New rules of portion control
I hate the term “portion control.” To me, it sounds like border patrol. “Attention: This is the US Portion Control. Take one step closer to that serving dish, and we will bust your ass back to the treadmill.”
I know I’m going to irk some people when I say this, but I don’t practice portion control. If I did, I would have no friends, no husband and no job. I’m crabby, agitated and lazy when I’m hungry, and I don’t believe anyone should have to go through life on an empty stomach.
That’s not to say I don’t watch what I eat. I eat a LOT*, but 90 percent of what I put into my body is good for me. The way I see it is if you are eating nutritious, low-calorie foods, you should be able to eat until you are satisfied – or even until you’re full (gasp!).
The reason I say this is yesterday a client told me that her problem was portion control. I asked her, “What are you eating?” She confessed to a diet of mostly meat-based dishes with rice and pasta. If she snuck in one fruit or vegetable a day, that was an accomplishment.
Clearly, this woman’s issue is a matter of quality and not quantity, but for most people, the problem is not so obvious. Let’s say you eat a 6-inch turkey sandwich from Subway, but you’re still hungry. Most likely, next time you would order a footlong (which for most people is a large portion) or, if you’re watching your weight, you would hold out until dinner, cranking up your iPod to drown out the construction zone in your tummy. Instead, why not supplement your sandwich with 20 carrot sticks?
Here’s my rule: For every bite of sandwich, I eat two carrots/celery sticks, etc. For every forkful of spaghetti, I eat two heaping forks of salad. Eat veggies with everything. Eat twice as many veggies as your supposed “main course.” Aim for three times as many. If you really want to stuff your face, devour a gigantic salad or plate of veggies before you even touch the meat and potatoes on the table. By the time you get to dessert, you will have a teeny-tiny spot left in your stomach for a piece of dark chocolate and a few almonds.
If you don’t like veggies, disguise them. I just interviewed a woman who puts carrots in her pasta sauce. I also talked to a man who douses veggie omelets with hot sauce. Eat your veggies, darnit! And eat lean protein. It fills you up so you don’t have to keep a trough of lettuce in your kitchen.
If you prefer one slice of pizza followed by three hours of hunger pangs, you can continue submitting to the powers of Portion Control. But if you can get yourself to make healthier choices, there is an all-you-can-eat diet out there.
*As of 1pm: Bowl of shredded wheat cereal with half cup of low-fat cottage cheese, half cup of blueberries, orange, apple, turkey sandwich with spinach, tomato, avocado, cucumbers and mustard on whole wheat bread, 20 carrot sticks, half of an acorn squash, handful of walnuts