Portion Control

I tell ya!  People are so interested in health matters!  Everytime I blog regarding my weight struggles (and now my sons) I get scads of hits to the blog.

“It’s everyone’s plight,” Caren said.  “Even my trainer and my super skinny friends are all consumed with exercise and diet.”

I have received lots of advice and tips and I want them all!  What I found while seeing a nutritionist regarding my own health, is that we all already know how to lose weight.  We know not to eat sugar and about sugar and carb addictions.  We know to eat balanced.  We know it’s about portion control and exercise.  There is no “trick” to it as I so hoped my nutritionist would reveal to me.

Last summer when in New York I visited Olivia (old friend and Biggest Loser Winner).  She shared with me the inside scoop of her time on the Biggest Loser ranch.

“I couldn’t wait to get there and I was so excited to hear about what Bob and Jillian would have to say!  I just knew there was some big secret for how to lose weight,” she confided.

I leaned in close ready for her to pass it on to me…

“There is none.  You have to eat less junk, eat healthy and work out.”


This morning I reminded Buddy and Bug to refer to their food wallets while making their breakfast.  Bug became so angry and frustrated. 

“This is so STUPID!  I HATE this!  I am NOT going to be doing this STUPID thing!” 

Stupid and Hate are words that are not allowed in our home but I let him rage.  I want to react the same way when faced with a new diet.  Bug’s tirade continued until he said, “This is soooo HUMILIATING!”

I got on my knees to be eye level with Bug.

“The intention is not to humiliate anyone.  Why do you feel that way?”

“Because people are going to come over here and see this and say, ‘oh, what? Do you need to diet because you are fat?'”

“First of all this is not a diet program but an awareness program.  This is to help us be aware of what we should eat and what we aren’t.  It’s to help us be healthy; not lose weight.  Buddy is doing it too and  he certainly should not lose weight but he definitely needs to get healthy.  Would it help you if I put it all in the pantry instead?”

“Oh yeah.  Sure!  I’d like to see you move the whole chalk board wall into the pantry!” 

He is hilarious!

“Bug, I just meant the pockets.  We could move it all onto the walls of the pantry and I could put something else on the chalk board wall.”

“I rather like it,” piped in Buddy.

Bug poured himself a bowl of Grape Nuts and then drowned it in honey.

“Bug!  You remember what we talked about yesterday?  You have to read the label, especially with sugar stuff like honey.  You did not use the suggested serving size.”

“This is LAME!”

“I know it’s hard.  Believe me.  Mommy is always having to leave yummy things out of her diet too.  Like I would love to have a bowl of cereal with you but I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“Because a lot of foods with carbs have sugar, like bread or cereal.  I still eat the carbs that are found in fruits and vegetables but I want to stay clear of other sugars.”

“What’s a carb?”

“A carbohydrate.  It’s in a lot grains.  They are good for kids because it gives you lots of energy so long as you are eating healthy whole grain carbs like you are now.  Grape Nuts are a good grain, oatmeal, the whole wheat pasta you ate last night…that’s good too.  The white colored ones are not so good like white bread, pancakes and donuts.”

Bug seemed less agitated realizing that he was not the only one being restricted.  In trying to be careful to not let my children see my body image struggle, I guess I have hidden the struggle to be healthy too.  I reminded him that last night they all had yummy spaghetti but Mommy had caprese instead to avoid the carbohydrates in the pasta.  I also explained that I will eat some grain products that are whole grain but I try to decide which ones are really worth the splurge.  To me the spaghetti just wasn’t worth it.

After Bug finished his morning chores and got dressed I reminded him to make his lunch.  We were out of bread and so I suggested he make a wrap.  I showed him how he could put the same things as he would on a sandwich on a tortilla.

“Look on the bag and tell me how many tortillas equal one serving,” I instructed.

I showed Bug the label and showed him how on each nutrition fact label they gave a serving size.  We also looked at the sugar content in the tortilla.  He wanted to put Honey Mustard on his wrap.  This is not a condiment I normally keep in my house and had been left by a guest (you know who you are). 

“Let’s look at the label Bug.”

“It only has 1 sugar!” Bug said happily.

