Monday, January 21, 2013

My secret weapon...

I have to retrain my brain.

Currently, it has absolutely no idea how much food is too much or how much is enough.  Not until its all gone, and my stomach is screaming that it's had enough and is about to burst.  Only then, does my brain seem to get the message to STOP EATING!! 

Regardless of how much food is on my plate, the same thing will happen.  I will eat everything, providing I like it - obviously Brussels Sprouts are a definite 'no go' area coz they taste like crap* - that is served up to me.

Sometimes, if we're eating out, the plate comes, and I look at it with eyes like saucers and I think how the hell am I going to eat all of that?  Not even once considering that it's okay to leave some uneaten.  Because you can't leave any, you're not allowed.  Plus, I'm paying for it!  So it all gets eaten.  Very methodically, one food at a time...

Which used to drive my Nana to absolute distraction!  She was forever on my back as a kid about putting a little bit of everything on my fork for each mouthful.  It drove her nuts that I would eat food individually, all the potato first, then the peas, unless it was mashed potato - in which case i would use the mash to pick up the peas... then would come carrots etc then whatever meat was on offer.  You get the picture.  It is possible that I may be a little bit OCD.  Every night was the same.  I was also the slowest eater in the family, and was frequently to be found at the table on my own, as I wasn't allowed to leave until I had finished my dinner.

...The only exceptions to the rule would have to be garden salad, and chicken & veg pies.  The pie for obvious reasons, but the salad?  Don't know why, it's just okay.  Except for the lettuce.  It just hit me that every time I eat salad, the lettuce goes first.  But everything else - even casserole - has to be one food at a time.  Always starting with the potato.  Huh. Just realised that!

That way of eating obviously has a negative impact on my health, coz if it didn't I wouldn't be here, and you wouldn't be reading this!

On the flip side of 'the meal so huge I think I'm gonna bust', is 'the meal so small it wouldn't feed a sparrow'.

These are the meals that are dished up at my Mum's house.

Is it her way of telling me I eat too much?  No.  Although I used to think that.  But it's not.  She and my Dad just eat small portions.

In fact, they probably eat the proper portion size, but my perception is so screwed up that when I see the amount of food that she cooks for us all, I begin to get anxious.  I actually get scared that I am going to be hungry.  I don't like being hungry, because when I am, I know that I'm headed for trouble.  We stop at the supermarket before we get there and buy groceries for them, because we know we are big eaters, and well, it's what you do isn't it?  That's when I go and buy bags of chips, or candied popcorn, or packets of biscuits etc.  For later.  Then when we get there, we hide the bag.  How ridiculous is that?!

Mum is realising that I can't,  what... cope? manage? survive? on the portions she & Dad are used to, so now, when we visit, we get more, still not as much as what I would cook for us, but it's enough.  I don't feel like I've been cheated, like I haven't eaten at all, like I'm being punished...  or as Mum so eloquently puts it "my stomach doesn't think my throat's been cut."  That's a good thing!  And I am realising that I can cope, manage,survive on a portion smaller than one that would feed the population of a medium sized 3rd world nation.

So, back to retraining my brain.  How to do it?

Well I've done the Weight Watchers thing, you know, cheese the size of a matchbox (wouldn't feed a mouse) and meat the size of the palm of your hand (soo small) etc - I thought I would starve, and honestly just can't be bothered with the whole weighing everything any more, except if Michelle say's I have to, then we'll see!  I need visual cues, not just weights and measures.

How else can you teach yourself what size a portion should be?

I'm glad you asked!

BEHOLD!  My secret weapon...
The plate is for meals, and the bowl for cereal, soup etc...

The plate is divided into sections for carbs, protein etc, and the bowl has lines around it for various food types.  The idea is that what you put on your plate has to stay within those lines. You may think you can cheat by piling it high, but you can't, because (a) you're not allowed, and (b) you can only pile it so high before it begins to overflow the lines, which defeats the purpose of the plate.  Besides, have you ever tried to pile up pasta noodles or spaghetti?  It doesn't work very well!

If I can combine the plate, with Michelle's plan, then there'll be no stopping me!

*This is the author's own personal opinion on Brussels Sprouts, and is not meant to cause offence in any way. But if you like 'em, then dude, you need some therapy, coz they is nasty!


  1. You can also get Good Ideas Nutrition Plate that exactly matches what Michelle recommends - see my blog post (not the band one that I use, but the normal one matches exactly Michelle's rules if yours doesn't and you want to get one). My Obesity Clinic Doctor plugs getting these too so they really ARE a great idea to eat off of regularly to check your portion sizes.

  2. Thanks Penny, when I was looking for a portion control plate, that one never even came up in the search! When I compare them side by side though, they don't seem to be too different, so I'll see how I go with the one I've got, and if it's a dud I've now got a backup plan. I'm loving the feedback - keep it coming!

  3. I have started weighing out my food so i can get an idea of proper portion sizes. At first, I felt hungry and like i wasn't getting enough food. But now, 4 weeks in, I have learned to enjoy feeling content and never full. If I feel full, then I have eaten too much!

    I also used to have a problem with "wasting food", until I found a quote either on the blogs or the forums (I cant quite remember) - "Waste or Waist". Now everytime I cant finish my meal if we are out or something I think to myself, Waste it or have it on my waist...yeah easy choice in my opinion...ditch it haha!

  4. I layout the food Im going to eat for the day in the morning. So breakfast lunch and snacks. If you see it all together it really helps to see how much is too much. Its amazing how much you will put back in the cupboard and fridge as excess that you would have eaten because it didnt seem a lot in your mind.

    The other is to have a glass of water before you eat. I drink a glass of water whilst making the evening meal by the time its ready to eat the brain has triggered the fullness feeling and I find I eat less.