Portion control- Have my cake and eat it too!

Eating cake sounds like a bit of a contradiction to pursuing a healthy lifestyle but in fact no food should be off limits. I’m fully aware that I have a ‘sweet tooth’ and I’ve often joked that I don’t just have a sweet tooth, I have a full set! Unhealthy habits of overindulging on sweet, sugary, high fat foods and drinks was one of the reasons that I became obese in the first place.  Having said that, I know my life would pretty boring if I were to completely cut out indulgent food.  Also realistically I wouldn’t be able to keep it going for very long either.  This is where portion control comes in.

The thing that appealed to me most about the Weight Watchers program is that they don’t tell you what to eat and no food/drink is off limits . That’s important to me because I don’t like to feel restricted, that’s too much like a diet and I don’t like diets!  I spent some time getting to know which foods are better to eat in large quantities and which foods are better in small quantities.

Throughout my weight loss / lifestyle change journey I’ve had to acquire the skill of portion control, mostly through trial and error.  Starting with the basics of weighing and measuring foods to be sure of the amount that I was consuming.  There is no doubt that this can be time consuming but I’m willing to invest my time in doing something for my own long term benefit.  I bought a set of kitchen scales, which live on the counter top and after a while this became a routine part of my food preparation.

I’ve also learnt that along with portion control, an equal measure of self control is needed to really make a difference.  I give myself permission to enjoy my favourite sweet foods in small quantities.  For me it’s better to have a couple mini biscuits most days than to try to restrict myself to one or two regular sized biscuits a couple times a week. A personal preference which works for me.

A cup of cafe au lait and mini biscuits
One of my faves – Cafe au lait & mini biscuits

It took a while for me to really get to grips with portion control.  From experience I no longer buy large slabs or share bags of chocolate.  All the good intentions in the world doesn’t stop me from munching my way through them.  My mind is satisfied when I have a full portion whatever size it may be, so mini packs it is for me.

Another way that I work indulgent foods into my week is to plan for them.  If I have a birthday or similar celebration coming up, I take extra care to plan sensible healthy meals, as well as keeping up my exercise in the days leading up to it.  This helps me to fully enjoy the celebration without feeling like I’ve let myself go.  To me, special occasions should feel special and different to my daily routine.  Every day may be someone in the world’s birthday but that doesn’t mean I’ll be eating to cake everyday.  Know yourself and stay in control.

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