Posts Tagged ‘Portion Size’

A beer, a large pretzel, two white sausages, and sweet mustard on a picnic table

“Weisswurst lunch at Viktualienmarkt” by Thomas Kriese, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Last year, my now-fiance and I took a vacation touring various parts of Germany.  The entire trip, I showed little restraint on food, as I absolutely LOVE German food. So, I happily ate sausages, pretzels and beer.

And to my shock, I not only didn’t have any issues with my blood sugar and hypoglycemia, but I also lost weight!

Ever since then, I’ve been curious as to why that is, and during a recent call with my dietitian, I asked. Here was the highlights of her response:

  • While I wasn’t working out like I usually do, and the walking all day probably didn’t burn extra calories, walking all day is a slow carb burn vs. a big, fast carb burn with an intense workout. She advises her clients, if they do gorge on carbohydrates, to go for a 10-15 minute walk after to start the burn process. So, while I was walking, I was slowly burning the carbs off vs. the high/low calorie/carb burn of my usual day.
  • The fat and protein in the sausages probably kept me full, allowing me to eat less often and eat less calories.
  • There’s a difference between American and European wheat, which could impact how it impacts my hypoglycemia. I’ve actually noticed this myself, when I drink American beer, I end up feeling ridiculously hungry and not well. If I drink German beer, however, I don’t feel this way. I think it has a lot to do with the additives and such we put in our beer.
  • Portion sizes are smaller over there.  Maybe so, maybe not, I’ve eaten some pretty giant pretzels and drank some giant beers, but overall, probably so.

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Me: Look, I love you, but I made exactly the amount of cheese and crackers I want to eat right now. Wife: But I only ... Me: EXACTLY the amount

I can relate to this tweet so much, except it’s not my fiance usually saying it, it’s me. Before I put food on my plate, I portion-out exactly what my diet allows; meaning what will keep me healthy and keep my blood sugar even.

Also, my brother used to take food off my plate, so I have a strong reflective action to anyone who takes food off my plate.

So take at your own risk, or better yet, ask before you take. I’m a sharing person, I really am, but you may just hear from me that what’s on my plate is EXACTLY the amount of food I wanted.




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Two salads and two sides of tofu, ready to be reheated/have some oil added for easy food preparation. The masking tape has the reheating and final prep instructions right on them.

Here’s my low-carb, good fat, protein snack collection for easy snacking while I recover from surgery. This is a collection of Kind STRONG bars, ThinkThin bars, Zing bars, and dried-salted chick peas.

6 servings (1 cup each) of Kraft 30-minute chili mac, in individual containers for easy re-heating (note: I don’t reheat in plastic, so those are thawed and heated in bowls).

I recently had PRK eye surgery, which meant that I was going to not feel great and not really be able to see (due to light sensitivity) for a few days.  This posed a challenge for me as a hypoglycemic, since I still needed to maintain my diet. And, since I wouldn’t be able to work-out for a whole week, I needed to really make sure I ate healthy to maintain my weight.

My boyfriend (now fiance!, who was amazing during this, thank you so much!) was in charge of taking care of me during my healing process, including my meals. I wanted to make it as easy as possible on him because I definitely know how frustrating it can be do figure out all of the correct portions, measurements, etc.

So, the night before the surgery, I prepared some of easy-to-finish/easy to reheat meals that he could give me when I was hungry. This included (see photos above):

The salads and chili mac had final preparation instructions on masking-tape for him.

This worked really well, so I will definitely do it again if I’m having surgery again.


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Dear Beanitos:

Let me start by saying, I love your chips (except the baked version, those are terrible). I love being able to have something salty/crunchy that’s healthier than tortilla chips. They have become my easy snack that I take to parties and I love them as a treat with an individual portion of guacamole or with 1 melted low-fat cheese slice on top of them.

You’ll also be happy to know that my dietician recommends them as well (although, she recommends the baked kind).

But the whole 1 oz is a serving thing made it really hard to tell how much 1 oz actually is in a meaningful way. So, I hauled-out my ProChef kitchen scale and figured it out for you.

It’s about 8-9 chips. Would you consider adding that to your label? It’d be way more helpful than ounces. 




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For a while now, I’ve been working on a quiz, based on all of the information I read about health, to help people (including me) figure out why they aren’t losing weight. Take the quiz, see your results, and let me know what you think!


1. I exercise (elevated heart rate for 30 minutes)…

1) Never-2 days per week

2) 3-4 days per week

3) 5+ days per week

2. If I opened my refrigerator and freezer RIGHT NOW and assessed the entire contents (including drinks)…

a1) The majority of its contents would be considered processed foods (drinks other than juice, milk, and plain water; condiments, ready-to-eat meals, etc.)

a2) There’s hardly anything in my fridge and freezer.

b)  About half of the contents are processed foods

c) A large percentage of the foods are not processed

3. Right now I am trying to lose weight and I am…

a) Not keeping a food log

b) Keeping a loose running total of what I am eating and the caloric, fat, etc. content

c) Keeping a meticulous food log of everything that goes in my mouth

4. If I’m watching TV and decide I want something to snack on (such as pretzels)…

a) I take the entire bag on the couch with me and don’t know how many I ate.

b) I grab what I want and take that to the couch with me.

b2) I portion out only what I’m supposed to eat, but go back for more

c) I portion out what I’m supposed to eat and only have that much.

