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Saturday, 26 March 2011

Portion size

When I first decided to adopt a healthy lifestyle in order to be able to walk up those stairs without huffing at the top and be able to play with my child rather than sit on the sidelines I knew from past experience, (failure) that I needed to be able to eat real food otherwise I would soon feel deprived and then go crazy and undo whatever progress I had made and gain the weight back in a hurry.
So one of the things that I decided to do was to watch the amount of food I was eating. My thinking was that if I was careful with serving sizes I would of course be eating much less than I had been and I would of course lose weight.
I knew that our meals needed to contine to be balanced, I was feeding my child and husband as well after all. So that meant carbs, protein, and veggies for lunch and dinner every day. I adopted the idea that a serving of carbs was the size of my fist, a serving of protein of the size of my palm and a serving of veggies was twice the size of my fist. I always loved milk, and would continue to drink it because I love it, but also to set a good example for my child and so that I would be less likely to be breaking a hip when I got So one glass of milk at every meal was in order. I had been drinking skim milk for years and continued on with that.
I was doing o.k. with these guidelines for portion sizes. I was eating 3 meals a day, and 1 or 2 snacks, usually a piece of fruit, depending on my level of hunger. For breakfast it was a glass of milk, 1 piece of toast with the proper amount of margarine and peanut butter rather than 2 pieces of toast and double, or more, the proper amount of margarine and peanut butter like I was having before. Lunch was portion controlled as well, sometimes leftovers, sometimes whatever my young child wanted for lunch.  At dinner rather than bringing the food to the table in serving dishes, I started to dish up our food at the kitchen counter. Not having that extra food right in front of me, within arm’s reach made sticking to my portions easier. I have to admit that the proper amount of food looked like such a little bit on my plate though. It took some time to get used to sitting down to a half empty plate and thinking that was enough food.  I knew that if I was really hungry in an hour or 2 I could have a healthy snack though, so that made not dishing up that extra bit easier.
I made an interesting discovery at around this time. I was at my parents’ house and Mom was getting rid of a bunch of old stuff from the basement. She had some old dinner plates that we used when I was a kid. They were so small! I was really surprised. It got me thinking... are these huge plates that we use now another contributing factor in the overweight problem that seems to run rampant in our culture? I know the proper amount of food that I was dishing up and eating sure looked skimpy on my plates at home and I realised it made me feel a little deprived to be eating what I perceived as so little food. Because I know that a huge part of weight loss and weight management is mental, I decided to get a few lunch size plates that went with our set. I stopped using the 10”dinner plates and started to use 9” lunch ones. What a difference! I was having the same proper portions, but the feeling that I was somehow being deprived was gone. My plate was closer to full instead of half empty. What a difference that 1” made, (insert your own racy joke
I’ll never know  for sure the effect the smaller plates had, I know the portion size was the real secret, but maybe if I would have continued to feel deprived only because of the visual I wouldn’t have stuck with it like I did. How much of feeling satisfied with your food intake is mental for you? Does the appearance on your plate make a difference to you?


  1. I have a huge plate issue. I went to square plates to assist. They have definitive

  2. Huge plates are definetly an issues for me also. I started eating off of the salad plate that came with our set !

    Hey, just curious...what does the # signify at the top of your blog ? they other day is was 88 and today it is 95 ???

  3. I think the plate size makes a big difference. Its something you dont even think about, but if the plate is bigger, why would we not put a bigger serving on there? It would just look sad and make you feel deprived if the plate was half empty. Lately I have been using smaller plates, and when I use the bigger ones, I make sure half of it is filled with veggies and the other half for protein and carbs, if I have any.

    Serving sizes are just getting so crazy these days. I went to Subway the other day and they tried to super size everything- double meat? double cheese? large drink? I was like, no... no... noo... geez Subway, I thought you were healthy!