Erin is a mom of two and has been with Today’s Mama for ten years. She is charged with finding and sharing all of the wonderful things the web has to offer. She is particularly fond of food, photography, printables, and funny things. She writes about losing weight in her Healthy Living for Mom series, and is chronicling her attempt to master her DSLR camera with her series, Big Girl Camera.

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Healthy Living for Mom: Portion Control

This week, I’m going to talk about portion control, or the more specific lesson that I learned—don’t eat like a man.

Maybe you can. But my husband is 6-foot-8. He’s a really strong, really hardworking guy , which means he can pack it away. For most of the 11 years we’ve been married, I’ve dished up a dinner plate identical to his. I say “most” of the time, because I ate more than he did when I was pregnant. Yes I did.

Mr. Big

Stepping back and looking at this habit, it seems really obvious now that matching him bite for bite was a bad idea, but like most of the lessons I’m learning, I didn’t realize until I tried another way.

I mentioned in my first weekly post that I was kicking off my weight loss efforts with one change—to keep my metabolism up by eating small meals every 2-3 hours.

In the last few weeks, I’ve really focused on also paying attention to the nutritional balance of those meals as well as the all important healthy living concept: portion control.

I didn’t notice how much my dinner plate had changed until my husband was home for dinner more. The man works A LOT in the summer and we usually only get to enjoy dinner together about once a week, on Sunday. Naturally, that was the best dinner we had all week (probably because he is such a good cook) and it was usually the dinner in which I indulged myself.

Now that he’s home more, we’re sharing more “regular” week-night dinners and I’ve noticed a big difference in our plates. So has he. One night he asked if I was still hungry and offered me the rest of his chicken.

I had an inkling that my portion sizes were out of control when I started dining with my girlfriends on a monthly basis. I remember eating with them the first few times and thinking, “Whoa, stingy!” as they dished up our dinner plates. The lightbulb went off for me when my friend Amanda made meatloaf (delicious!) and served what I now realize is a totally reasonable portion. It was about a third the size of what I would have normally put on my plate.

Becoming aware of this portion control issue has also helped me shift my meal-prep thinking. Now I plan I meal based on what I need to eat, instead of only thinking of what I want. Since I know that I’m only going to have one plate and the portions are going to be reasonable, I have to plan accordingly so I get the nutritional balance I need.

An example of how this looks in my real-life kitchen is this:

Old Dinner: Big plate of Chicken Spaghetti, 5 or 6 pieces of garlic bread.

New Dinner: 1/2 plate of Chicken Spaghetti, 1/2 plate of green salad, 1 piece of garlic bread.

I’m still enjoying one of our favorite meals, but in a way that doesn’t leave me with a massive tummy ache for dessert.

WEEKLY STATS

  • Starting Weight: 195.5 pounds
  • Week Ten Weight: 180 pounds (-.5 pounds this week / -15.5 pounds total)
  • Goal Weight: 165 lbs

What about you? Do you share your dining room table with anyone that makes it tough to stay on track?

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Comments (6)

  1. Cory 11/14/2011 at 12:34 pm

    On the issue of balance, have you read any books by Dr. Mark Hyman? He is a physician and nutrition expert. His most famous book is Ultra-Metabolism. http://drhyman.com

  2. Amy Allen Johnson 11/10/2011 at 12:08 am

    I’ve tried serving myself a “kid” portion with the idea that if I’m still hungry, I can have seconds. By the time I add my fruit and veggie serving, I don’t need the “rest”. Great insights!

  3. stephanie peterson 11/09/2011 at 9:55 pm

    You Rock! Way to go!

  4. holly berry 11/09/2011 at 6:56 pm

    Keep it up, lady! I’m married to a super skinny dude who can eat whatever he wants, whenever he wants, but is almost never hungry. It makes me feel like a fat cow, even when I eat healthy portions. Also, I’ve been pregnant or nursing for the past 2 years, which doesn’t help.

  5. Carina Wytiaz 11/09/2011 at 4:24 pm

    Have you tried the smaller plate trick?

  6. Erica Fehrman 11/09/2011 at 11:47 am

    That is an adorable photo! I’m impressed that you’re still losing weight despite your travels. Portion control is a hard realization after the increasing portions of pregnancy.