June 19, 2015

Recalibrating My Restaurant Portions

Given that we’re already two-thirds of the way through the month, I suppose it’s about time that I give you an update on how I’m doing with my friend Erica’s June Hot Body Challenge, yes?

The first few days went pretty well. Looking at my diet as a “challenge” and a limited time in which I was supposed to make good decisions made it easier. (Even though I know all the psychology around it being bad to look at healthy eating as a “diet” instead of a “lifestyle.”) I even went to a work happy hour and made fairly reasonable choices – one drink and only a reasonable amount of the appetizers, which I then counted as dinner instead of looking at that as a true “appetizer” and eating a full meal when I got home.

But then the camping trip came, and I found myself pigging out on s’mores, chips/dip, and other camp food. (Plus a more than healthy amount of wine and beer.) I got back on track on Sunday when we got back to Adam‘s house, but that was enough for me to not see any progress on the scale when I got home.

So then the next week I ate healthy all week long, and then Adam came to visit on Friday. I was desperately craving a good beer, so we went to dinner with some of my friends at a brewery. Following every list of “how to eat healthy at a restaurant” tips, I looked at the menu in advance and figured out exactly what healthy entree I was going to order to go with my “just one beer.” But following every can’t-stick-to-a-diet person, I heard my friends each order pizzas, changed my mind and got a pizza as well, and proceeded to eat the whole thing even though it was probably much less personal-sized and much more meant to be shared. And then I had a flight of beers plus another pint of the one I deemed my favorite. Fail!

But a delicious fail at that šŸ™‚

It was on Saturday that I had a bit of a meltdown about my body, frustrated by the bad choices I was making and that I just didn’t feel good about myself. Adam was incredibly helpful in talking through it all with me – pointing out some choices that I had made which weren’t the best, and pointing out some times where I thought I was just keeping up with my friends but in fact was eating much more. (Plus, matching my diet to that of my friends really isn’t a good idea anyway – for example, I really can’t compare myself to my friend Cait, who is a willowy 5’11” and also runs about 20 miles a week.) While it hurt at first to see that I wasn’t being good like I thought, sometimes you need that dose of reality in order to make progress and move forward.

I enlisted Adam’s help to start making small changes the rest of the weekend. Rather than trusting my own poor judgment when it came to portions, I asked him to tell me what he thought about the size of a restaurant entree before I started eating it. That little bit of guidance alone has changed my mindset, since I hadn’t realized how off my judgement had become in terms of what’s reasonable. As much as I love cooking healthy foods, it’s really distorted my portion sizing! At home, I usually bulk out all my meals with tons of extra veggies – so if I’m eating pasta, the dish is actually half noodles and half zucchini and onions and mushrooms and broccoli or whatever. But getting used to eating big portions at home has made me feel unsatisfied when I go out to eat, and talking to Adam made me realize that unless I could stop eating out at restaurants altogether (nope), I need to adjust my portion expectations so that I don’t eat way too much every time I go out.

(Yes, this is all complete common sense, but sometimes you can know quite a bit in theory and still not be able to apply it to yourself in practice. Tough pill to swallow.)

The one thing that I have been pretty great about throughout this whole June challenge has been workouts. Theodora recently wrote a post about morning workouts, and that has really been the trick for me too – working out as soon as I get up every day, with no excuses. There have been a few days I’ve skipped it, sure, but for the most part, it’s become routine – and that makes it a lot easier to do if I don’t have to think about it. I’ve even done some kickboxing DVDs in the morning when I’ve stayed at Adam’s house, which makes me feel good about myself while also giving him a good laugh to start the day šŸ˜‰

Working out at my house while Adam shamelessly photographs me šŸ™‚

In all, I don’t think I’ve really lost any weight – though it’s hard to tell because my weight fluctuates up and down 2-3 pounds a day, and I’m only looking to lose 5-10 pounds total. However, I’m feeling lot better about myself. I’m feeling stronger than I have been since I went in for surgery in December, and I’ve seen some of that fitness pay off when I’m hiking. It’s nice to be able to pass a few people here and there rather than always being the one to be passed!

This ascent of Green Mountain that I did solo a few weeks ago only took me 2:45 to complete – less than the 3-4 hours estimated on most hiking sites! I’m not super speedy yet, but I’m making progress.

All in all, I’m not doing a perfect job with this challenge by any means, but I’m happy with the progress that I’ve made. I’m working out more regularly and also more regularly making better choices about what to eat. I think shifting my mindset toward reasonable portions will make a big difference in the long run, too – it would be nice to not have to overthink what I’m eating, which comes easily to me when I’m eating at home but is harder when I’m dining out.

So with that – cheers to the weekend! I’m looking forward to a fabulous time celebrating Father’s Day in Arizona with Adam and his son, and hoping that I can keep feeling good about my diet progress even with a few celebratory meals out šŸ˜‰


8 thoughts on “Recalibrating My Restaurant Portions”

  1. I am all about the small gradual changes you can make to sustain in the long run. That has always been what works for me and what I come back to if I feel I have loosened the reins too much. You’re doing great! You have to live life and it looks like you are working on having a great, happy, healthy balance.

  2. We’re so in the same boat here. I started this 21-day fat-loss thing (I even paid for it!), but I’m having a heck of a time sticking to it exactly. Its cardio workouts are only 20ish minutes, but I want to run more, so I do… and then I get hungrier than the meal plan allows for, so I eat more. And then we have friend and family things going on, so I can’t stick to the meal plan without being rude to other people. And like you, I only want to lose 5-10 pounds, and it seems like it just shouldn’t be this hard! You’re right about restaurant portion sizes — they’re so outrageous, but I want to eat them anyway!

    1. Love hearing that someone else is struggling with the same things! (Well, I don’t love that you’re struggling, but it makes me feel better that I’m not alone.) It’s very frustrating to know EXACTLY what I should do, but not have the willpower to stick to it…

  3. It is all about balance and healthy moderation. I always tell my challengers that it is about making better decisions, not perfect ones. Life would be SO boring if we only ate 100% “clean” and never allowed ourselves treats! I hope you were able to celebrate FD weekend and had some good treats with some healthy eats!

  4. It is interesting to read back on this post. In spite of not having a ‘challenge’ the last 2 months, you’ve done a really good job of balancing the food that you eat with lots of healthy exercise!

    AND, if I do say so myself, the results are quite noticeable!

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