Portion Control and the Holidays

      I have loosely followed the principles of the South Beach diet for the last few years, and it has helped me to lose 30 lbs.  I had 10 more pounds to lose, but I hit a plateau over the last year.  And then I gained ten pounds back too.  I admit that I got a little careless about my eating habits after I hit the plateau.  I had too much pasta, too much bread and butter when eating out, too many hot cheetos; and, okay, probably too much wine too.  So now I have 20 lbs. that I want to bust through.  Although I work out at the gym one hour a day, five days a week, it was still not enough to drop weight off.

      I had planned to reboot to phase 1 of the South Beach Diet.  Then I saw a friend of mine and was a bit shocked.  She looked more lean and buff.  It had only been a few weeks since I had seen her last.  I asked what she had been doing, and she told me that she was on a program called the 21 Day Fix by Beachbody.  Seeing the dramatic results with my own eyes, and not second-hand from some cheesy late night marketing ad on TV, I had to check this out.  I went online and read more about it.  Now here I am deep into the holiday season, and I just finished the first week of the diet.  I have lost three pounds.

I ordered the package online which also includes workout dvds, a food eating guide, and color-coded cups in varied sizes that represent food groups.  

       When I first opened the package, I thought “Oh what cute little portion cups.  There is even one that is purple…..uh wait…that’s it?!  How am I not going to be hungry?”  However, this is what I like most about this program.  It addresses the quantity of food intake as well as nutritional quality.  I have found that for my caloric needs, the portions recommended, are indeed enough, to satisfy me.  Meals are eaten five times a day with two to three hours in between.  Within a daily schedule and according to my size for example, I am supposed to eat three portions of vegetables a day.  That is more veggies than I am used to eating.  As a result, I now find myself eating more of those instead of filling up on cheese, popcorn, salami, peanut butter, and over-buttered rice cakes.  It has helped me to realize that I was previously sabotaging my diet.  The real kicker was realizing the portion sizes of rice and pasta that I had been eating.  I usually try to avoid rice and pasta to begin with, but I still cooked it for my family.  I had tricked myself into believing that the small bites I put on my plate and kept going back to the pan for really added up to at least two cups.

          So now that I am more conscious of portion sizes and healthier eating, how will I apply these tips to the holiday season so that I don’t gain more weight?  It is the worst time of the year for me to attempt a diet plan for weight loss.  Temptation is on the horizon.  I think it is unrealistic to completely avoid things like the dinner rolls and desserts at holiday family dinners.  I like food, but I don’t want to gain weight.  So, my approach to the upcoming Christmas dinners will be to eat smaller portions of the carb-loaded foods and desserts that I am compelled to eat and to space it out.  For example,  instead of woofing down three or four cookies at once, I could slowly eat two cookies and eat one more or two at least a couple of hours later.  Or I could challenge myself to break a cookie in half, and eat the other half later as my wise grandmother would always do.  Have a smaller piece of pie or a smaller piece of cake.  One dinner roll instead of two, and have it without butter and maybe it won’t taste so good anyway.

     Why, might one ask, bother with this now and not in January as a New Year’s Resolution as so many other people do?  Well, I don’t want to wait.  The time to make lifestyle changes for better health is now.

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Hi, my name is Lisa. I paint florals, still life and landscapes in acrylics and oils on canvas, and I am recently venturing into producing metal/garden art . I also love gardening, exercising, traveling, and reading. I recently graduated from California State University, East Bay with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Sciences.

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