Previously, I wrote about how I was convicted to practice portion control from a Biblical perspective. (See this post to read more about that). Today, let’s take a look at what portion control means in reality.
When I first started practicing portion control in July 2016, I simply cut my portions. I used what I already had and adapted. So, I took my 4 year old son’s plates that are divided into three sections like this one.
I put my main entrée in the larger section. For lunch, that would fit half of a sandwich. For dinner, that fit whatever the “main dish” was we were having that day. Then, I would fill the other two sections with vegetables. For fruit, I generally wouldn’t cut my whole pieces, but I tried to eat three different fruits a day (1 cup of blueberries, a banana, a pear, an apple, a peach…you get the point).
When I first started, I really cut back on snacks like goldfish crackers, animal crackers, pretzels, vanilla wafers, and the like. When I say really, I mean…I cut them out completely. This was pretty easy the first week but got more difficult as the weeks went on. What kept me motivated was THE SCALE! I saw the pounds flying off the scale much quicker than I had imagined. I lost 5 pounds in the first month.
About a month into my own version of portion control, my friend introduced me to Beachbody and their portion control system. I ordered a challenge pack that included Shakeology and the portion control containers. That’s when I realized that it’s not just how much you eat, but that you have to have a balanced diet that includes veggies, fruits, proteins, carbs, healthy fats, seeds/nuts, and even some oils. I learned that the portion sizes and number of daily servings for each food group are different.
At first, I WAS COMPLETELY OVERWHELMED! There were these little, color-coded containers and a list of foods for each container. (Click here and here for more info or to purchase some of your own.) I figured out how many times I was allowed to fill each container each day and then almost decided to quit. I wasn’t sure I could do it.
There was no way I could eat that much protein and that many veggies. I realized I eat WAY TOO MANY carbs and healthy fats (cheese). I thought I would never be able to sustain this lifestyle.
But my friend/coach calmed me down and I began to work at it. I made a plan for each day. I looked at what foods were to go in each container and made a list of what I liked from each of the provided lists. I looked at my current menu and recipes and figured out which containers went with each meal. I made a plan…a meal plan.
At first, I thought I would never get enough food. I thought I’d always be hungry. BUT to my surprise, I had a hard time eating all of my containers the first week!
I found recipes online (Pinterest is great) and started experimenting. I won’t lie…the first week, I had a lot of steamed/baked veggies and grilled chicken. But I learned to add variety to my diet. I also learned how to time/schedule my meals and snacks throughout the day.
For the first month, I actually put the food into the containers to make sure I was measuring correctly. I would then dump it onto my plate so I could see what it really looked like. After that first month, I didn’t need to measure anymore. I could just eyeball it. (Now, if/when I start to get out of control, I pull my containers back out and measure for a while.)
I tried the chocolate vegan Shakeology and hated it at first. But then I played around with it, found yummy recipes for it, and now I LOVE IT! I can’t imagine a day without it and haven’t gone a day without it. I’ve tried different flavors of Shakeology and am excited about the new ones they are constantly introducing, like the recently released vanilla vegan!!
I thought my family would rebel with this new lifestyle, and at first my son struggled. He had turned 5 and wanted the food I used to cook. He didn’t like it when I tried a “new recipe”. However, he now BEGS for certain “new” recipes and has learned to accept others.
My husband tried Shakeology and loved it too. He had tried Slim Fast and other protein shakes in the past, but he quickly decided that Shakeology was MUCH BETTER. It was tastier, gave him more energy, and made him fuller for longer. But I’m selfish and wouldn’t share my Shakeology with him, so he ordered his own. He started drinking Shakeology every day in September 2016 and hasn’t stopped since.
Hubby has lost 25+ pounds and counting! He didn’t change the way he exercised (meaning he doesn’t exercise much). He simply cut portion sizes, watches portion control in all areas, and drinks Shakeology every day. He doesn’t stick to a meal plan like I do. He has quite a few “cheats,” but he feels better, looks better, and is healthier than ever before.
As for me…when I switched to the Beachbody Portion Control method, I lost 8 pounds in 3 weeks. I felt like that was too much. I had to start eating MORE containers just to maintain my weight. I had been exercising every day before I started Beachbody (generally I would do 30-45 minutes on the elliptical machine every day and alternate planks and push-ups every other day.) But once I started doing the workout programs that Beachbody produces, I lost INCHES! I lost 10 pounds and 12 inches in the first 30 days of doing Beachbody (with the Country Heat Challenge Pack).
Once I saw those numbers and noticed the huge improvement in my health, I became firm believer.
Here’s some PRACTICAL TIPS for portion control (without using the color-coded system):
- Plan ahead (see this post for how I do it)
- Drink more water. You should drink half of your body weight in ounces each day. (200 pounds = 100 ounces of water PER DAY)
- Make a recipe. Eat half and freeze half.
- Pay attention to the number of servings and the serving size of recipes and FOLLOW THEM (as in…get out the measuring cups to measure out the proper amounts).
- When serving your dinner, don’t wait to store leftovers until after you finish eating. Put them in the correct portion sizes in containers in the fridge or freezer immediately so you’re not tempted to go back for seconds.
- Snacks – divide bags of snack into smaller containers. For example, I take the bag of animal crackers that we buy each month and split it into 4 containers. We get one container per week. Once we eat the container, we don’t open another one until the next week.
- Snacks – Buy less and only buy them once a month. Once the container is empty, you don’t get more of that snack until the next month (not the next time you go to the store).
These are all practical tips that I have developed and that my family follows. I wouldn’t suggest anything that I didn’t KNOW works. By following these tips, we have been healthier AND SAVED MONEY!
Remember, portion control is not just a physical necessity. It’s a spiritual one as well. As we learn self-control and self-discipline, we are honoring God with our bodies AND with our hearts.
**Portion control is not just about food. It can also be about screen time, wine, sex, shopping, etc. These are some practical suggestions for FOOD because that’s what I struggle with the most.**