A friend of mine who’s been struggling with her weight invited me over one afternoon for lunch. I stood at the counter while she prepared sandwiches. “Hand me the mayo, would you?” she said. I gripped the fridge handle and pulled the door open. So many food containers, casseroles, jars and bottles were jammed inside that I feared it would all crash to the floor. My friend’s problem started here: Packing in the groceries was packing on the pounds. Solution? Fridge makeover time.
In the years before frost-free freezers, fridge cleaning was a given. You cut the power, propped the doors open, emptied everything out, and gave the inside a scouring while the freezer defrosted. It was time to reconsider grocery purchases. Anything spoiled, expired or questionable got tossed. But today there’s no need to defrost, no need to take inventory. Until your fridge is connected to the Web, there’s only one way to go about giving your fridge — and yourself — a “spring cleaning” weight-loss makeover.
Swab the decks. Spread newspaper on the floor in front of the fridge. Like a Dumpster-diver, go to it. Empty everything out. Check expiration dates. Follow the Rule of Leftovers: “When in doubt, throw it out.” Scour the shelves, drawers, and walls. Scrub mildew off the gaskets. Date containers, zip-lock bags, and jars with a marker pen. Replace shelved items in a staggered line or one layer, not piled in stacks or hidden. Too much work, you say? The value is in the process of touching, identifying, and sorting, taking stock not only of your fridge but also of your eating habits by asking, “Do I really need this?”
FIFO. The primary rule of store shelf stocking is First in, first out. Avoid placing new food items in front of old. Instead, do the opposite and bring items in the back of your fridge up front to use first. You’ll spend less time searching for leftovers, have less food waste, and your grocery bill — and waistline — will shrink.
Power Up. Not electricity, but willpower. Avoid a repeat of mindlessly adding food you don’t need, won’t eat, or will eat too much of. Think of your sparkling clean fridge as a metaphor for your sparkling new body image, light and airy, a receptacle of healthy food. No kidding here. Visualization is a powerful tool for self-improvement and self-restraint. If Olympic champions can visualize their success, so can you. You are what you eat, goes the old saying. If this is true, then you are what’s in your fridge.