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Just one, please!

Last week I stepped outside at lunch and stopped at my all-time favorite food truck. I hadn't been there in months. The guy who owns it is a genius, he comes up with the most fun lunch meals, and people wait in line to try his newest creations. A great meal for $5.50, you can't beat that. The guy smiled at me when he took my order, "Just for you today?" he asked, and I am sure I blushed when I verified that indeed, I only wanted one meal.

The truth is, it had always been just for me, but somehow the portions seemed so small that I had always ordered two lunches in the past, and I didn't find anything wrong with it.

I was trained to eat like a bear, and I started to look like one as well. How can people eat only one donut, if you can buy half a dozen?  Of course, I want the large fries! The medium size is no fun and the small size just not an option.

During the last 11 months here at MFP, I realized that my portion sizes were out of whack and, so was I, because of it. I bought a food scale and I started using it. The sight of a 3 oz steak almost made me cry -such a small portion.

I ate it and to my surprise, I was comfortably full and it bothered me. How could that be?

What is the right amount of food for me to eat, I wondered? I know my stomach can't be trusted (yet) and my brain always seems to think everything is too small. I read up on it and I was shocked. 10 fries are considered a healthy portion. Ten lousy fries, imagine that? They look so lonely on a plate but then perhaps my plates are too big, to begin with.

If 10 fries are considered a healthy portion, why does my bag of fries in the freezer suggest 22 fries as serving size? What kind of tricky business is that?

I continued to research it further, and what I found out floored me.  The serving sizes listed on the Nutrition Facts Label are not recommended serving sizes. By law, serving sizes must be based on how much food people actually consume, and not on what they should eat.

Imagine that! Our serving sizes had to be adjusted over the years because we eat too much. 

(The goal: To bring serving sizes closer to what people actually eat so that when they look at calories and nutrients on the label, these numbers more closely match what they are consuming. (Source: FDA Consumer Health Information) 

Bummer! Does that mean there are two serving sizes out there? The ones on the food labels that cannot be trusted and the real serving size that is suggested by doctors and nutritionists. I didn't like it but it made so much sense.

I think we have no real concept of how we’re overeating even in our daily “healthy” diet. When we eat a whole bag of chips or stop for a triple ice cream cone on the way home, that's what we think of as out of control. In reality, it’s our whole lifestyle that is out of control.

I am a fat lady on a mission. My mission is to find a healthy lifestyle that I will be able to enjoy for the rest of my life. Turns out I don't need as much food as I thought I would.

Just fine and it works for me. I am on my way to find my "normal" because what brought me here wasn't normal.

74 pounds lost - Only 64 pounds to go!

I gained a pound last week. Maintaining is a totally different ball game.


“More often than not, expecting to lose weight without first losing the diet that made the weight loss necessary is like expecting a pig to be spotless after hosing it down while it was still rolling in mud.”

― Mokokoma Mokhonoana

103 votes + -


MelkaBielka wrote 10 months ago:
great read as usual, and a real eye opener about the serving sizes listed on packaging! From now on, I will be relying more on my food scale after learning this info. I will say this about your gain, two steps forward and one step back still means you are one step ahead. Don't get discouraged, and keep on putting your learning and good habits to use, you will get there!
HildieMe wrote 10 months ago:
Amazing that you got so far so fast. Even without the holidays I suspect your body needs to adjust to the new weight for a while - meaning a few weeks, with up/down a few pounds.

If you keep eating with your fabulous portion control you'll be back to losing weight, not just as fast as you are used to now. Even maintaining a 70+ weight loss is a major victory.

Love your pig analogy! LOL and best of luck.
SiegfriedXXL wrote 10 months ago:
This is so true. Granted I'm a fan of one shot meals like burritos, wraps, and sandwiches, but when I cook at home, I use my smaller plates because I measure meticulously and the portions are much smaller. When I was growing up we had gigantic dinner plates and they were filled to the edges with my mother's delicious cooking. No longer...unless it's a holiday. ;)

You're doing so well and I'm so very excited for you as you tackle maintenance over the holidays. We can do this. I'm currently eyeing the onslaught of holiday parties and trying to tell myself to be forgiving and keep the larger, no pun intended, goal in mind.

