Memos from the Middle

Smack-Dab in the Middle of Living

My Grocery Store Wants Me Fat

Fresh vegetables are important components of a...

Fresh vegetables are important components of a healthy diet, so do I really have to be rich to live longer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My husband and I have made up our minds to lose weight, again. We’ve decided that the first step is changing our diets, again. We’ve collaborated on a meal plan that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for everyday for the next week, and we’ve promised to check each other (when we’re together and reaching for that extra cup of juice) and ourselves (when we’re alone sitting in the Wendy’s parking lot crying over another diet on the verge of destruction).

Of course, all of this sounds good, especially on a Sunday afternoon when everything seems possible and sunny. Our problem has been sticking to the diet when the person who was supposed to cook has to work a double shift or when one of us has to deal with the car that has broken down 20 miles from home. That’s when consistency meets reality, and all is lost.

I still think that this time will be different, though. I have to because a lack of confidence leads most assuredly to failure. And I hate failing. And I know my husband hates failing too. So with meal plan, corresponding grocery list, and two children in tow, I made my way to the grocery store.

I usually go to the grocery store during the week after work. It’s a bit crowded, but still it’s not as bad as Saturdays. It’s rare that I actually get to the store on a Sunday evening, but I think that I’ll make this my time to shop because I was able to park close to the store, and an hour after I left the house, I was putting food away in my own refrigerator. When I first entered, I noticed how empty the store seemed compared to when I normally shop. Shelves weren’t bare, but there were noticeable gaps. It was a little jarring for me because I’ve only had this type of experience the day before a major holiday. Still, though, everything I needed, the healthy stuff, was in abundance. I made my way through the aisles with the pirate in the cart (I had no energy to chase her through the store) and the princess getting things off the low shelves. Their behavior was much better than usual, so as a reward, I added individual ice cream cups to the cart. Everything else in the cart was on the list, and I felt good for not succumbing to the pressures grocery store designers place on mothers.”But Mommy, cookies go with milk!” the princess advised. “Not today” was my curt response as I power walked toward the yogurt.

I made my way to the check-out, and the three of us made an assembly line game out of putting the items on the belt. I pushed the cart forward and watched the screen add up my purchase. Holy thunder thighs! I thought that because my cart was MUCH less full than usual that I would actually save money. After all, this was only a week’s worth of food, not two, which is how I traditionally shop. I don’t usually go through the trouble of adding up how much I’m spending on food before I make it to the cashier because I don’t drink, smoke, gamble, or travel. Eating what I like is my personal luxury, so when I saw the final total of $220.19, I could have passed out.

It’s less than $2 a pound, Mom! Can you say the same about those strawberries you’re so hell bent on buying? (from

Why is it that the stuff that makes and keeps you fat is four for a dollar, while apples are $1.79 a pound? Why aren’t there any in-store coupons for the fresh fruits and veggies? Why did I contemplate smuggling out fillets of fish in my over-sized yet virtually empty purse?  Can I afford to keep eating this way? I promise that I’m not looking for an excuse to bow out of this healthier diet, but does it really have to cost a small fortune to keep diabetes and heart disease far away from my family?

If you are living (or trying to live) a healthier lifestyle, please share your tips on eating healthy on a budget. I’m determined to eat right this time, but I can’t spend nearly $500 a month doing it!

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5 thoughts on “My Grocery Store Wants Me Fat

  1. Deni Lyn on said:

    Hi! I completely understand. Thanks for writing this. . .You inspired a post about what I try to do to help keep our budget and waistlines in check. I’m posting it shortly. . .with a shout out to you of course! 🙂

  2. I hear you on the apples. I’ve been trying to replace the nightly bowl of ice cream as our treat with a fresh apple. I bought a couple and it was almost two dollars! Then we sliced them up and they were all brownish and mealy. Ugh. I think part of the problem is that we demand fresh fruit that isn’t in season. Those babies were probably imported but from where? Like you said, it’s hard to do the right when you encounter all sorts of resistance. It takes serious will and effort.

    • Those strange apples really burn me up because I’m usually too tired and poorly dressed to take them back to the store and complain. And who can ever find their grocery receipts anyway. I’m trying to be good this time around, but I’ve got some serious rethinking to do about the cost of healthy living.

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