I’ll have to admit, I had a big advantage when starting to incorporate Cooking Light’s portion control advice into my life. My husband, Mark, went out of town for work for two weeks. I got to experiment without having to worry about anyone else’s eating habits influencing me.

I already use salad-sized plates for meals, but I never considered applying this concept to glasses. It is apple cider season in Michigan, and there is nothing like fresh-pressed cider from our local cider mill. Our regular drinking glasses probably fit four or five “portions,” and it is so sad to just pour a little bit at the bottom. I pulled out some pretty little juice glasses, and they are now dedicated to cider. Not only are the portions controlled, these glasses are special because my mother gave them to me from when my sisters and I were kids, so I am happy to have a reason to use them more often. Now I just need to find a fun (small) ice cream dish. 

I’ve discovered the “slice meats” tip doesn’t just apply to meat. I tried it with a homemade individual pizza, cutting it into a lot of bite-sized pieces instead of just a few slices and spreading them out on a plate. It takes longer to eat so I enjoy it more.

My favorite tip has turned out to be “eat before you eat.” To make this happen, I make sure to always have lettuce and raw veggies chopped and ready to go. Otherwise it would be easy to come home at night, decide I am too tired to do the prep and skip the salad. It works!

Once Mark was back, I was in the habit of having a salad before the main course. Now I can eat salad while he has one portion then have my portion while he has a second. Since he has a physically active job, two portions are appropriate for him, but not for me. I find I am not “jealous” that he gets to eat more because we are eating for the same amount of time. Therefore, I feel satisfied with the appropriate portion.

Between those salads and the “freebie foods” tip, I am eating more fruits and vegetables than ever. Mark and I enjoy tandem bicycling and just competed in a 30-mile mountain bike race. I felt stronger and faster during the race, plus recovered better, than I had all summer. I think those veggies had a lot to do with it. Talk about inspiration to continue!

Looking back over the past few weeks, it is obvious that portion control, at least for me, is more of a mental challenge than anything else. I found I enjoyed being “in control” of my portions so much that it inspired me to find an app for my phone to track what I was eating. I figured if I was eating the correct portions, I might as well go the next step to be in control of my whole day. So far, so good!