5. I strength train for at least 30 minutes (lifting weights or extensive body weight exercises such as Pilates)…

1) Never

2) 1-2 days per week

3) 3+ days per week

 6. My exercise routine….

1) Is always the same or mostly the same

2) I have a couple of things I rotate between

3) I am constantly changing-up my exercise routine

7. I had a really great day at the office!….

a) I deserve (insert your favorite junk food here)

b) A nice meal or my fave snack would be great, but I think I’ll just celebrate by calling a friend

c) Food is not part of my consideration for rewarding myself

8. I drink alcohol…

a) All the time!

b) A lot or quite frequently.

c) Sometimes, but only a few.

9. When selecting a new workout to do…

1) I always modify it by making it easier (less reps, more rest, etc.) and keep it that way

2) I can always do the entire thing right away

3) I can’t do the entire thing right away, but work up to it within a few weeks

10. I eat…

a)  1-2 times per day

b) 3-5 times per day

c) every couple of hours (about 6-7 times per day)

11. I use measuring cups to measure the portions of my food…

a) Never

b) I’ve read what portion sizes look like and eyeball them

c) Multiple times per day


Although other factors matter, diet and exercise are the most effective ways to help with your weight loss. So…

Any question that has a, b, or c as an answer is dietary-related. Any a’s that you circled are MAJOR culprits that are preventing you from losing weight. Any b’s that you circled are also an issue. They may not be the main culprit in why you aren’t able to lose weight, but they aren’t helping for sure. And, a few b’s can add up to a major issue. C answers are what you are looking for. Anything other than a c is something you need to work on to help you lose weight.


Any question that has a, b, or c as an answer is exercise-related. Any 1’s that you circled are MAJOR culprits that are preventing you from losing weight. Any 2’s that you circled are also an issue. They may not be the main culprit in why you aren’t able to lose weight, but they aren’t helping for sure. And, a few 2’s can add up to a major issue. 3 answers are what you are looking for. Anything other than a 3 is something you need to work on to help you lose weight.

Why are each of these a factor in losing weight?

  • Frequency of exercise: Regular exercise is a key factor in weight loss and maintaining your weight once you’ve lost all you want to lose.
  • Consumption of processed foods. Processed foods are a MAJOR problem. Even if you are ok calorically, processed foods include a lot of added ingredients that can hinder your weight loss goals. For example, most processed foods are very high in sodium, which will make you retain water and make it very difficult to lose weight.
  • Mindless snacking. Not portioning your food and not being aware of how much you are eating can cause you to consume a lot more calories than you realize.
  • Keeping a food log. A food log can help you become aware of exactly what you are putting in your body every day. For example, you might not think about the coffee creamer and sugar as a significant caloric bomb, but that’s 100 or more calories per day! Also, you might not realize that the “little sweet” you had is actually 400 calories and 15 grams of fat until you have to look it up and write it down.
  • Strength training. Most people just walk or do some other form of cardio and that’s great, but there are SO MANY reasons to strength train. For the purposes of this quiz, strength training helps you burn calories ALL THE TIME. Even while you are sleeping, you will burn more calories because of the muscle, which will help you lose weight and/or maintain your current weight. And, ladies, don’t worry about getting big. I actually WENT DOWN two sizes when I started taking my weight training seriously.
  • Changing up your exercise routine. The more you do the same exercise, the more your body gets used to it and the less effective it is. And, you are working the same muscles each time. Think about if you do something, such as play a physical game, that you normally don’t do. You exhaust easily and you are really sore the next day. THAT’S  A GOOD THING!
  • Alcohol. Alcohol is ok, but keep in mind that alcohol is empty calories. Three glasses of wine=300+ calories added to your day!
  • Food rewards. Food should never be a reward for doing something. If it is, you are associating extreme pleasure with food. Yes, I love a good meal from time to time, but if you are using food as a reward, you won’t lose weight.
  • Exercise challenge.  Choosing workouts that challenge you and that you have to improve to do is the way to go to lose weight. See “changing up your exercise routine” to see why.
  • Eating frequency.  Small meals throughout the day will keep your body from thinking it is starving (and thus, store fat) and keep you from binging.
  • Portion size. Portion sizes, especially in the U.S. are too large. Most people don’t consider how much they really need or eyeball way too much. The easiest way to fix this is to measure the food prior to putting it on your plate.

Other valuable posts:

Outline of a Hypoglycemic Diet

Travel tips for hypoglycemics and healthy eaters

How I lost the weight (and keep it off)!

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