcome them. The best course of action is seeking counsel by a professional or a friend to figure out what changes you need to make to get to a better place in life and how to go about doing so as soon as possible. Being stuck with a boulder on your shoulder for long periods of time will slowly erode your health and rob you of the energy to live a healthy lifestyle. Get help in moving the load.

If your stressors are rocks, they can still feel pretty heavy when they add up. Pick something new to try from this list of stress management strategies to see if it lightens your load.

1.  Get Social.  In this age of social media, we seem to spend less time having deep, meaningful conversations with loved ones. Texting and Facebooking are great for saying hi, but more meaningful social support can only be had with full-fledged conversations. Find pockets of time for conversation with your spouse, a friend, or family member to share the trials and tribulations of your day.  For example, cook a meal together or go for a walk or play cards instead of watching TV. People with strong social support are more resilient to stress so try to solicit deeper social support in your life by making time for it.

2. Commute Makeover.  The commute to and from work can add to the stress of the work day or it can help to reduce it, depending on how you use the time. If you are bored of the same old radio and feel eager to get home because your stomach is growling, then the commute is not helping. Find a podcast (e.g., all of NPRs shows can be listened to online via your phone anytime), audiobook, or new Pandora station to stimulate your mind.  Pack a light snack to prevent impatience that is spurred by hunger pangs. Another idea is to use this time to call and chat up a friend who may be suffering through his/her commute across town.

3. Deep Breathing. Stress speeds up the heart rate and jacks up blood pressure which makes us feel even tenser, making for a vicious cycle. To prevent the physiological cascade of stress from escalating, take 10 deep and slow breaths. Each breath should take 5 seconds to inhale and 5 seconds to exhale. Notice what your body feels like as you take control of your respiration. Your heart slows, your muscles relax, and you feel calm.

4. Lighten Your Load. Stress happens when we have a bigger load than we can carry. When we get super busy it becomes hard to calm down enough to ask for help. Think of one task you can fairly delegate to someone else. Is there a child in the house who could do some laundry? Could your spouse take over some of the grocery shopping? Could you hire someone to do some light housework? Make a to-do list every Monday and then identify at least one task that could be delegated to someone else.

5. Me Time. When stress really gets out of control, all time for yourself gets squeezed out. Reclaim time for yourself. Make a list of “me time” activities that you find stress reducing. Examples might include a hot bath, a 15 minute yoga video, meditation, reading a book, or going for a walk. Make sure you set time aside on most days to decompress with one of these activities.

6. Rediscover your hobbies.  What ever happened to hobbies? People used to spend more time engaged in hobbies, but hobbies seem to have given way to DVR, cable TV, and the internet. Hobbies are better for stress reduction than TV and internet because they provide a sense of mastery, fulfilment, and accomplishment. Allocate some of your down time to a long forgotten hobby or a new one you always wanted to start. This is a great way to rejuvenate your mind at the end of the day or on a weekend.

Do you have some go-to stress reduction habits?  Please share in a comment!


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Dining out: A treat or a habit? http://www.fudiet.com/2015/02/dining-out-a-treat-or-a-habit/ http://www.fudiet.com/2015/02/dining-out-a-treat-or-a-habit/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 16:36:11 +0000 http://www.fudiet.com/?p=4117

When I was a kid in the late 70’s/early 80’s going out to eat was a treat. When your birthday came along you’d get excited because that was the one day of the year you got to go to your favorite restaurant. Fast forward to 2015 and we are a restaurant nation. Eating out is no longer a treat, it is habit. An unhealthy habit too. Studies have repeatedly shown that frequent dining out is related to higher body weight.

If you dine out of the home regularly you may be handicapping your weight loss efforts. Even if you go only to restaurants that report calorie counts on menus, these counts depend on the preparer being strictly adherent to portion sizes. In my 7 year stint in the restaurant industry I noticed a tendency to go beyond the standard portion to keep the customers happy. Healthy lifestyle is easier with minimal reliance on eating out, but that can be tough with a hectic life. Here are a few behavioral strategies for changing your approach to eating out:

1. Gravitate back to “treat frequency” – Track how many of your meals each week are take-out or at restaurants, then figure out how you can slowly bring that number down. You might also set a limit on restaurant visits and once you hit your limit, eat in for the rest of the month. I once challenged a patient who ate out for lunch every single weekday to see what would happen if he packed lunches instead for a week. He lost 5 pounds in one week! You may be surprised at the impact of a small change like cooking one more dinner a week or bringing your lunch.

2. Do Your Homework – Most chain restaurants and fast food joints make nutrition information available and this is accessible via their website or your garden variety weight loss app (e.g., MyFitnessPal, Lose it). Before ordering, look up the nutrition information for the menu and select a meal that reasonably fits into your daily goal. Keep in mind though that if the serving size seems too good to be true relative to the calorie count, it probably is.

3. Short List – Make a short list of restaurants that have healthy options. Some restaurants have many, others have few or none. Avoid restaurants that are a set up for overeating by only visiting those that you have a good track record of portion control.

