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Eat Simply. Live Healthy.

wholesome words for living well

When I decided that I wanted to get fit and lose weight, I cranked up my exercise; however, I didn’t change my eating patterns. I would continue to eat large portions of pasta and small cows thinking that it would be negated by my increased fitness routine. As a result, I wasn’t losing weight and became really discouraged. I thought that my body just didn’t want to change and I’d forever be insecure. What changed my mentality was the saying: “abs are made in the kitchen”? Meaning, you can’t out exercise an unhealthy diet and your body is dependent on what you eat.

In general, I have a bad case portion distortion and awful willpower so this really challenged my drive to change my lifestyle. Portion size is hard to determine especially when eating out. Cheesecake Factory’s ginormous dishes are essentially meant for two (or more) people— especially depressing when I’d polish off a whole sandwich with room for dessert. It’s important to be knowledgeable about how much you’re eating especially in a world where bigger is better. Plus you can fill yourself (not stuff) on a smaller serving AND save massive calories.

Here are some examples of common food that often give us portion distortion:

Smoothies

Standard size: 22 ounces
Healthier size: 8 ounces

Calorie difference: 235

Smoothies are often served in sizes that are double the normal serving, a large can be up to 40 ounces! Skip the juice bar and make your own post workout drink. This way you know what’s going in and you can customize to your liking!

Pasta

Standard size: 3 cups, cooked
Healthier size: 1 cup, cooked

Calorie difference: 440

I love me some pasta, but beware of Italian restaurants that mindlessly heap the noodles onto naked plates. Look for the half-portion option or ask your waitress to box up half up it in a to go box! At home, whip out the measuring cups for an accurate reading on how much you’re plating.

Potato Chips

Standard size: 2 ounces
Healthier size: 1 ounce

Calorie difference: 154

Chips are evil in regards to eating “just a few”. They somehow get tastier the more you eat, weird. Easy tip: don’t eat of the box! I am guilty of this but it makes a huge difference. Count out your serving, place in a bowl and seal up the bag!

Steak

Standard size: 12 ounces, cooked
Healthier size: 3 ounces, cooked

Calorie difference: 572

For all you carnivores, it’s easy to get carried away on a tender piece of meat.  If eating out, look at the nutrition menu before and choose a cut that isn’t the whole cow. Or you can always share a dish, sharing is caring! Same goes for chicken, choose a 4 ounce breast over a 6 and save 100 calories!

Salad Dressing

Standard size: 4 tablespoons
Healthier size: 2 tablespoons

Calorie difference: 145

I know very few people (if any) who eat their salads naked, it’s normal to dress your salad with dressing. Key word: dress, don’t suffocate the lettuce with a salad sweater. I always ask my waiter for my dressing on the side so I can control how much actually goes in my salad (chefs can add hundreds of calories with dressing alone). A little oil and vinegar or lemon juice surprisingly goes a long way and adds a lot of flavor for few calories!

Bagels

Standard size: 4 1/2 inches
Healthier size: 2 1/2 inches

Calorie difference: 270

This can be a tough one to fix because, well, often a bagel is a bagel but there are healthier alternatives.  You can buy Thomas’ 100 to 110 calorie Bagel Thins at most grocery stores or bistros like Au Bon Pain are now serving Skinny Bagels. If available, opt for the English muffin.

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