“It does and that’s not bad but check the serving size.  It only has 1 sugar in 1 tsp of the Honey Mustard.  If you use more than one teaspoon you will eat more than one gram of sugar.”

We got out a measuring spoon and put the Honey Mustard in it.  Bug was alarmed at how small the amount was but he soon got over it once we spread it out over the tortilla.  Next Bug added lettuce.  Lot’s of lettuce!  (See, he does like healthy foods!) Then he checked the serving size for turkey and cheese and added the appropriate amounts.

“Mom, I like this new plan!  We are going to get healthy this summer!”

This afternoon I had Caren come over to help me go through my pantry to throw away the “naughty” foods.  She had offered to do this before but I told her we really don’t keep a lot of naughty foods around because then I would eat them.  Sure enough we threw away a lot of expired foods and a few unnecessary’s like a box of fruit chewies and fruit roll ups.  The fruit roll ups were actually purchased this Christmas for my Ginger Bread House’s curtains.  The chewies were bought so long ago I don’t remember.  I feel that shows how little of that is actually being eaten despite being available.  There was Valentine’s candy tossed and Easter candy.  It was hard for me to let go of the Easter candy because they had not even been open.

“I have a hard time with it too, ” Caren said, “but you won’t enjoy it.  You would much more enjoy a gourmet chocolate than that chocolate bunny.”

“It’s not the chocolate.  It’s that they haven’t been opened!”

“Toss them.”

Again, I felt pride in the fact that my kids had access to those things but still did not eat them.  I think portion size is the culprit.  Bug eats man-sized portions of everything, good and bad.  I’ve seen him have a giant bowl of salad as well as take on two hamburgers (that an all too willing family member supplied.)  During my research for our health plan I found this from nickjr.com:


I printed it out today and colored it to make it look fun.  I found a place in the kitchen to post it for the boys to refer to.

I also hope to take the boys shopping with me (which I hate to do) so that they can help me make choices and read labels.  Since cooking is Bugs bag I want him to start help with planning meals and to find healthy options for his favorite foods.  My sister suggested we make our own cook book.

“Maybe you could publish it and become a millionaire,” she encouraged.  “I’m tired of working.”

Maybe we could…

The other hurdle will be Man.  Man is on Team He Will Grow Into It.  He buys the kids sugary cereals, that I never would, like Lucky Charms or something nasty thing like that.  If donuts come into the house Man bought ’em.  Ice cream?  Man.  He does not understand weight struggles because he doesn’t have them.  He also has an amazing will power so he doesn’t have to eat something just because it’s there.  If there are donuts in the kitchen I will want one everytime I walk by it.  Every pass through my kitchen then becomes a battle.  Man just doesn’t have that issue.  When I showed him the plan he laughed.

“That’s not gonna work,” he said.  “You are setting yourself up.”

Bug and I are so much alike.  We don’t do well with change or restrictions.  We don’t like to be told what to do either.  And if you tell us “it’s not gonna work” we love nothing more than to proove you wrong.


About buddyandbug

Man and I moved from Texas to Colorado with Buddy and Bug. This blog is a chronicle of our adventures as we deal with homesickness and adjust to Mountain Living. “If you are a dreamer,come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean-buyer. If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire, for we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!” ~ Shel Silverstein
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4 Responses to Portion Control

  1. sharib22 says:

    You are an inspiration!!! I love the portion chart. I’d love to see one for toddlers…..It looks like a lot of food, but I bet if you do that, you will burn the energy and feel great! You have inspired me once again!!

    • buddyandbug says:

      It is a lot! I portioned their dinner on their plate per the chart and it was loaded up. Hm… They do eat on little plates though and there were no seconds allowed. At the end of the day I find that they are not drinking enough water and not eating enough veggies or grains.

      • sharib22 says:

        Wow! Yah I was told once that when I feel hungry, I should drink a whole glass of water first. A lot of times our body is dehydrated instead of hungry! I can’t get enough food down Zoe for her to be in the “zone”. I have to give her a multivitamin to help her achieve the goal!

  2. Claire Mello says:

    You are definitely an inspiration with this. Often I think we forget about getting our kids healthy because we are so focused on ourselves. Thanks for all the suggestions and tips, and I love the Nick Jr. chart! I’m going to print it out too 🙂

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