While shopping may not qualify as an aerobic activity, it can certainly help you to shed the pounds, if you follow the right formula. What you buy largely determines what you will eat. Therefore, if you want to maintain a healthy diet at home, you'll need to do some advanced planning before heading out to the supermarket.
The secret to weight loss may begin with your shopping list. You need to take some time before going to the store to assess what your nutritional needs are. For instance, a healthy diet might very well include breads and cereals, dairy products, vegetables and fruits, along with meat, fish and poultry. However, you'll need to decide on exactly which products to buy within each food category.
For instance, rather than purchasing white bread or cereals with little fiber, consider whole wheat bread and whole wheat cereals. Pass up the whole milk and whole milk yogurt and buy non-fat milk and yogurt instead. You should avoid iceberg lettuce and opt for Romaine; select fresh fruit rather than fruit in heavy syrup. You may be tempted to buy fried chicken, bacon or spareribs, but choose low-fat options such as baked chicken, lean hamburger, and grilled fish.
It's a good idea to go grocery shopping after you have eaten a full meal. Otherwise, your hunger could drive you to buy junk food and other unhealthy snacks. If you are operating on a full stomach, you'll think more clearly and you will be less likely to buy food impulsively. Also, it is critically important that you do not buy more food than you need. Otherwise, you will have a powerful incentive to overeat.
Before you go shopping, you might want to check out the layout of the supermarket. Find out where you can find those items that are likely to appear on your list. Otherwise, you could find yourself browsing the shelves, looking for food that appears interestingóbut could also be quite fattening. Certainly, it may take some extra time to "scope out" the supermarket, but it will be well worth the effort, if it results in weight loss.
Whenever possible, you should buy individually packaged food. These single servings allow you to maintain proper portion control. For instance, if you feel you must indulge in potato chips, you will be far better off if you buy a single-serving bag rather than the family pack. Remember, large portions equal weight gain.
You might actually want to avoid shopping with coupons. Coupons can tempt you to buy high-calorie items that you might otherwise pass up. While everyone wants a good bargain, you don't want to end up paying for that deal by gaining additional pounds. It's a sad fact that you will rarely find a coupon for fresh fruit and vegetables. But you might think of the situation this way: You will end up saving money if you eat "fresh" because you will not have to invest in additional clothes.
Also, when you're considering which foods to buy, concentrate on the product labels. There, you'll find a great deal of nutritional information, indicating fat content, calorie content, portion size, and vitamin and mineral content. If you end up bringing the product home, you should serve the item according to the suggested portion size. In other words, if a portion equals one-half cup, don't opt for two cups. In essence, you should be treating food as if it's a medication that must be used as directed. In this way, you should avoid the weight loss that comes with overeating.
It is interesting to note that the American Institute for Cancer Research determined that only 12 percent of shoppers determined portion size by using the label. As a result, paying attention to nutrition labels is a counter-cultural thing to do. But it is certainly a good habit to get into. Otherwise, at the end of the day, you could end up with far more fat than you bargained for.
You may be amazed at the amount of weight you can lose just by diligent shopping. A little advanced planning can go a long way to ensuring weight loss. And you might actually save yourself some money, since you will no longer be buying expensive snacks