Portions Just For Me

When I was a big girl, wearing upwards of a size 26/28, I was always concerned about where my next meal would come from.  Would we go out to eat?  Would I secretly swing through a drive thru window?  Would I cook?  If it were the latter, then I began planning my meals early in the day, so I could have something fun to look foward to later.  I would think about what I would serve with the meal, what kind of bread I was going have, and most importantly what dessert would be.

Early afternoon would find me at the stove, cooking a meal for our family.  I liked to experiment with recipes, and once I had a few children, discovered I really did like to cook.  Turned out to be a good thing, as we now have a family of nine!  Before we had all the other children, I often made recipes that were high in fat and calories, like chicken cordon bleu.  I’d serve it with a salad, doused in dressing of course, veggies swimming in butter and salt, and possibly some fruit.  One thing I always did was make sure I had the biggest portions.

When the dinner was finished cooking, I’d be the one serving the meals.  I’d lay out the plates, dole out everyone’s food, saving my plate for last.  I’d load up my plate with the biggest piece of chicken I could get away with, making sure to spoon plenty of sauce on top of it.  As we ate, I’d find myself surepeticiously watching everyone else eat, wondering if they would want more, or could I have the rest?  If they wanted more, I’d give it to them, but then I’d remind myself that there was plenty of chocolate cake sitting on the counter for me!

Dessert time came, and once again, the largest piece was mine.  Besides having the largest piece, I’d also pick at the cake while I was serving the others.  After all, that’s the cook’s privilege isn’t it?  Looking back, I not only ate the largest amount, I probably ate double what anyone else did by the time I added in the extra nibbles here and there.  I was so obsessed with food that I ate and served myself way more than was appropriate.

These days, I still like to cook, but no longer serve myself the biggest portion. Now, I serve myself appropriate portion sizes, and don’t worry where my next meal will come from.  I’m no longer embarrassed when the family asks, “Is there anymore chicken left?”   I know how to control my portion sizes, and understand that if I eat more food than I should, I will gain weight.

Portion sizes at restaurants are hard to control, but when you cook at home, it’s so important to control how much you are serving yourself and how much you are eating. Learning to be satisfied with just one portion of food, be it a main dish entree or a piece of fruit has made living with maintenance all these years so much easier.

How are you at portion control? Do you find it harder at home, or harder away from home? Diane

41 thoughts on “Portions Just For Me

  1. 266 says:

    That’s something I never portion out, is fruit. And vegetables really, come to think of it. I am intuitively careful about the other food groups, meaning that I am not measuring or anything, but rather just taking what I think is appropriate. It hasn’t been a problem so far, but getting on board with portioning out produce is something that I know may be a challenge for me when I get to the maintenance part of this journey.
    .-= 266´s last blog ..Running In Circles =-.

  2. Diane says:

    I think that having a family of three it made it easy to overeat but then also easy to reign in. Almost every recipe is made for a minimum of 4 people, so unless you alter it, someone is overeating ! Certain things are almost impossible to reduce ( like one egg), but everything else gets reduced. I follow the recipe and make 3 portions, and then divide it into 3 servings. Measuring tools are my best friends !
    .-= Diane´s last blog ..New cooking adventures =-.

  3. vickie says:

    I still weigh and measure. Other people get out a serving spoon – I get out a measuring cup.

    There are very few things that I will eat outside the house.

    My emergency food – I go to a grocery and get a one serving size of greek yogurt and add 1/4 cup of walnuts. I keep a serving of walnuts in my car.

    I have two eat out foods:
    red beans and rice served on top a very large mixed greens salad, ranch dressing on the side.

    steamed veggies with ranch dressing on the side.

    I very rarely eat ranch at home – so that is part of the ‘treat’.
    .-= vickie´s last blog .. =-.

  4. JourneyBeyondSurvival says:

    I’ve been a closet eater most of my life.

    The kind that likes to eat alone in the kitchen (or closet/bathroom if walked in upon) because I could get away with eating more SUGAR.

    I identify most with you saying you were so embarrassed if they asked for more. Well that was me with treats. I even started blaming them because they knew how I was around treats. If they wanted some, then darn it! Take it before I get it.

    It’s been a relief not to be embarrassed or guilty.
    .-= JourneyBeyondSurvival´s last blog ..Change Stacks Up =-.

    • Diane says:

      I know exactly what you mean. I always called myself a pantry eater, because I’d stand in front of it and eat whatever when no one was looking.

  5. Staci says:

    I find it harder away from home because the plates are so big and sometimes I do not want to stop myself from eating the food. At home, I get the smaller dinner plate and make sure that is all that I am eating with my portion sizes. I hope that you have a wonderful day!!!
    .-= Staci´s last blog ..Relocation =-.

  6. Dr. J says:

    Portion control is THE central theme in my circle of how to eat! Once I got a handle on this, everything else fell into place. Right on the bullseye again, Diane!

