We’ve all heard the saying, “Don’t shop hungry”. I don’t think many of us will argue the accuracy of this piece of advice. The question is why? What the heck is the danger in going shopping while you are hungry? Better yet, what do you do if you can’t avoid the hunger-shopping?
Maybe it’s just me, but if I’m hungry and I go (grocery) shopping, everything looks good enough to eat. I mean EVERYTHING. Not only does it look good enough to eat. It looks good enough to eat while I’m pushing my cart through the store!
A bag of M& M’s – yep I’d eat them.
A package of Oreo’s – gone!
Anything with chocolate on it – poof! Its history
Sugar-coated candy-flavored anything – nothing but a wrapper left.
Now keep in mind, I would not buy one of the above mentioned items had I not been hungry. Call it a ‘crime of opportunity’ if you will.
The question is, why in the world do all these delectable devilish delights show up when you least expect it? Why don’t you notice them hanging out in the aisles and check out counters any other time? It seems that only when you are hungry they are staring you down calling your name.
The truth of the matter – they have always been there. It’s called impulse buying (like you’ve never heard that one before). The grocery and retail stores do this type of thing on purpose! Yes, you read that right, on purpose! They are feeding on your weakness and vulnerability when they are at their worst! Some department stores and most grocery stores have an entire department dedicated to this very thing. They have employees, whose sole responsibility is to pack and stack those aisles and check out counters full of those enticing morsels. The stores budget and proposed sales are banking on you showing up hungry!
Don’t let them win!
What do you do when you can’t prevent the hunger-shopping? What do you do when you show up at the door with the grum-bellies?
If it’s a grocery store, make a bee-line for the produce section. Get your hands on either an apple, pear, peach, etc. Find yourself a piece of fruit that is portable and will take you some effort and time to consume. Spend your entire shopping trip nibbling on that piece of fruit. If you are a hearty eater, then pick up two pieces!
If it’s just a retail store, with no fruit in sight, take a turn to the checkout area and purchase a bottle of water (or two). Guzzle down that bottle of water and fill up your belly (remember my tip on sweet-cravings). If you are still hungry after 20 ounces of water, pick up another bottle of water.
The idea here is not to satisfy your need or want to eat, but to simply put it on pause until you can make some sound rationale decisions on eating smarter and making more healthy choices. That’s why it’s called an ‘impulse’. Fight the urge to give in to the impulse by simply staving off that particular emotion.
By Sean Dent
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