4. Order Half – Many restaurants serve double, triple, even quadruple portion sizes. Research shows that the larger the portion we are served, the more we tend to eat. To get your portions down to size ask the server to split your meal in half and box it up before bringing it to the table. This way you don’t have to know-when-to-say-when while you are eating.

5. Seafood diet — Use restaurants as an opportunity to eat healthy foods that have a short shelf life or are a pain in the butt to prepare—like seafood and fresh vegetables. Make a pact to order grilled, broiled, or steamed fish and veggies when available at restaurants to increase your intake of these foods in general and to avoid higher calorie options like red meats and fried foods.

6. Cut the starch — Restaurants are notorious for over-portioning starches because starches are cheap. They provide enormous servings of potatoes, pasta, rice, and bread, but rarely do you get a giant portion of veggies, fruit, or lean meat. This is how they trick you into thinking you got a good deal. Swap out some of that cheap-o starch for vegetables, fruit, beans or whole grain options when possible.

7. No Pasta Rule – Related to #6, pasta is the biggest scam and diet danger of restaurants– period.  Even though I am Italian (!), I make it a rule to never order pasta dishes in restaurants because they have tons of calories due to the volume of noodles and the oil in sauces. In Italy, pasta is served as a small side dish, not in the giant bowls like they serve in the US. Unless you are splitting with 3 or more people, pasta dishes are just too high in calories to be diet-friendly. I’m going hard core on this one and suggesting a no-pasta rule while at restaurants.

8. Order high-willpower foods — I call a “high-willpower food” one that you enjoy but do not tend to overeat. For example, I love black beans, but I would never be tempted to eat 1000 calories of them in one sitting. French fries on the other hand… it’s like I have an extra stomach for those!  High fiber and/or high protein foods settle the appetite, which allows you to stay in control of your willpower; but high starch, salty, and/or sweet foods stimulate appetite, which will tax your willpower. Stick to your high-willpower foods at restaurants.

9. Facebook. One reason we default to going out to eat is that it’s 5p and we can’t figure out what to make for dinner. To find some new quick and healthy dinner recipes post on Facebook that you are looking for everyone’s very favorite, healthy, go-to dinner recipes. This way you get the best-of-the-best of what other people are making for din and refresh your dinner rotation (and theirs!).

10. Rewired. Eating out may evolve from treat to habit for another reason: the richer foods served by restaurants make home-cooked meals seem less enticing. This may make us decreasingly motivated to put the time into cooking. Why settle for oven-baked chicken when you can have Kung Pao chicken at the corner Chinese restaurant? When we get used to eating high sodium, high sugar, and/or high fat foods, our usual foods will start to seem bland in comparison. If you notice frequent cravings for certain restaurant dishes or highly palatable foods, you may be slipping down this path. Step away from those restaurants for a while to reset your palate.

Got additional ideas? I would love to hear them!

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Last Minute HEALTHY Gift Ideas http://www.fudiet.com/2014/12/last-minute-healthy-gift-ideas/ http://www.fudiet.com/2014/12/last-minute-healthy-gift-ideas/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 16:15:27 +0000 http://www.fudiet.com/?p=1632

Living a healthy lifestyle is not just about making the healthy choices for yourself but also about exuding health in everything you do and that includes gift giving.  How can we really call ourselves healthy if we pass unhealthy things onto others?  Here is my list of last minute healthy gift ideas for anybody on your list.

1. Edible Arrangements. These are beautiful all fruit arrangements which comes at a time of year where good fresh fruit can be hard to find.  Franchises are in most cities so if there is no time for delivery you can easily arrange for pick-up.  I have sent at least 3 of these this year!

2. Fruit of the Month Club – Several companies have monthly fruit clubs including Harry and David and The Fruit Company. You can choose from 3 to 12 months where the recipient will receive shipments of fresh fruit.

3. Fitbit – If you have a gadget guru on your list, this is perfect.  The small device attaches to your pants and measures your steps, stairs, sleep time, time it took to fall asleep, and calories burned throughout the day. The info uploads wirelessly every time you walk past your computer.  There is an app that you can use to track your activities as well.

4. Massage – Go to the local spa and pick up a gift card!  There is hardly a person on Earth who wouldn’t welcome the gift of relaxation.

5. Whole Foods Gift Basket – In a pinch I have been known to grab a basket and browse through Whole Foods and pick out things that the recipient would like.  Ideas are special soaps, unique foods, fruit, exotic cheese, and fresh bread/rolls.  You can pick this up as late as Christmas eve!

6.  A Goat.  Huh?  Yes, International Rescue Gifts allows you to send goats, chickens, mosquito nets, healthcare for an expectant mom, safety equipment, a classroom for children, and much more to somewhere in the world where these items are direly needed.  On their website, you can pick the category of gift (health, education, emergency relief, rebuilding) and by price range (under $50 to over $250).