  7. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    Yup, Diane, to me, it is about portion control. You have to know what you are putting in your mouth. Sometimes I eat more than the “recommended portion size” because I choose to like with my protein. It is all about figuring out what works for you BUT watching that the portions do not turn into 3 portions on a plate. Even when I am out, since I visually know the portion sizes for me, I follow that.
    .-= Jody – Fit at 52´s last blog ..Gym Tough Love Advice & Some Ranting 🙂 =-.

  8. Mia says:

    Everyday I have to concentrate on portion control.

    We use the smaller lunch size plates for dinner so our food servings look satisfying. I do use measuring utensils or I know how much a cup or bowl holds because I checked. If I don’t measure, I start to slip down that slippery slope and taste here or snitch there. And the next thing I know, I’m eating from the box!

    Maintenance requires constant work.

  9. Gigi says:

    I had to smile as you related your old days bad habits about the portion control. It’s so true! I’d do the same with my son and the mac and cheese. Luckily, we don’t serve it up so much anymore but there were always a few spoonfuls that could’ve made another serving when he had asked (shakes her head in shame). Good post.
    .-= Gigi´s last blog ..The Semi-Tough =-.

  10. Barbara says:

    I am free with most veggies like broccoli and asparagus, low starch vegetables and fruits like melon and berries. I eat large portions of these, but small to regular size portions of meat, starches, etc. I used to have that feeling too, of will I get enough? and feeling the need for large portions. I think it is the fat talking trying to maintain itself and grow.

  11. Michelle says:

    Diane, I’m not sure how you do it, but it seems like you are inside my head and know exactly what I’ve been doing! The last three posts in particular have been very insightful and I can completely see myself where you once were. I want to be where you are now! Keep up the great job on your blog. You are truly making a difference in people’s lives!

  12. Brenda says:

    (seems like you were describing the way I used to be too in your post!) I still use my measuring cups when plating my food at dinner even though I can look and know what the correct serving size is. (Important for me with whole grain pasta because it’s easier to add a little too much), but if I’m more hungry than usual, I won’t hesitate to add extra healthy veggies to the plate.
    One thing I have noticed is before when I was 215 pounds, I ALWAYS ended my meals saying “I ate too much!” EVERY TIME!!!
    Now I know it’s not supposed to end with me FEELING FULL, but instead being content (2 totally different feeling for me)

  13. Jules - Big Girl Bombshell says:

    What a great post. I have been looking at this for a long time. The out of balance thing of portions and exercise. Hmm…I think I just found the answer to my own question from my post this morning.
    I can relate a lot to Journey Beyond Survival. The closet eater. Or the car, or work, basically when I was alone. I served myself up last too. When I was a single Mom, I made sure the kids always had enough, usually to my own deprivation. But..get me away from the kids, and it was gluttony most of the time! WOW! So many answers, from such a short read. LOVE ur POSTS!
    .-= Jules – Big Girl Bombshell´s last blog ..Do You Think Too Much? =-.

  14. Linda says:

    This is so true! I have done that! Sometimes I still find myself thinking that way! Why? We are blessed to have plenty of good food. I will get another meal. There is no reason to eat what is left on the kids plates.
    Funny thing is now that I serve myself smaller/normal portions, I feel satisfied, I feel better because I am not too full and I feel better because I took care of myself!
    .-= Linda´s last blog ..I scream, you may not scream, we all may or may not scream for ice-cream! =-.

  15. MySensei says:

    Really great points! I sometimes find portion control hard at home. When we cook, there is usually extra because I have yet to master the art of cooking for two. And when I know there is more left over, I tend to want to eat it. Lately it has been getting better because as soon as I’m done my first plate, I immediately pack my lunch for the next day with the leftovers to avoid over eating. But sometimes it still gets me!

  16. Leah says:

    Portions are always much better controlled at home than at restaurants for me.

    You mentioned a lot of my thoughts concerning food and secretly hoping no one would want more, before I started my weight loss journey. I know that’s why I feel, in my case, it was an addiction problem that needed help. I’ve really come a long way in this area and no longer yearn sadly for foods that my family finished off. I’m happy to share and happy to eat a smaller portion.

    Great post!

  17. Kimberley says:

    I am pretty good about portion control. I usually cook for just me and I making one serving so there is no more to eat. If I do cook more it is intentionally and I freeze the leftovers for lunches and dinners the following week.

    I only put food on my plate once and I measure brown rice and some vegetables. I count a lot of things, number of nuts, number of crackers etc.

    When I go out I usually like to get a steak or piece of fish with double vegetable, no butter. I am GF so there is not a lot I can order which makes it even easier.

    Even at my worst I could never eat a lot of food at one time. My binges would usually be me ordering tons of food, eating until I felt sick, but having to throw the rest out. I don’t miss that…
    .-= Kimberley´s last blog ..Good New and Bad News =-.

  18. 'Drea says:

    I like how you’re looking out for yourself but in a much different way now.

