Q: Do you have any helpful suggestions (fit-bitch style of course) for breaking up your calories throughout the day? I really struggle with portions.
A: Portions. My nemesis. Struggling with portions is the hardest thing I have to deal with (minus work idiots, my shrinking boobs, and my not shrinking gut). Lets face it, as much as I bitch about not always stuffing your face like a ravenous glutton, it’s hard to constantly maintain a healthy diet when you are surrounded by everything we see and do on a daily basis.
I found it took me a while to get my portions under control. I was WAY off on my meat and cheese portions so I bought a little digital scale ($20) and it was only then I realized that a half a plate of salmon is not 1 serving, nor are the standard size frozen chicken breasts I was buying. And one serving of cheese is mouse size! So I make sure to have 1 meat or protein serving and then fill up at least half but usually two thirds of my plate with veggies (salad, peppers, green beans, you know, the low cal ones). I can tell you what I do to break up my calories throughout the day (i.e.: trying not to eat as much)but it may not work for everyone, ever one is different when it comes to what works for them, so I have also included some other tricks and tips from friends of mine. Really you have to figure out what works for you. Some things work for me, but my friends either think I am nuts or have their own things they swear by. I get in constant debates about fats, artificial sweeteners, and food with sugar added to it daily.
Here we go! I asked 4 friends the following question: “How do you break up your calories throughout the day to maintain your portions”.
The number one response from all of them was “Eat balanced meals AND snacks”!
If you eat just carbs, you will crave protein and fats, if you eat just protein or fats you will crave carbs, if you eat empty calories, you will crave everything.
Carbs/protein/healthy fats/fibre. Generally your protein source will contain a little fat (eggs, low fat dairy) and your carbs will contain fibre (fruit, grains) if you just have one or the other, you will not be satisfied.
Side Bar: Also related to cravings are vitamins
If you find you are craving foods after you eat, you may be low in a certain vitamin or mineral. Make sure to take a good multi vitamin with your meal (I do it at lunch). This way your body is getting all the nutrients it needs (along with your balanced meal of fat, protein, and carbs) and it can focus on digesting your food instead of making you crave more as your body has all it needs.
My Personal Tricks:
Coffee. Coffee will suppress your appetite for a bit and if you only add milk to your coffee you are looking at about 40 calories. Also, when I am done drinking coffee my mouth has coffee breath, so I down even more water than I normally would. If you aren’t used to having coffee without sugar or sweetener (bad!) then try getting a non-fat cafe latte from Starbucks (grande size is 140 calories and it is just skim milk and espresso). I stick to one coffee a day, maybe two on the weekends, I find decaf and regular both work for me.
Duh, we all know we have to drink water. But drink some water as soon as you wake up (I keep a glass in the bathroom and drink water before I get in the shower). This is a tip I got from Tosca Reno and I now swear by it.
OK, this is a cliché trick, but you need to do it, especially for your portion controls!
Don’t eat directly from a package. If you are having a snack then you need to take a portion out of the big bag, close the big bag and put it away. It is easy to mow down two handfuls of almonds (instead of 10-15) a container of hummus (instead of ¼ a cup) or a bag of organic baked nachos and salsa (my personal fav).
A lot of times with healthy food, you forget that even though it is better for you, it does still contain calories and they will keep adding up! Yes, it totally blows to have to measure stuff out (god, what a PAIN) but being thin and fit is more important so we have to do it. We all hear this trick, but we never do it, but DO IT!
Dressing on the side
Always on the side! Dip your fork in the dressing and then into your salad, there is too many calories in dressing ESPECIALLY at restaurants, and they give you way too much. Always order your dressing on the side, use the fork dip technique and then at the end of your mail you will be shocked the amount of dressing (fat and calories) you save. Do it now.
I used to make my smoothies in a regular sized blender (always made way too much, but though “hey, smoothies are good for you, what ev!” ) but now I make them in the magic bullet and the single blender sized are perfect, plus, you literally can’t put too much stuff in them, so it is perfect every time. Thus helping my wack portion control. Berries, protein powder, skim milk, and ice cubes can make a filling shake for around 200 calories. Perfect for first thing in the morning when you don’t feel like eating yet but know you need breakfast.
I swear by oats, they are awesome for you, filling, and minimal in calories for the fullness factor you get! Read the old oats post for info: http://fitbitchblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/oats.html
No hour lunch!
Breaking up calories throughout the day is easier when you have shit that needs to get done! If you eat a little food, it will take your brain time to register (what’s the standard rule...20 minutes I think?). So instead of having 60 whole minutes of sitting in the lunch room, plan an errand or even just a walk to take up some of that extra time. You will have less time to eat, and you will be busy doing something else why your tummy is trying to send fullness signals to your brain. Plus, a 30 minute walk will help burn off even more calories and you will be a skinny mini before you know it.
Have more Soup!
No, not canned! Learn how to make some good soups! Soups are so easy to make, so low in fat and calories and they are filling. I will post some of my favourite soup recipes—well, really I throw things into a pot and hope for the best, it always works out. If you are really lazy, just throw everything into a slow cooker and it will be ready when you get home. If you are having problem with portion sizes, you can have a LARGE soup portion for minimal calories!
I also do the “use a smaller plate” trick, its lame, but it works, you can only fit so many portions on a small plate, so it does the work for you, especially if you are filling half of it with veggies or salad. This is another rule we always hear of but don’t do (who wants to be the only person at the table with a lunch plate while everyone else has a dinner plate?).
OK, this is a mean trick, but you asked what I do fit bitch style, so here it goes:
I walk around my office, look at the fat people eating donuts, and decided I don’t need to eat anymore.
Other personal tricks from my friends:
Coffee as well, or tea, especially herbal tea because she can drink and drink and drink it with no guilt. Iced coffee or tea (strong tea or coffee with ice and skim milk in a blender).
Protein Powder in your smoothies or oatmeal.
Brushing teeth, you don’t want to eat on a toothpaste filled mouth (at work, try mouthwash).
Eat lots (LOTS!) of veggies, snack on them when you need to keep your mouth occupied.
Don’t underestimate the power of milk, it has protein and nutrients, pair it with a fruit for a good balanced snack.
Cheese is fattening, always use low fat cheese and dairy. Low fat everything else has additives, but not dairy (obviously we are speaking of plain dairy here and not skim chocolate milk or flavoured yogurt). The softer the cheese, the higher the fat content (so use hard potent cheese (low fat old cheddar) and you will get the same amount of flavour for less cheese (regular mild cheddar).