CajunTess wrote 10 months ago:
Another awesome and inspiring post. Seeing you progress not only physically, but emotionally and mentally is truly inspiring!
CrackedBelle wrote 10 months ago:
You are so right about the shock of comparing a healthy portion to what I had become used to eating. Since I started MFP (this time) my scale has never left the kitchen counter. You are a long way ahead of me in the process of learning to eat to support health (congratulations to you!), but I'll get there too.
musicsax wrote 10 months ago:
It certainly is a shock to the system when we realise how much our body actually needs compared to how much we want. I've found it very important to eat mindfully and enjoy each mouthful rather than "shovel it in" and then not feeling "satisfied" after eating that weighed out portion. Sucking chocolate is so differant to gulping it down - we are all guilty of this.
You are doing brilliantly and have come so far both in your physical weight loss and what you have gained in your knowledge and realisation of yourself.
Loving your regular blogs, thank you for sharing x.
TheLaser wrote 9 months ago:
Thank you for teaching me something new about serving sizes! I had a major revelation earlier this year that they are actually designed for --of course-- a 6ft tall MAN who weighs about 170 lbs (and I may not be remembering the exact weight number correctly here)! And now I have learned from your post that not only are they calculated for a medium-active MAN's recommended intake, they are adjusted for men who are eating more than they have in the past. Add that to all of the artificial crap and sugars in our food... There are just sooooo many things wrong with our food culture that it's no surprise how many people suffer from obesity.
skinnylady2014 wrote 9 months ago:
Very interesting!!! Thanks for your honesty and for sharing.
Zyvi wrote 9 months ago:
YES!!! Haha, oh my goodness you're spot on. Eating such big servings is how I was raised. I used to fill my plate up with all the food available and eat everything on it because there are starving kids in Africa. At my heaviest, I finally looked for help. I was in college at the time and with exams happening every other week, researching the healthy way to eat was just not an option (priorities, yikes!). So I did the next best thing--I enrolled in Nutrisystem. I had the same shocking experience with that program--"This is what a serving of rice is? WTF!!!" hehe. I only stayed with that program for a couple months but it made all the difference... it also made it a lot easier to start MFP, once I had the time to invest in me.

I love your blogs and can't wait for the next one :-)
smallsteps2success wrote 9 months ago:
Always love your blogs and this was the best one yet! So true about everything you wrote. =)
yolalove wrote 9 months ago:
wow excellent reading to start my day. I have half of my weight lost so hard to lost 1 pound I need to work very hard but I will do it. At 80 years old and in good health my alimentation is important. Thank you very much it s my first time I open the blog and It s was your story again thank you
ggeise14 wrote 9 months ago:
I definitely learned something, thank you! We definitely need to do our own research and not just blindly trust. Let's get through this holiday season maintaining! Last year I did OK until a couple of days before the 25th and then went a bit off the rails. Being aware is a piece & making a plan to not repeat my mistake this year is one of my goals.
LisaPrust wrote 9 months ago:
Thanks so much for this! I love walking with you as you grow, lose and learn. I really appreciate all that you share with your MFPals. Thanks! Keep going my sistah!
PAnn1 wrote 9 months ago:
No Kidding?!!!! What an eye opener as has been mentioned above. You've learned so much, and have helped a lot of us along the way. Thanks so much for your inspirational/motivational blogs. You are doing GREAT my S.P.!!!
SnowDog16 wrote 9 months ago:
Love your blog. Yes and wow, about what size we should eat. I should know as I took courses but when it is in front of me I just keep eating. I now use the smaller bowls and plates also weighing it all tracking it all. This week I also gained a pound as there were 3 main events, non this week so I hope to be down by that pound next week. I liked your idea of maintenance for the holidays.
pizzafruit wrote 9 months ago:
Portion control and boredom are my 2 biggest challenges. I have a scale and it's like new. My goal is to use it till it falls apart and then I'll buy another. Thanks for another excellent post!
deadenddiva wrote 9 months ago:
I hope the food truck meal was as tasty as you remembered. I got rid of all the big plates in the house, and actually, I mostly use small paper plates, nothing much to wash, and so I am lingering less in the kitchen. Lucky for me, the kitchen is downstairs, I live in a cold climate, and don't keep that part of the house very warm, so as the night falls the effort to go down and snack is not as inviting. Wow, you have lost more than half of your goal! I read all your posts, make me laugh, teach me patience, and put our efforts in perspective. Thank you!
janelleu1 wrote 9 months ago:
Love the quote! That's great!
Have you been reading my mind this week? Lol. I'm in the same boat as you when it comes to portions. This is my first Christmas with MFP. The amount I used to eat astonished me, right along with what is considered to be a 'normal helping.
Itstherighttime wrote 9 months ago:
I love and appreciate your honesty...the world needs more people like you!
MaryQueenofWalking wrote 9 months ago:
I enjoy reading your blog. I didn't realize the portion "sizes" reflect what people may eat. I started weighing on a food scale years ago. A teaspoon of sugar is *not* as large as a tea spoon!
Thank you for your blog.
SassyCookieMe wrote 9 months ago:
Reading your blog and thinking you are so right, I purchased a new food scale and began to use. Shock is the right word for it, because I too was totally shocked at just what 3 oz does indeed look like. The food labels are also confusing just as you said. Its like a switch and bait going on, especially if you see the heart healthy on the front of the package. The food industry is full of tricks to sell their products often under the guise of healthy choices. I also find your success towards meeting your weight goal is inspiring and I want to thank you for your blog.
Matthew_Armour001 wrote 9 months ago:
I just started using this site actively just a few days ago and I have to say from reading your post, you are doing phenomenal. Keep up the good work!
stu4527 wrote 9 months ago:
Wow I think you have nailed the problem. I got a good food scale and weigh everything just to be sure I know what the right portion looks like. I hope I can start loosing weight like you have.

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