100 lb. Club - Portion Control

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03-28-2007, 03:23 AM
I heard a great tip at my WW meeting this past week regarding portion control. Don't let your food touch each other.

We were chatting about the humongous portions that restaurants are serving these days (though, to me, they are sometimes not so humongous but I know they are more than I should be eating) and how easy it is to over portion at buffets. While I tend to avoid the buffets because I know they are danger zones, I do enjoy a meal at Sweet Tomatoes (Fresh Choice or Soup Plantation in other areas) from time to time. So last night, since my parents are in town, we decided to go there for dinner and I tried this tip for the first time. It was really hard to keep the peas from rolling into my pasta salad or the garbanzo beans from slipping into my broccoli salad but I have to admit that it was a lot of fun to do, too. My mom and I had a good giggle over my attempts at keeping my food separate. But, it worked. I made decent choices with a couple of "splurges". I even went back for seconds on some items (though, I consciously chose a smaller plate rather than walking all the way to the front of the restaurant to get the full size plate). I didn't feel like I was depriving myself of anything but I also was more conscious of my comfort level in regards to fullness. Walking out of a place like that and not feeling uncomfortable is a first for me. Wahoo!

Another challenge of mine is portion control when I eat in front of the TV or in the car while I commute. I figured these out yet.

Do you have any tips on portion control?

03-28-2007, 03:24 AM
Woops. I meant, I HAVEN"T figured those out yet. So, if you have any ideas on how to control eating in front of the TV or car, I'd love to hear those too. :)

03-28-2007, 04:45 AM
I find the easiest way to control portions is only to buy one portion at a time, so if I want chips for example I buy a small bag even though proportionally it is more expensive than buying a big bag and dividing it up. If I have it I will eat it and there is no point pretending I'll eat it over several days. Maybe in the car you should only take along with you what you intend to eat and that way even if you want to eat more you'll have put temptation out of your way.

03-28-2007, 04:55 AM
That is a great idea! (the no food touching) Thanks! :)

03-28-2007, 08:14 AM
I don't eat in front of the TV, in the car, or reading a book. I can't pay close enough attention to how much is actually going in my mouth and I always over do it. So those are 3 times I absolutely don't eat.

03-28-2007, 08:39 AM
I have a very hard time with portion control, obviously it's much, much better by A LOT then it used to be. I really had to set myself up for success this time so I had to eliminate foods that I know I overeat. That is why I eat so many vegetables. If I overeat those, it's no big deal. And I try to make just enough for one meal. No leftovers. That has been a huge key for me as well. If there's no seconds to go back to, well then you just can't eat them.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, that if you know you have trouble spots, first of all you need to identify them and then eliminate them. Set yourself up for success. Don't make it so hard on yourself. Avoid things that are difficult for yourself. Or figure out ways to modify them. Like Tricia said, she avoids eating in front of the TV, in the car or while reading. She said she doesn't pay attention to what she eats while doing those things - so she no longer eats while doing those things. She's eliminated that problem.

03-28-2007, 08:57 AM
First, I love Sweet Tomatoes! Did you know they have nutrition info available... not only online, but usually at the restaurants too?? It's really helped me make good choices!

I usually get a huge salad there, and have worked out a combo of foods so that I know how many calories I'm getting. Then, I go up and get soup one at a times (sometimes just a single ladle), or something else one at a time on a small plate.

As for portion control in general, I weigh everything I eat and write it down. That helps. I never grab the bag of chips or the box of crackers, but put it in a small, pretty bowl, weigh it, and walk away from the kitchen. Even fruit I portion out.

The no touching rule is a nice idea too!

03-28-2007, 09:40 AM
I'm lucky in that I'm actually a picky eater, so I've always hated the idea of my food touching anyway. Everyone always says "it all goes to the same place eventually, so why can't it touch?" and I always answer "But I don't have to taste it together on the way down!" I don't like condiments like ketchup, mayo, etc. I like plain sandwiches. These are all good things, because they make it a bit easier for me to make choices that are good for weight loss. My problem has always been portion control on the things I DO like. The only way I can do that is simply to write down everything I eat and account for it. It's not the most enjoyable thing, but I've accepted the fact that I have to do it if I want my weight loss to continue.

03-28-2007, 03:18 PM
I've lived with all guys (husband, two sons) and all their friends who come over all the time. FOR YEARS I was eating "like one of the guys" and gaining weight like crazy. It was because of the PORTIONS I was eating. Honestly, I think my brain went away when I was married because all my food problems and portions problems started then! Then I was pregnant twice- both with boys- and the problems continued. I have been disconnected from myself FOR YEARS and definitely just recently feeling like a GIRL!!!

That said, I eat half or a third of what I used to eat. I use a smaller plate, eat just half of my meal when I go out to a restaurant and bag or box the rest for my sons to eat or for me the next day for lunch. I stay away from any bread that is just normal bread. If there is a homemade bread or a grainy, crusty bread, I eat a SMALL piece and adjust accordingly with everything else. I order salad with no cheese and no croutons and dressing on the side.

Like Robin, I can easily abuse pasta. I measure a serving and have a big salad instead of filling up on pasta first with just a smaller salad. I let my family order dessert and have coffee as I watch them eat the dessert. Somehow knowing that I didn't just eat dessert because everyone else ate it makes me feel more in control and happier.

I don't eat any fast foods like McDonald's or Burger King anymore. I can't be trusted to make good decisions there!

I'm a big Listerine fan. Nothing tastes good after Listerine!:p

I know what my triggers are (cheese, chips, chalupas, chocolate, fresh, warm buttered bread) and try to stay away from all of them. Other stuff I can handle now pretty well.


03-28-2007, 03:30 PM
Cheryl: That is funny! :lol3: (everything is making me giggle today for some reason) I never thought about the Listerine approach! Darn good idea. I am seriously going to use that one.

03-28-2007, 03:34 PM
Count me in as someone else who has a rule about not eating from a box, bag, etc. I'm not worried about measuring my fruit or veggies, but the hummus I dip the veggies in, for example, I will measure out. It's just way too easy to dip away a LOT of calories!

I've also been trying to mentally divide my plate - 1/4 protein, 1/4 starch, and 1/2 veggies, which helps to ensure appropriate portion sizes without having to get too obsessed (the visual has also made it easier for me to portion food in restaurants). I do have smaller dinner plates, too.

The most recent change I've made is slowing myself down, and giving myself that good 20 minutes our bodies need to realize we're full. I'm surprised at how well it really does work - in most cases, that thought of "I could eat more" is gone if I just wait a little. I WOULD eat more if I was still honestly hungry, but would likely choose extra veggies and maybe some protein if I really needed it over extra starch.

03-28-2007, 03:35 PM
I wish we had Sweet Tomatoes/Soup Plantation here but we don't.

As for portion controlling, it is tough and is very much an art. My portion sizes used to be horrible but I'm getting better. I practice a lot at home by using salad plates as dinner plates.