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Grocery Shopping Like a Bariatric Patient

We often take grocery shopping for granted. For years, we may have bought the same foods without considering how they affect our health or weight. These foods are often the ones most heavily marketed on TV, in magazines or in coupon books. Unfortunately, these are also often the most heavily processed foods and the ones that can cause the most damage to our diets and general metabolic health. Whether you have undergone bariatric surgery or are considering doing so in the future, shopping like a bariatric patient can be a great way to jumpstart the weight loss process.

  • The most important parts of grocery shopping often begin before you even step foot in the store. When putting together your list, do so at home where you have a clear mind, and you are not subject to impulses. You may also want to consider creating your list after you’ve eaten a meal so you aren’t hungry when you make your choices.
  • A list is only good if you stick to it and that is another critical part of grocery shopping. Once you are in the store, don’t stray from the list even if something catches your eye. If you truly want it, wait until your next grocery shopping trip and if you still want it by then, you can rest assured that it is not an impulse purchase.
  • Once in the store, the layout can be very helpful in what to buy. Notice that the walls of the grocery store are usually stocked with the fresh foods including proteins, vegetables, fruits and dairy. Conversely, the center aisles are stocked with the more processed foods. You can guess which we recommend. Indeed, part of a healthier diet – lower saturated fat, lower in sodium and lower in empty carbs means making your own food and doing so is best when you stick to the walls of the grocery store.

Am I Doomed to a Life of Boring Foods?

No! This is not to say that you can’t have an indulgence once in a (long) while. However, even when you go there, be sure that you check the nutrition label on what you’re buying. Items that may be low in fat may be high in sugar or those that seem healthy and low in calories may have tons of sodium that will increase your cravings for other less-than-healthy foods. Similarly, while no-calorie sweetener doesn’t add anything to your caloric intake for the day, it still triggers the brain to crave more sugar. Over the long term, this can be decidedly bad for your diet.

The bottom line is that the speed and convenience of processed foods – those that are found in the middle of the typical grocery store – should be avoided as much as possible. Prioritizing buying fresh whole foods including lean proteins like fish, chicken and turkey, whole grains and foods high in protein and vitamins is key to a successful shopping trip.

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