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Planning Pays: Planning Your Grocery Shopping Helps You Lose Weight

Sep 9, 2011

Six Ways Planning Pays

Planning Your Grocery Shopping Helps You Lose Weight

From Jennifer R. Scott, former About.com Guide

A little planning goes a long way when it comes to weight loss and healthy eating. Let's take a look at six simple ways spending a little time thinking ahead will make your weight loss efforts easier and more convenient.

1. Take a look in the fridge and make a note of any perishable foods, such as fruit, vegetables, or lean proteins, that need to be eaten soon; it may prove incentive to make better choices. Nobody enjoys having to throw away food bought with the intention of eating healthier. It's happened to me and it stinks -- the guilt I feel throwing away rotten vegetables is doubled when I realize they're being chucked because I ate "bad" foods instead of those nutritious veggies all week long.

2. Check your pantry for your diet staples, such as pasta if you're on a low-fat diet or canned tuna if you are on a low-carb plan. Make a list of what you need and keep the list updated as your weekly trip to the grocery store draws near. All the best dieting intentions are for nothing if you don't have healthy food on hand to eat or make recipes with and are forced to eat something less than favorable, or worse, order pizza!

3. Planning your meals ahead of time can be a sure-fire way to stick to your diet. Designating what you're going to eat and when can keep you from choosing whatever is in reach when hunger strikes -- when you don't have to decide what to eat on the spur of the moment, you can avoid making the wrong decision altogether. This can be as simple as planning and packing your lunch the night before work or school; it will prevent the morning rush from causing you to head out the door with nothing and as a result, heading to the nearest drive-through at lunch.

4. Bored on Sunday afternoon? Try brainstorming what meals you'd like to cook for the week ahead. Keep your running grocery list updated as you do, making a note of grocery or frozen items that fit into your meal plans that you may be low on or out of. You could designate certain meals for days you know you'll be home more and designate other, busier days as takeout days. Pull out your takeout menu stash and highlight healthier options so you can plan what you'll order.

5. Keeping a food diary and reviewing it regularly will allow you to identify trouble areas so you can plan alternatives. For example, if your diary reveals that you often over-eat on Saturday nights due to loneliness or boredom, you can plan on engrossing activities or make plans to meet a friend. As with meal planning, keeping alternative activities in mind will keep you from having to make important decisions at the spur of the moment.

6. Lastly, always take a list when grocery shopping. Resolve that you will not deviate from it. You knew what you needed when you made the list. Sticking to it will help you resist temptation whether it be passing up a great bargain in the ice cream freezer or walking on when you get a whiff of the bakery offerings. Temptation has less power over you this way, and, you'll probably save some money in the long run too. (Often those good deals aren't as good as you think; they're rarely good for your waistline.)

Remember, using proper planning to make your weight-loss efforts easier doesn't have to stop with your food and cooking habits. Pencil in your exercise video on your calendar. Call a friend to line up walking together next week (rather than waiting for the mood to strike).

As with getting in "me" time or spending quality time with the kids, weight loss is more likely to happen when it's not done by accident, but instead, intentionally scheduled as an important part of your life.

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