    I’m pretty good with portion control at home and that’s where I try to eat 97% of my meals because, let’s faces it, away from home is scary. 😉
    .-= ‘Drea´s last blog ..Hurricane Kate =-.

  19. suzanne says:

    I’m getting better at portion control but i still have a way to go! Reading this post reminded me of when i used to go to parties/dinner meeting etc. When i wanted to be in the front of the line in case they ran out of the food i was drooling over. And i always went up for seconds. I would be in meetings and instead of concentrating on what was being said i was deciding whether or not i could have a second or third dessert.
    It’s so much nicer now when i can take a normal plate of food and that’s enough, it satisfies. The bonus is i can enjoy the meeting and not have any guilt after.
    .-= suzanne´s last blog ..Question day once again!! =-.

  20. Emergefit says:

    You know, for all the BS we hear and read about the “low-carb” life style, and the “low-fat” lifestyle, it amazes me that nobody ever talks about the “low-portion” lifestyle. One would think corporate America and the food giants would be all other this — a marketing panacea. That is, food giants market the “low-portion” lifestyle, sell less product at the same price, they make more money, we get smaller waistlines. Seems like a natural greedy fit.

  21. Barbara says:

    I exercise extreme portion control with calorie laden foods … none with lots of veggies, and do tend to take the largest apple. 🙂

  22. Sunny says:

    Portion control is THE key between long-term success at this, and returning to yo-yo dieting patterns. I truly believe that. Thanks for another great post! 🙂
    .-= Sunny´s last blog ..Hunger =-.

  23. Amy says:

    Oh yeah! I can identify with this especially the eating bites as you cook or serve! YIKES! I don’t think I’ve ever been to the point where I hoard it for myself (yet), but I was more of a mindless, emotional eater…eating everybody’s leftovers…eating things laying around cause I was tired etc without even thinking. I do notice that now that I am really trying to be better with portions that we have a lot more leftovers and more in our fridge! Could it be that I was eating THAT much? DOUBLE YIKES!! Thanks for this post. This is something that I struggle with! Oh and I’m almost to 25 lbs LOST! YAY! 🙂

    Blessings to you!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..School this summer… =-.

  24. Free Weight Loss Newsletter says:

    I am the opposite actually. Portions at a restaurant are just what you get. All I have to do is resolve to order from the senior menu and then you get a small portion and there’s nothing you can do about that. If I’m at home, I like to make three or four meals worth at once, and sometimes two meals disappear just like that 🙁

  25. Nicole, RD says:

    Away from home is definitely harder for me. I find that for something like a loaf of bread, if I cut it into the yielded 12 slices, I can keep to just one slice. If I don’t pre-cut, I’ll end up with a much larger piece. Same goes for desserts and such. Even baby carrots I pre-portion out…just as much for time saving as for portion control!
    .-= Nicole, RD´s last blog ..Oh, the irony! …and a Q&A =-.

  26. kwithme says:

    One of the things that struck me is that most young children should eat more than an adult woman. I keep that in mind when serving us for dinner. My plate should look like theirs (4 and 8 years old). The only exception I give myself is on the green veggies. I usually eat twice as much as they do because that is how I “fill” up. But my protein and grain servings look like theirs.

  27. josie says:

    portion control is a MUST for me.
    Since I started on this journey I’ve been really good at my portion sizes. Well, last night we had spaghetti (a weakness of mine) and I overindulged….I didn’t have near the two full plates that I used to eat, but I had more than my portion. And I got soooo full. Icky feeling full. Not good. A great reminder of just how important portion control is.
    .-= josie´s last blog ..Week 21 – Weigh-In (and a lot of pictures!) =-.

  28. Fattie Fatterton says:

    Portion control is still very hard, but I am trying. I’ve basically decided that eating out is something I am not going to do very often at all because I can’t control myself there.

    At home, it’s a bit easier. I keep track of everything. I have learned that no meal is my last (that I know of, of course,lol). I certainly used to eat that way. I am trying to learn to eat so that I am satisfied NOT full.
    .-= Fattie Fatterton´s last blog ..I tried every diet in the book. I tried some that weren’t in the book. I tried eating the book. It tasted better than most of the diets. =-.

  29. Tiffany says:

    I have discovered that I also suffered from always thinking about “where my next meal would come from.” I think that has to do with growing up middle/low class- it’s also probably why I have a hard time leaving food on my plate.

    All stuff I’m unlearning 🙂

  30. Susan says:

    Portion sizes were definitely my problem too! My eyes have always been bigger than my stomach, so I would put heaps of food on my plate, then feel the need to scrape my plate clean. I would often finish meals feeling overstuffed and guilty. Nowadays I control that by putting my vegetables on my plate first, and overloading them. Then the meat or higher-calorie main dish is put on the plate, and there isn’t usually enough room for a large portion of that because of all the veggies 😉
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..The Age Old Weight & Rep Debate =-.

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