Before: Dec. 2011,161.8 lbs. After: April 2016, 129 lbs.
The nearly 33 lb. difference, as displayed in the above photos, has made a huge difference in my life. Even though I don't have an extreme 100 lb. weight loss to talk about...it is a significant amount to me. I know that I am much happier and healthier having shed those pounds. I also know I've struggled all my life with gaining and losing them (plus more). This is the longest I have ever stayed on a diet ...and a healthy one at that. I consider my current way of eating a permanent lifestyle change, even though I may call it my "diet".
I have learned that the amount of food I (in the past) thought I needed to feel satisfied was not an accurate amount of what I really do need to feel satisfied. I just had to practice eating less and re-train my brain a bit. Making a conscious effort at each meal, day after, day, week after week has made eating smaller portions more of a normal habit. However, I still have issues with portion control and must always think about keeping things reasonable. I will always have to be diligent at keeping my mind in check with the reality of what my body needs. But, the more I do it, the better at it I get and it becomes less of a struggle.
My pre-planned meal guide is extremely important in helping me stay on track and I'll talk a bit more about that in a future post.
To exercise portion control I have reduced the amount of food I put on my plate at each meal. I have a set number of meals to eat per day (6). I count my 2 cups of morning coffee as meal 1...although I know it's not really a meal, but I'm not ready to eat food until about 2-3 hrs after I've started sipping on the coffee. So breakfast comes usually between 10-11am ish.
The meals are not spread out too far from each other...so I know if I only get so much at meal 2 that's okay because in just 2-3 hrs I'll get more food. I have found that the smaller portion I used to think might be too little to make me happy is just enough to satisfy me, be healthy for me, and keep me going until my next meal. My afternoon and evening snack enable me to have a reasonable and healthy sized lunch and dinner.
One example of a portion size for me now:
Pasta at dinner time... In the past I might have eaten 3 ounces which is 1 1/2 servings. Now I will eat 1 ounce of pasta which is half of a single serving. I will use different varieties of pasta, depending on the recipe, and will bulk up the dish with chicken, turkey, or shrimp and vegetables.
If we are having a low cal sauce, I use a lot less of it than I would have in the past. If making an alfredo I make a healthier version using 2 T marg, a little unsweetened almond milk, 3 T fat free cream cheese, and a little light/low fat italian cheese, garlic powder, salt substitute, and pepper. I make a quantity (for the two of us) that will lightly coat the pasta, not drench it....and will add chicken or shrimp and lots of broccoli to the 1 oz of fettucine alfredo. Mmmm...so good. (No more 1/2 n 1/2, loads of butter and full fat cheese.)
Another example of a revamped portion: On a work day I'll use only half a can of albacore tuna for my lunch (about 2pm) rather than a whole can. I will add a little low fat mayo to it and make a wrap with a low carb 50 calorie whole wheat tortilla. I'll also put spinach in it to bulk it up a little more. That will keep me satisfied till my 3:45pm low fat mozzarella cheese stick.
Oh, and I must add, that for breakfast on work days I'll take with me and eat oatmeal. 1/2 serving of oats w/ unsweetened almond milk, walnuts, 1/2 banana, blueberries, sugar free (15 calorie) maple syrup and a Trader Joe's soy breakfast sausage patty along with 8 oz V8 juice. So I have a hearty breakfast around 11am.
So just eating a bit less, making healthier choices as much as possible, and eating at regular intervals has really worked for me.