When it comes to weight loss, your biggest ally isn’t the gym–it’s the supermarket.
There’s the old adage that “you are what you eat”, of course; I’m not here to belabor that point again. I do want to talk about what that statement means. Is there a way that we can simplify our daily diets in such a way that this process becomes easier, leaving behind buzzwords like “Atkins”, “all fat”, “ketogenic”, and “South Beach”? Of course there is.
See, we can manage most of our weight loss goals by embracing one simple mindset: eat on the fringes.
“What You See Is What You Get”
Think about how your supermarket is laid out. On the outer ring of the store, we have fresh produce on the right, meats in the back, dairy on the left. In the middle aisles, we have this minefield of unhealthy processed foods, often containing ingredients that we couldn’t identify if our lives depended on it (Yellow #9 and potassium sulfide, anyone?).
In short, the longer a food’s ingredient list becomes, the less likely that you’ll find nutrition in it. By focusing on the fringes of the supermarket, we can focus on clean eating options. David Katz delivers a concise definition of clean eating here:
“Clean foods are minimally processed and as direct from nature as possible. They’re whole and free of additives, colorings, flavorings, sweeteners, and hormones. I particularly like foods with one-word ingredients, such as spinach, blueberries, almonds, salmon, and lentils. The longer the ingredient list, the more room there is for manufacturing mischief — additions of chemicals, sugar, salt, harmful oils, and unneeded calories — and the more likely it is that you should step away from the package so no one gets hurt!” [Source]
Finding ways to cut out processed foods from your daily diet will go a long way towards promoting a healthier you. By giving your body what it needs to function (clean, whole foods), you allow your body to repair itself properly. I’m living proof that shifting your eating habits can restore your health and shrink your waistline over time. My hypertension and pre-diabetic symptoms faded from my life as I made these new food choices.
Start small with your clean eating approach. Get this week’s vegetables from the produce section instead of the canned foods. Select your meats from the butcher case instead of the frozen food display. Opt for the plain milk (or milk substitute) over the chocolate version. This week, get 70% of your foods from the supermarket fringes, then 80%, then 90%. Leave the Yellow #9 on the shelf this time. Your body will serve you better for it.