How to Eat Less: Becoming Portion Aware

The eleventh Healthy Habits challenge: Be portion aware. Find simple strategies that can help you eat a little less—without even thinking.

Healthy Habits Graduate: Whitney Rohrer

Whitney Rohrer, occupational therapist, Waltham, Mass., shares her tips for portion control.

Whitney Rohrer

Healthy Habits Grad: Whitney Rohrer

Photo: Brian Woodcock

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Whitney Rohrer had managed to eat healthfully while living solo. Then came Shawn, her boyfriend. "When we moved in together, it was a free-for-all with food." In six months, Shawn gained 10 pounds, and Whitney, 40. "I was mortified when my doctor told me I was classified as 'obese.' I knew something needed to change." That was almost three years ago, and with portion-focused changes, both Whitney and Shawn are eating less, feel healthier, and have dropped all the weight they had gained—and more. Here, Whitney shares her top three tips for loving what you eat while controlling how much you consume.

  • One meal, two mealtimes. "I realized very quickly that Cooking Light lists most of their meals in servings of four—we could each have one portion for dinner and one the next day for lunch. I put our servings on two plates in the kitchen, and the other two immediately go into containers for lunches. There are no seconds."
  • Teach yourself portion size. "I bought a scale and began weighing food so I could see what a portion looked like. I can now tell you there are 45 peanuts in an ounce. It helps me in restaurants, too, because I can relate those portions to what I know."
  • Schedule snacks. "I prepare the day's snacks every morning while I'm having my coffee. I eat things like carrots or celery with hummus. I've found that I'm better at eating because of my snacks. I never get crazy hungry."

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