I used to be a checker in a grocery store, approximately one hundred years ago, when shopping carts were all made of wood. (Not really; they were made of metal but you get my drift.) I didn’t wear long flowing outfits or dwell in a tent but I could tell your diet fortune as you crossed my palm with gold. How?
I used your shopping cart as my crystal ball.
What you put in your shopping cart inevitably becomes what you eat. And so it follows that what you put in your shopping cart also reveals more about you than you’d like to admit (and you thought you only had to worry about your mail carrier)! I would cheerfully scan and bag your selections (and secretly read your diet fortune) but never tell you what your shopping cart was telling me regarding why your attempts at weight loss were on the struggle bus. Here are a few typical shopping cart fortunes:
“I hate diets! They don’t work for me.”
You’re always on a diet! If we had an evening to chat, you would confirm my suspicions that you know at least two iterations of the Weight Watchers diet and can tell me exactly which one works for you. You’ve got the Lean diet down cold and can tell me exactly what you can’t eat (and how not eating it made you feel). But you haven’t yet recognized your diet.
How you eat and what you eat is always a diet. An equestrian doesn’t feed her horse oats and tell herself the horse is on a grass-fed diet, so why do we do that to ourselves? She also alters the horse’s diet based on what is going on in that horse’s life. A race horse is most definitely eating differently when it’s in training than when it’s on a racing break. It’s a good idea to give yourself a break when life batters you a bit. Admit it, control it, and move on. I was on the Brownie Diet for six months straight. It was extremely effective! How did it work? I ate brownies. Gooey, warm, tasty brownies were the staple of this diet plan. My shopping cart was filled with boxes of Ghirardelli brownie mix: cold cereal, and peanut M&Ms. Ice cream was used to ensure I had adequate dairy intake. It was a great diet! In fact, I gained 10 pounds while on this diet in a very short period of time. And all of those comfort foods (my comfort foods) got me through a very difficult time. I just had to be cognizant of my “diet” and realize we would have to reluctantly part ways if I wanted to continue fitting into my jeans.
Gaze into your shopping cart and predict your current distress levels. If your diet is working to comfort you, it can’t also be working to help you drop pounds. But it is working for you. And if you see a fellow shopper with a cart filled with comfort foods, be nice to her.
“Diet? No, thanks, I don’t have time for that right now.”
You want to lose weight; you need to lose weight, but life is too busy right now. Your cart is sparsely populated (mostly because you eat the majority of your meals “out” and you’re tired of food left rotting in your refrigerator like abandoned good intentions). You don’t buy fresh vegetables but you may have a few fruits that can be eaten on the go. Most of your food is ready to eat or almost ready to eat. Pillsbury does the majority of the mixing if you are baking.
Gaze into your shopping cart and revisit your time management course. You spend hours waiting in line (for food), waiting for a waitress to bring you food, and eating a calorie-infused diet. Your Restaurant Diet will leave you as fat as my Brownie Diet will and it quickly drains your pocketbook while retraining your brain to think a serving is humungous! So much for efficiency and effectiveness. Before you hit the restaurant tonight consider how much cooking you could have done during your wait times. This is non-value-added time. When your food is served, glance at your Fitbie and mentally calculate the steps you lost by not cooking and serving your own food. Look at your plate and calculate what it would have cost you to make this meal at home. Look at your dinner partners in crime and consider how an intimate dinner at home might have led to a higher quality of life experience. And if you see a fellow shopper with a cart sparsely populated with quick foods – get out of the way! She is in a hurry!
“I’m doing well. My Life is under control (for now).”
When life is going the way it should, it’s easier to eat well. A well-ordered home has one person who has the time, money, and wherewithal to create a menu, shop for groceries on (at the least) a weekly basis. This person is not the one seen at the grocery store every night frantically picking up a forgotten item. Life is good.
Gaze into your shopping cart and see how life has been treating you lately. Are you making purchases primarily from the periphery of the store? Fresh food is mostly located on the outer edges of any grocery store (unless you live in New York). Is your basket a cornucopia of colors and smells? Meals should be colorful. Macaroni and Cheese should not be eaten with corn (yellow and yellow) but with peas or broccoli. Ensuring your dinner has color may sound simplistic but it will ensure you’re eating a variety of vitamins and minerals. If you see a fellow shopper with a cart full of fresh, unprocessed food – befriend her! She might share her ordered happiness with you!