Healthy Habits for Weight Loss: Dinner and Portions

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There are a lot of reasons to lose weight and there are a lot of ways to do it.  With our wedding approaching in November we decided to make this an overall healthy year.  So in January started to focus on what we were eating, how much we were eating and set out to change some habits and lose weight along the way.  I’ll be sharing some of our new healthy habits over a series of short posts.  Let’s start with dinner and portion sizes.

I grew up in a house where my mom cooked dinner every night.  We sat down as  family, talked about our days and shared a meal together.  She made everything from tacos, to shake and bake pork chops with mashed potatoes.  We always had a fresh vegetable and salad with our meals.  My mom also made pretty much everything from scratch which helped to keep our meals healthy.  Michael grew up in a similar house and together we bonded over cooking and sharing meals.  When we moved in together, cooking dinner and having a meal became a daily occurrence.  We have always tried to keep it healthy with lean protein and green veggies but we knew this wouldn’t be enough to help us shed a few pounds.

One of the first things we changed up this year was our dinners.  Michael has always struggled with GI issues, and complained that our dinners left him feeling full at night which made sleeping uncomfortable.  So we’ve started to shift to a lighter dinner.   We’ve also really focused on our portions.  For example, Wednesday night is always taco night for us.  We used to make guacamole with 2 avocados and would each eat three tacos with extra lean ground chicken.  I’d say most nights we ate 3/4 of a pound of turkey.  Now make guacamole with  1 avocado, each eat 2 tacos and have less than 1/2 a pound of meat between us.  Most other nights we have been having a salad or soup.  Salads are topped with salmon or chicken baked in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.  We’ll put some butternut squash, tomatoes, cucumber, and whatever else sounds good!  We’ve always tossed our salads with a yogurt based dressing and kept it very light so we continue to do that.   Even when we order takeout I serve out my portion and then package up the remaining serving so as not to over eat or tempt myself!

Salmon over Salad with Veggies!

Salmon over Salad with Veggies!

For me the switch was really hard to adjust to mentally.  I was afraid I’d be hungry or not get enough to eat, after all I was already at a healthy weight.  And to add to that, I’ve always been a big eater.  Growing up I always had seconds, and when I was skiing in college and burning about 2,000 calories in a single workout I had seconds.  To the astonishment of those around me I could always eat and eat and still be at a healthy weight with lean, toned muscles.  Recently though, I’ve noticed I want to eat less and I’m fuller faster.  It’s likely a product of my age and activity level but had me thinking about how much I was eating on a regular basis.  The first thing I noticed when it came to eating lighter, smaller meals was that I really didn’t miss the larger portions or second helpings.  Not one bit.  I also noticed that I was sleeping and feeling better with our lighter dinners.  Michael has also been feeling much better since we’ve started eating lighter and has had less GI issues as well.  I think the greatest change is that this habit is even translating when we go out to dinner.  We order less food, order healthier options and we don’t eat our whole serving.  It’s so unlike us but goes to show how mindful eating can make a difference…a difference you can see and feel!

Over the next few posts I’ll talk about breakfast, desserts, meal prep and more!  All of these changes are really making a difference for us.  And the positive results make us want to continue our healthy habits!

How do you monitor your portions at dinner?  Does mindful eating  help you keep your portions smaller?

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7 responses »

  1. Pingback: Healthy Habits for Weight Loss: Workouts |

  2. LOVE this! that is exactly what I did a few years ago when Jess and I did the 60 day challenge – portions were huge, seconds were the norm and I just didn’t really think twice about portions or if I was actually still hungry for seconds. It’s so eye-opening, even to this day! and I want to dive into that salmon salad combo! that looks deeeelish!!

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  3. Mindful eating absolutely helps me keep my portions at a normal size. If I am standing and eating, “mindlessly” watching TV or talking to my roommate, I will almost always overeat. I have since stopped doing that, and my body and mind are much happier. I am very aware of what I’m eating when I’m focused on actually eating, chewing, enjoying my delicious food :)

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