Tag Archives: portion control

Not Served by Servings

So back to the Goddess in training weight management stuff, let me just say that I don’t think we’re at all served by servings. I mean, when we go to a restaurant, we can see that the portions are ridiculously large, and hopefully we can ask for a box and not have to eat it all. But here’s the thing that makes me kind of crazy, and my mom reminded me of this recently.

See, Mom’s doctor told her she should try to stay around 1200 calories. Which is what I try to do. We’re 5’2″–or at least, I am and she used to be. She’s a bit shorter these days. So my mom says that she’s trying, but by the time she adds up everything she’s supposed to have, it’s hard to keep it under 1200. Meaning that by the time she adds up the calories from all the servings of dairy, fruits and vegetables, proteins, and cereals she’s allegedly supposed to have, sometimes she’s over, and there’s certainly not anything left over for something she wants.

Okay, so here’s what makes me crazy. We’re on 1200 calories, right? A big, 6’2″ guy like my husband can easily take in 2000 calories. That’s what all the nutrition information is based on. His needs. So…why would I assume that a serving size for him is the same as a serving size for me? I’m absolutely not a nutritionist, but I’m just going, if we have different calorie needs, why should I assume we need the same nutrition? If he needs a cup of something to make a serving, maybe MY serving should be a little more than half of that.

Which is basically what I said to my mom and she was like, oh, I never thought of that.

So I’m just feeling like this whole nutrition info on the package that was supposed to be helpful could be a little more helpful. I mean, could they include another column for a 1200 or 1500 calorie diet? I don’t even really care which one, I just think it would be a huge service to all of us short women out here who deserve quick package reference as much as the men (who often don’t bother to look) do. I mean, 2000 calories? Really? In what world is that a reasonable average?

So here I am on 1200 calories. Anything I’m going to snack on I’m going to want to break down into 100 calorie portions. If all I ate all day was 100 calorie snack things, I could have 12 day. Ever notice how many things are 140-160 calories per serving? 12 x 150 = 1800.

Eating the whole portion on individually packaged items or going by the serving size printed on a larger package would have me over by 4200 calories at the end of the week. Which would gain me over a pound a week. Six pounds in 5 weeks. How easy would it be to put on an extra 10-15 pounds each year just by eating from a portion standard made for people several inches taller with much higher metabolisms? How many of us have done it?

Now, if you’re doing all your math, you can figure this out and not go over. The thing is, we don’t want to do the math. For many of us, measuring, journalling, and mathmatizing the food has us thinking about food all the time, which is not a recipe for not eating as much. What has worked for me has been learning to eyeball things better, learning to be satisfied with 100 calorie servings. Saving up what seems like just little bits of calories here and there matters when you’ve only got 1200 to start. (Note: I set a goal of 1200 so I have plenty of room for error and actually consume between 1200-1500 calories.)

Since this is hardly a dieting site, I’ll take this time when I’m already babbling about weight loss stuff to add something else that’s helped me. I used to eat until I was “full” and call it “satisfied.” I retrained my brained to define satisfied as no longer hungry. If I’ve finished what I pretty much know I’m supposed to eat, I can take a moment to actually think and ask myself, am I hungry? Not, am I full? The answer is probably no, because I’ve already eaten what my body needs and what it can process. So I tell myself that I’m satisfied and can stop. That doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a process. But it’s how I can be satisfied, genuinely, with less while I sit with others as they continue to eat more, like my husband who needs to eat more because he’s a big man who physically labors.

Meanwhile, “full” means something else to me now. In my head, the concept of being full is like being stuffed. Overeating has much more negative connotations in my head. It’s not something that’s like, Oops! I overate and now I’m ugh. It’s more like a, why would I do that to myself? Why would I put food in my mouth to the point where it causes me physical discomfort? Isn’t that kind of like getting falling down drunk in public? That’s not cool.

I mean, no, really. Because when people keep eating just because something is delicious, how is that really different from continuing to drink because you like the way it makes you feel? How is that bloated, overstuffed feeling you get from eating too much so different from the way you get sick from drinking too much? So when I’m out and there’s delicious food on my plate, it’s not really so hard for me to convince myself that I don’t want to engage in public food drunkenness.

So I hope I don’t have to say that none of this is intended to make anyone feel bad about the way they eat. I say this stuff because I used to eat as much as my much larger husband. Because I used to eat until I couldn’t hold anymore and think THAT was the signal to stop. I trained myself, in a lot of ways, to NEED way more food than I actually needed. So what I’m trying to share with you is changes I made in my thinking that helped me train myself back out of that.

I don’t consider myself a dieter. Like many people, I came out of my high metabolism teens and just kept eating, going into college with a lot more social eating, got married young and allowed my eating to habits grow more like my husband’s. This is the first time in my life I’ve stopped to really think about what I’ve been doing and to learn what I really need.

It is damned nice to be able to run across my house to attend to a disaster without danger of tripping over my own thighs rubbing together.

 

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