5 Things You Should Do Before Heading Out To The Grocery Store

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5 min read

One of my absolute favorite things about owning a group fitness gym is the camaraderie. When you work out together, you get to know each other, and in a way, end up on a fitness journey together. After all, everyone is in there giving 100% to become the best version of themselves. The energy that creates is powerful.

As the weeks, months, and years go on, it is fascinating to see the transformations. Watch carefully, and you can also see the ups and downs someone may be going through. Some people notice it in photographs, but I see it in the gym.

One thing that used to baffle me is watching someone giving major effort and being super consistent in their workout routine, but that physical transformation seemed elusive for them. There are a million reasons why this could be happening and far be it from me to speculate. Over the years, however, the same recurring theme came up: food choices.

One common misunderstanding I hear all the time goes something like this:

“I work out so I can eat whatever I want.”

Have you ever muttered that phrase? Will you allow me to speak some truth to you real quick? Okay, brace yourself.

That’s a terrible excuse. Even worse, it’s a fallacy to believe that one hour (or less) of activity will erase the other 23 hours you have to sabotage your efforts. If that’s not enough, merely working out to burn the calories you scarfed down doesn’t do anything for the quality of those calories (which are usually poor).

If this even remotely hits close to home, don’t worry. I’m not singling you out (like I do during a class). In fact, I’ll even go so far as to say it’s not your fault. But we have to right the ship and get you back on track. Stay with me.

The Grocery Store Is NOT Your Friend

No one is safe from the manipulation and trickery that happens once you cross the threshold of your favorite grocery store. These places are strategically planned to get you to spend more money than you budgeted and stay longer than you intended. Let’s run through a typical grocery trip:

Fruits And Veggies Welcome You – We’re off to a great start! This is going to be a great trip because right away you’re going to grab some healthy items and feel really good about yourself. Now, the more you shop, the unhealthy foods start popping up. You check the cart and see how good you’ve been, so surely it’s okay to toss a few “less healthy” items in there. I mean, look at all of that kale! What’s a package of cookies going to hurt?

You’re Gonna Need A Permit To Drive That Cart – Have you noticed how huge the shopping carts are getting? Those 18 items you have in there are so… puny. Look at all that spacious room to stock up! When that impulse buy is staring you down, it’s just a drop in the ocean that is your buggy, which only reinforces that it’s okay to grab it.

Would You Like A Sample? – Now you’re cruising along the back where the deli meats are. Mmmm what’s that you smell? Is that sausage sizzling on the electric skillet?! Oh, hi Betty! Of course we’ll have a sample. Would you tell on me if I had two? Now, what else looks good over here that wasn’t on my list?

The Home Stretch – We almost made it! You finally found an open aisle since there’s only 4 out of 27 available lanes. Since you’re three shoppers back, you’ll have plenty of time to look past the US Weekly and scope out the Snickers, Combos, or king-sized KitKat (ooooh dark chocolate!).

Ignore The Temptation

How’d that shopping trip go for you? Pretty typical, right? Once you get home and unload, you’ll have a bounty of bad food choices staring at you in the fridge, the cabinets, and that little hidey-hole spot in the top of the pantry. You have to ignore the temptations, or you will continue to sabotage yourself.

1. Plan Ahead – This is a two-for-one approach. First, plan your entire week to know what you’re going to eat. Then make a list of the things you need to make those meals. Do not deviate from that list. Don’t let the store “remind” you what you need.

2. Shop The Perimeter – This has been a common trick for a while now, but most stores line the outer perimeter with generally healthier food. Sugary, high-calorie snacks, pre-packaged and processed foods are typically in the middle. Try to stick to the perimeter.

3. Eat Before You Shop – If you walk into the store hungry, you will want all the things. Caution is thrown to the wind, and you’re borderline hangry, so everything sounds fabulous. Since your brain is signaling that you need a meal right now, you’ll be drawn to quick and easy meals which shouldn’t be what’s on your plan.

4. Keep The Basics – Get a good stock of grocery staples at your house and make sure you never run out. You don’t want to be left with an excuse that there’s nothing to cook and you end up with a Hot-N-Ready for the third night in a row.

5. Shop Alone – To not get distracted, leave the distractions at home (4 kids; just saying). It’s easier to give in if you’re getting assaulted with begging for the things you swore you weren’t going to get. No distraction also gives you time to read nutrition labels.

Honestly, it starts before you even get in your car to go grocery shopping. There are a lot of things you can do both before you leave and when you get to the store. Let’s run through five ways to stay on track.

If All Else Fails, Use Technology

If you feel like there is no hope and are convinced the grocery store will always win, I’ve got promising news for you. The stores gave you an out with online ordering! This means you can build an order with only the items on your list, know exactly what your spending, and voilà! Your groceries will be ready for you to pick up curbside.

Now, if even entering the parking lot is too much temptation, some areas will deliver your groceries straight to your door! That’s right – you place an order online, but instead of a pizza delivery showing up or your Amazon Prime order, it’s healthy and smart food choices all from your list! That’s using technology for good.

Now all you have to worry about is the stand-in shopper picking the perfect avocado for you.

Need help staying on track? McClure Fitness Online has a healthy recipe library with over 200 yummy recipes! You also have access to a meal planner so you can add those recipes to a calendar and see how you’re going to stay on track. You can do it. Let’s do this.