One of the first recommendations we make in the Habits of Health Transformational System is to empty your pantries of all the unhealthy foods, donating what you can and pitching the rest.
For many people, the simple presence of tempting foods can derail their journey. Sure, when life is good, waking up for a morning walk and sticking to your fuelings may be easier than you expected. But then you have a hard day. Your boss yells at you, or maybe a change in schedules has you running frantically across town to get the kids to their activities on time.
On those difficult days, having a pack of cookies within reach can overwhelm your willpower. That’s why we take willpower out of the equation by removing the unhealthy treats in a moment where you are in control and fully aware of your goals and the choices you need to make to reach them.
Eventually, though, you will face a new challenge: You have to go grocery shopping and bring new foods into your home.
Grocery stores are a marketing playground, loaded with displays and promotions to catch your eye and convince you that, yes, you do need to buy three tubs of icecream at once because look at this deal!
Here’s how to conquer your shopping trips so that you keep yourself away from the foods that do not support your journey:
- Make a shopping list ahead of time. Before you leave your home, write out exactly what you intend to buy. That list will keep you focused and prevent you from wandering the aisles (our shopping guides can help too).
- Don’t shop hungry. Time your trip to the store to be shortly after you have had a fueling. If you shop on a full stomach, many of the signals that make temptations more powerful will not be present, helping you to make healthier choices.
- Stay on the perimeter. Most grocery stores are organized in a way that puts fresh healthy foods around the outer edge of the store while all of the foods that are packaged and processed are on the shelves in the middle. The more you shop the perimeter, the healthier your food selection is likely to be.
- Make healthy shopping an adventure. Pick a new Lean & Green recipe to try that week, something that is different and interesting so that you have something to look forward to after the shopping is over.
- If you find shopping to be especially challenging, ask for help. Talk to your coach before you go into the store or take a few minutes to reflect on the goals you set for yourself and why. A few moments of clarity can be powerful.
As always, our community is full of amazing individuals who are here to help. If you have a story about how you overcame this challenge or advice to share, we’d love to hear it!