Food Shop the perimeter. That's why I am dropping weight like an avalanche. Huh?????


Sylvie Guillem fan
May 10, 2006
I recently moved to a suburb of Vancouver, Canada.

I was in the supermarket hunting for plastic dishwashing gloves when it hit me: I didn't have a clue where they were because I never shop the aisles. I only shop the perimeter of a grocery store for produce, dairy, eggs, chicken, great cheese, and meat.

And I suddenly realized why I have been dropping weight like an avalanche and my mum's friend can't figure out how I am doing it.

I used to live in WA sort of near my mum's friend. The produce in WA is terrible, even at the "fancy" expensive supermarkets. Even the cheese is very mediocre, including the most bland of imported cheese like Brie. What they call whole wheat bread I call brown Wonderbread junk. So I was eating mediocre food and too much of it because it wasn't tasty or satisfying. I gained weight in WA and I was pretty unhappy about it.

Before WA, I lived in San Francisco. Even the produce in the 7Eleven was better than that in WA. (I hear Seattle is better so apologies to you gals.) Now, WA's local seasonal produce is good, esp WA apples. But BC's local produce is far better.

Now that I am living near Vancouver, I am eating tons of fabulous produce, occasionally eating true multigrain rolls I buy freshly baked, one at a time, and shopping the perimeter for everything. I've lost lots of weight without thinking about it. :yahoo:

(I'll buy Wolfgang Puck's and Amy's soup when it gets cold. Love those brands.)

So I sent an email to my mum's friend and said "stop shopping the aisles. Shop the perimeter. You'll get healthier and lose weight."

She is very smart and has an MBA. She asked me what "shop the perimeter" meant. I phoned her and told her. She said "no more triscuits? No more Bisquick? No more boxed mix for scalloped potatoes?" I said "You got it!!!"

If this smart, educated woman didn't know about Shop the Perimeter, I thought a post about it would help the terrific, smart gals here on tPF.

In a similar vein, I just posted a long response to CoconutsBoston asking about cooking using Hungry Girl cookbook. HG uses scary low-quality ingredients often. I gave CCB some top class alternative cookbook names with examples of fav recipes. All the books are frequently available used on

Here's the thread
I'm near the bottom of page two.

Bon appetit!


Jun 10, 2009
Congrats on your weight loss, and I'm sure your improved health and how you're feeling!

All evil resides in the aisles. I try to only venture in for specific things and immediately escape back out. It's certainly key to only purchase things from the aisles from your list. Ever.
Jan 28, 2007
This is indeed great advice. What a sad thing not to have good, fresh produce! I wonder why it was so bad there. I'm glad it worked out for you now.


Jun 18, 2007
There's *some* good stuff in the middle aisles (like flax seeds, oatmeal, raw nuts, etc.), but as a general rule I agree! All that processed, pre-packaged stuff is no good :nogood:


Jun 18, 2007
^ My stores have started doing that too... All the healthy stuff is around the edges for the most part, but they've started putting random displays of chips, cookies and cakes ALL over the damn place!! Hmpf. :shucks:


Jan 8, 2008
this is a great idea, but too bad I cant go to the grocery everyday to get fresh things. I am in college and it gets hard to do it. would love to try it though, thanks for letting us know, this is a great advice :tup::flowers:


Aug 8, 2008
I guess I never really thought of it in those terms, but I do the same thing. I always run the outer sections first, then do a few aisles, but don't really pick much up there.

Now, who does the marked down stuff? Bread that is normally $2.50/loaf gets marked down to .99/loaf on the last day of the "Sell By" date. I buy 4 or 5 loaves of the good whole wheat stuff including a pack or two of hot dog and hamburg buns and freeze them until I need them. Perfectly good.


Quite contrary
Jan 3, 2007
This does sound a good idea, thinking round my local supermarket though it has all the freshly baked cakes, cookies etc then wine round the outside...


Settling in...
Mar 28, 2006
Smaller Apple (north of NYC)
So glad to hear you are feeling more healthy!! I try to do the perimeter out of pure laziness and not liking grocery shopping. Once i learned to cut out the frozen food aisle which held the ice cream this really worked for me too! Keep it up and enjoy!


loves pink!!!
Jan 26, 2007
I agree, although I sometimes shop the middle when I am looking for school snacks. Yes, Vancouver has amazing produce and other foods - I am leaving the city for school soon and the food there is so mediocre!


Oct 31, 2007
Plymouth Meeting
this is so true.. when I was told I have gluten issues, they told me shopping the parameter would be my new friend and the easiest way to avoid gluten. Less GI trouble and 30lbs later here I am.


Jun 10, 2006
Way Down Yonder
You're right about that Hungry Girl cookbook. I picked it up in the bookstore thinking it would be healthy and was pretty horrified. I promptly put it back down!