Saturday, January 2, 2010

Portion Control...a learned habit

I struggle greatly with portion control. Seriously, the other night I ate two, count them, TWO dark chocolate candy bars. At least they were dark chocolate, right? Oh, and it was New Year's Eve...celebrating right? I deserve it, right? Ugh, although they taste SO good, it's so not worth it immediately after. Wes has a saying that I despise, but love at the same time. "Nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels." Well, I'm not so sure I necessarily want to be skinny, but the saying still stings when I hear it or say it. Because it's true...although I think I want to change it to "Nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels." When I was in shape, eating foods that weren't good for me wasn't matter how good they tasted. Because I was in the zone...I knew that immediately after I would totally regret it.

So, how do I get back to that point? I don't know really. As I mentioned before, I have several tubs of clothes packed away that I cannot fit into and I paid good money for those clothes! As my friend Anne said after having her son, "It's not an issue of vanity, but an issue of economics!" SO true. Since we're adapting our life to a less wasteful, more resourceful way, this is helping to motivate me to get into better shape so I don't have to buy another entire wardrobe at the size I am now. Which, by the way, is no fun. I hate even shopping for a shirt or pair of pants. And the bathing suit top I just had to buy the other day for our upcoming cruise...nauseating. Not just because I'm at the weight I am or the shape I'm in, but because I actually had to spend money on an article of clothing that is 3 sizes bigger than what I used to be. It was on clearance, but still $9.00 is too much money to pay for a swimsuit top when I have about 10-12 in a box packed away.

I've read somewhere that it takes anywhere from 11 days to a month to develop a habit. So that's my goal for the first two weeks of the year. To limit the portions I allow myself when eating meals or snacks. I know I can do it, I've done it before. I actually counted calories once. I tracked it with an online calorie counter so it made it look nice and pretty. I was aiming for 2000 calories a day because of still breastfeeding. It was so hard to do that first week, but guess what? I lost three pounds! one week...eating 2000 calories! I was not only eating less calories obviously, but choosing better foods. Who says you have to only eat 1200 calories to lose weight? We need to focus more on WHAT those calories are.

Our society has continuously encouraged larger and larger portion sizes. We all know how fast food restaurants serve. But what about the nicer restaurants? Ever been to a steakhouse? Fine dining or Texas Roadhouse, it doesn't really matter because they often have 12-16 ounce steaks on their menu. What does the average person need with a steak that big? How does their body handle it? And that's probably not the only thing that person eats at that meal, I'm willing to bet. I'm sure there is a baked potato on the side, broccoli if we're lucky and I'm sure there's always the fried onion appetizer before.

My family has done pretty well in sharing meals when we go out. The other day, my husband, son, niece and I all shared one entree and one sushi roll and it was more than enough. We're also going to attempt to adopt the practice of as soon as our food is brought to the table, immediately box up everything over what we should eat in one sitting. Then we've also stretched our dollar that way because we then have at least one, possibly two, meals for the next day's lunch!

So, portion control is going to be my first focus as far as eating healthy goes. Yes, I'm still going to be choosing healthy, natural recipes and increasing our veggie servings, but I think portion control is a key factor is healthier eating. Basically we're going to use our hand as our guide.

Open hand with fingers spread - veggies
Palm of hand - protein
Quarter of palm - good fats

Note - we do not have grains/starches. The Paleo/Zone diet Wes likes to follow doesn't really focus on it. Although on the Zone diet, it does allow for grains, but the Paleo doesn't. Wes really likes the huge focus on the veggies. But, for breakfast we will do oatmeal. Never instant, always old-fashioned or steel-cut oats. We're still deciding on what we think is right for our diet. We are not telling anyone to eliminate anything from their diet, only to do your research and read as much as you can and decide for yourself!

Recipe share:
borrowed from

Paleo Mediterranean Chicken

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (trimmed, cut in half and pounded)
almond meal - we used wheat bran (just don't use white flour!)
14 oz can quartered artichokes - drained if in oil
dried parsley
14 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2.25 can sliced black olives
1 yellow onion
8 ounces of mushrooms
1 cup chicken broth (make your own one day!)
2 tsp olive oil
2-3 T fresh Italian parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix about 1/2 C almond meal with 2 T dried parsley.
After pounding chicken breasts, sprinkle both sides of chicken breasts with almond meal mixture
Heat olive oil in a skillet
Brown chicken breasts on both sides - about 3 minutes per side
Add to baking dish when finished
After all chicken breasts are browned, add chicken broth to skillet and deglaze pan
Add all other ingredients to pan and bring to a quick low boil, then pour over chicken
Sprinkle top with fresh Italian parsley and bake for about 30 minutes.

I'd give this 2-3 stars out of 5. I probably won't be making this again. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't my favorite either. The chicken will be fine leftover chopped in a salad or wrap though. I'd rather have the Mustard Agave Chicken again!


  1. Dusti- you are giving me the incentive to be more conscious about the choices I am making. I was "there" once but with Amaia, the house etc it seems to have fallen by the wayside. Looking forward to watching your progress!! -Jennie (FENKO)

  2. Thanks Jennie!
    I understand about being there and the frustration of not being there any longer. Please, comment away, tell me about what you do during the day that can help motivate me as well! It's always easier to continue to live a healthier lifestyle when we continue to keep it front and center!