Pete Falk never sets foot in a grocery store without a plan—a menu plan, that is. Writing down exactly what he needs to prepare each week's meals keeps him away from all of the high-fat, high-calorie temptations that line supermarket aisles. It's the key to how he lost 63 pounds.
Pete, a 35-year-old computer engineer from Denver, got in the menu-plan habit while attending a medical clinic specializing in weight loss. At the time, he weighed 257 pounds, too much even for his 6-foot-1 frame. "I had been heavy since I was a kid," he explains. "I wanted to slim down, and I had tried numerous times on my own. I didn't get really motivated until my allergies and asthma started getting worse. Then I knew that I needed help."
At the clinic, Pete went on a physician-supervised eating plan for the first couple of months. Then, he worked with the doctor and a nutritionist, learning how to make smart food choices on his own. "They gave me sample menus, which I took to the supermarket with me so I'd know what to buy," he says. "Eventually, I realized that by sticking with the menus, I was filling my cart with healthy foods, not the junk that helped me gain in the first place."
The menus encouraged Pete to make other healthful changes in his eating habits. He stopped skipping breakfast, he started packing his lunch on workdays, and he tried to have dinner at about the same time every evening. "Because of my job, I had been eating really late some nights—around 10 o'clock," he says. "I was so hungry by then that I'd stuff myself."
As Pete's eating habits improved, his waistline shrank. He joined a local gym, where he worked out 6 days a week. Within 4 months he was 63 pounds lighter.
That was more than 2 years ago. Pete has since started lifting weights, which has added some bulk—all muscle—to his physique. He's holding steady at a fit 200 pounds.
While exercising regularly has helped Pete get in shape, eating healthfully has kept him trim. These days, he writes his own menus, but he still takes them to the grocery store. "My menus help me shop conscientiously," he says. "I get the right ingredients and buy only what I need—no junk food."
Get a plan. If you're prone to straying down the wrong supermarket aisle, like Pete, get a plan. Decide on your meals for a full week. Write down what you need to make each meal. Use that as your shopping list. This
way, you'll leave the supermarket with exactly what you §. went in for, and you'll minimize impulse buys.
Weight Loss