7. Stocking Stuffers – Can’t forget these!  Try things like: 100 cal packs of almonds, dark chocolate, hand warmers, walking/running socks (who can’t use another pair?), funky colored sports bra/shorts, sport gloves (for exercising outside in the cold), iTunes gift card, or individual packets of Gu Brew, Sportbeans, and other electrolyte products.

8.  Give the gift of exercise for kids!  Any parent welcomes ideas and activities for their kids on cold weekend days.  Find a local indoor playground, jump place, or trampoline gym like Skyzone, and pick up a gift card for the family on your list.


9.  Dancing Lessons – Do you have someone on your list who used to love dancing but hasn’t had a chance to get out there? Find a local dance studio and get a gift certificate for a few lessons of salsa, ballroom, or Latin!

10. Cleaning. One thing that adds stress to everyone’s life is a messy house (and no time to clean it)! Give the gift of a cleaning service and you will save the person some stress and time, which frees them up to do things they have trouble making time for –like hitting the gym. Local services like Molly Maid have gift certificates instantly delivered via email.

Good luck on your last minute shopping!  Happy holidays and keep it healthy!


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A Graduate Course In Grocery Shopping http://www.fudiet.com/2014/12/a-graduate-course-in-grocery-shopping/ Wed, 03 Dec 2014 14:02:59 +0000 http://www.fudiet.com/?p=4096

We have all been through Grocery Shopping 101: shop the perimeter, make a list, don’t shop hungry, etc, yet somehow we still end up with ice cream and crackers in the grocery cart. The challenge with a lot of grocery shopping advice is that it can be impractical. How do I buy my whole grain cereal if I shop the perimeter? Or condiments? Sometimes I have a list and still buy things that aren’t on it. And what if my only time this week to stop at the grocery store is after work, when I’m kinda hungry?

The truth is our ability to eat healthy at home lies squarely on what happens at the grocery store. It is time for a graduate course in grocery shopping.

1. Delegate. Navigating the grocery store is no different than navigating a buffet—you are surrounded by unlimited temptations. Recent research has shown that avoiding situations that tempt us is more effective than going to battle with the temptation. When you go to battle, the reality is sometimes you will lose. You can’t lose a battle you don’t show up to though. One way to avoid the grocery store battleground is to recruit someone else (someone who can stick to the list!) to take on some of the grocery shopping responsibility for the home.

2. Delegate Fail. No takers on number 1?  Another way to avoid the grocery store battleground is to use an online grocery service like Peapod. By ordering your groceries online you avoid being exposed to all the temptations at the store. If you worry about online grocery shopping because you prefer to hand select your own produce, then go to a produce market for your produce and buy the rest of your groceries online. The perk is they deliver it right to your door!

3. Put It On The Shit List. We know making a shopping list can help us stay focused when grocery shopping (even though we sometimes veer off it), but have you ever made a “Do Not Buy” list?  List the foods that you commit to not buying right next to the list of foods you want to buy. By reminding you of your commitment to avoid these foods, the list may cause you to think twice before putting them in the cart.

4. How To Make A Shit List. Make a list of the foods you are most likely to overeat at home—some might even be healthy foods; it’s just important that the foods are ones that account for unnecessary calories (i.e., eating when not hungry). Now add any foods that you eat when stressed at home. Next, think of the foods that you eat when bored, add those. These are your trigger foods and as long as they are in the house, they will keep triggering you. New shit list items may crop up over time, so be sure to update the list frequently.

5. Shopping Rewards. Just making the grocery list may not work because there is no consequence to sticking to the list. Come up with a way to reward yourself for every trip in which you stuck to a healthy list. For example, once you hit 4 healthy shopping trips (no shit list items purchased!), schedule a massage or pedi.

6. Junk Food Pact.  It never fails that someone in the house will insist on adding junk food to the list. Hubs wants his cheese doodles and little Timmy loves chocolate Teddy Grahams. Unfortunately you end up being tempted by their snacks and partaking more than you would like. If forbidding family members their treats fails, one negotiation tactic you can use is to have them select treats that you don’t find tempting at all.

7. Hungry While Shopping. So you flunked Grocery Shopping 101 and went to the store hungry. We’ve all done it at one time or another, so now what? I suggest acting like a kid. To get my 6 year old through the shopping trip I find her a healthy snack to keep her occupied. Do I plan this ahead? Heck no. I go to the produce section and buy a package of precut watermelon (that is not sold by weight since we are paying after consumption) and let her go nuts on it. Sometimes she polishes the whole thing off and I have the attendant scan an empty carton, but apparently they see enough snacking while shopping that it doesn’t faze them. Do the same: Pick up a healthy snack as soon as you get to the store and munch on it while shopping.

8. Fooducate Yourself. The mobile app Fooducate helps shoppers identify healthier choices. All you do is scan the item and it will give the item a grade from A through D based on its nutritional quality. Foods high in processed ingredients score poorly, while nutritious, minimally processed foods score well. For foods with bad scores, the app makes suggestions for healthier similar foods.  Plan one shopping trip where you have some extra time to find some healthier alternatives to your usual choices.

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