Lost In The Supermarket

*The title of this post was taken from The Clash song of the same name*

Anastassia was struggling to find good options for lunch.

She’s a hairstylist who spends most days on her feet so sitting down for a proper lunch isn’t always in the cards.

In a rut with weight loss, we talked about some of her struggles with getting the right meals in.

So, I told Anastassia (as I would any other client), if you want me to go grocery shopping with you, say the word. We’ll make it happen.

She took me up on it and we scheduled a day and time to go shopping.

One of the things I tried to stress was that we needed to focus on simple solutions, not perfect ones. The less she had to worry about food options the easier it would be for her to succeed when choosing what she needs.

For reference, based on her age, height, current weight, level of activity, amount of lean muscle and gender, Anastassia’s daily calorie intake (to moderately lose weight) would be somewhere between 1300-1400 calories.

We talked about splitting her day up into roughly three meals with the option of a snack if she felt like she needed it. To make the math easier, I told her to aim for approximately 400 calories per meal and then she could have a 200 calorie snack or save that 200 for an alcoholic drink in the evening.

As soon as we got in the grocery store, she mentioned how much she loves chicken pot pies. We looked on a food app and estimated that the average single serving chicken pot pie could vary between 300-600 calories.

Since I really don’t like telling clients they can’t enjoy their favorites we talked about the possibility of fitting in a 600 calorie pot pie into her day and how that would affect the other 700-800 for her other meals.

Next, we talked about sandwiches. Looking at some low-carb, high fiber options plus a 4 oz serving of any deli meat of her choice, Anastassia could estimate about 250-300 calories per sandwich. Condiments like mustard wouldn’t really change her caloric intake but mayonnaise would so she would have to account for the latter if she went that direction.

Then, we went down the frozen entree section. While some people have a leaning towards organic versus non-organic, I told her I wasn’t concerned which way she went. If she had the budget for the organic option, great. If not, I wouldn’t worry over it. I did give her a goal for entrees that not only fit her 400 calorie baseline but, where possible, to get at least 20-30g of protein per serving.

Last but not least, we went to the ice cream section. I looked at one of the Halo Top variations which was approximately 300 calories and had 25g of protein for the entire pint. I emphasized “Even this could be a meal for you.”

To which Anastassia asked “Are you kidding? It’s ice cream!”

And she’s right, it doesn’t fit a traditional mold of what a meal should look like but all I wanted her to realize was that she had options and flexibility if she could keep her calories in line.

Is ice cream a proper meal for a weight loss client? Yes and no. Yes, if it keeps a person on the path for their calorie intake and no if it only leads them to overeat. I personally find the high protein ice cream options to be a viable substitute for regular ice cream that is basically just sugar and fat. Plus, it gives someone the feeling that they can have ice cream without botching the diet up.

In parting, Anastassia and I discussed some other snacks and possibilities that she could use which would work well for her profession and lifestyle.

So, when you go shopping next time, shop for the goal. There are options galore for anyone who is trying to succeed at weight loss. You can even dodge the age-old rule of only shopping the perimeter to be successful. All you have to do, is know your goal and get slightly creative with how you’ll get there.

No more getting “lost in the supermarket.”

(And here’s Anastassia hitting a new squat PR @ 125×3)