Wow, I’m eating wayyyy too much.

by Christine on July 21st, 2016

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition


Okay, I’ve been faithfully tracking my food intake (journaling) for the past week….and the results aren’t pretty. Boy, I should have started to do this a long time ago so I could have been aware that my eating is out of control.

Day 1: 1816 calories consumed, no exercise.

Day 2: 1471 calories consumed, no exercise

Day 3: 1652 calories consumed: ran a 5K at the gym (45 minutes)

Day 4: 2196 calories consumed: golfed for 6 hours at a golf outing

Day 5: 2615 calories consumed: hiking for 7 hours up two mountains

Day 6: 1390 calories consumed: No exercise


Wow, did you see that? Every single day I am eating well over my goal of 800-1000 calories per day, and two days I ate over 2,000 calories worth of food! Holy moses!!! No wonder I’m packing on the pounds!

If I look at the information further, I see some general trends:

  • I eat a lot more on days when I exercise. I’m hungry.
  • I’m doing ok eating every few hours, but my portion sizes are much too big. I need to start whittling these down.
  • I’m drinking too many calories. Alcohol. That needs to stop. Over 2,000 of the calories those six days came from alcohol. That’s just silly.
  • My food choices have largely been pretty healthy. Lots of fruits and veggies and healthy protein.
  • I did spectacularly drinking water while at work (and hiking). Less spectacular at home. Noted: drinking lots of water isn’t doing shit to curb my appetite.
  • I did well planning out snacks and meals every few hours. The problem is that those snacks or meals were too high in calories/too large in size.

So: Smaller portion sizes is going to be key here, as well as cutting way back (preferably stopping) the alcohol consumption. This means breaking out the scale and measuring cups, and making sure that my mini-meals are of a reasonable size. That’s my task for Week 2.  I am going to try to start photographing my meals also, for additional accountability. I don’t think I’m going to be able to whittle my calories down to 800 calories by next week, but if I can get them in the area of 1000-1100 calories, that will be some progress.

Tips for myself for cutting back on food/hunger:

  • Quit the alcohol.
  • Quit the sugar. (I really did better with this, this past week though)
  • Eat protein shakes as snacks.
  • Measure and weigh food.
  • Keep some fresh veggies on hand for snacks. (carrots are mostly lower cal than fruits)
  • Leave food on your plate, or cut part of your food off to throw away.
  • Cut back on high-calorie fatty foods. I’m a sucker for caprese salads. The tomato is awesome, but cut back on the mozzarella. More tomato, less cheese. (But…not “no cheese.”)

The Mediterranean Diet

by Christine on June 15th, 2010

filed under Diet, Food, Nutrition, General Information

Red WineI have been scouring medical journals and recent medical reports in the last few days (yay for PubMed!) and I consistently see references to the “Mediterranean Diet” and the benefits this diet has on the average human body.

So I can figure that this diet plan probably involves lots of fish, limited red meat, ample wine and healthy fats…but the details are a little fuzzy for me. I thought I would delve into this diet in today’s edition of The Phoenix Revolution Blog News!

Who lauds the Mediterranean Diet?

Mayo Clinic


What are the benefits?

  • A 2007 study showed that the Mediterranean diet leads to a decrease risk of heart disease and cancer
  • The Mediterranean Diet has been associated with lower LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol)
  • High life expectancy, up to a six percent reduction in mortality according to the Mediterranean Diet Foundation
  • A high-fat diet like this can help keep you “regular” on the potty.
  • This diet keeps blood circulation healthy and prevents blood clots from forming (mostly from the red wine)
  • A 12 year study showed that those following this diet have significantly lower body weights, low blood pressure, blood fats, blood sugar, and insulin levels.
  • A four-year study from Columbia University medical Center showed that those following this diet had up to 40% less risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
  • A new study from the Institute of Epidemiology at Ulm University in Germany suggests that the Mediterranean diet may cut risk for respiratory disease.

How is it different from other diets?

  • Drink red wine, in moderation (5 oz per day for women, 10 oz per day for men)
  • Limit consumption of red meat
  • Eat fish or shellfish twice a week
  • Use herbs and spices to flavor food instead of salt
  • Consume healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
  • Consume nuts, in moderation
  • Eat in small portions, especially because many of the foods on this diet are high in calories
  • Partake in beans and peas, especially white beans, lentils, chick peas, and capers
  • Eating whole grains is okay, such as couscous, polenta, rice, pasta, bread, and potatoes.
  • Consumption of cheese and milk is okay, in moderation. Yogurt is an especially good choice.
  • Choosing eggs is allowed!

Of course, like other diets, the Mediterranean Diet requires lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.  For example, residents of Greece eat very little red meat and an average of nine servings a day of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. (Many people in the Mediterranean area have fruit for dessert.) However, it is the consumption of healthy fats that makes this diet unique.  The goal is to choose monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, and polyunsaturated fats, which contain linolenic acid (a type of omega-3 fatty acid). These can be found in canola oil, walnuts, and fish.  Avoid bad fats that can be found in butter and heavy sauces as well as bacon and fatty meats.


Become the Master of Portion Control!

by Christine on April 29th, 2010

filed under Diet, Food, Nutrition, General Information

Looking back on my struggles with weight gain, I believe one of the fundamental issues that I continued to screw up was identifying the correct portion size for a given meal.  Once I got my binge-eating under control and began to eat healthy foods, I still gained weight.  I amped up the exercise, and I still gained weight.

Unless you are carefully regulating how much food you are consuming, it doesn’t really matter what types of food you are eating.  If you’re eating too much, you’re most likely grossly under-estimating the amount of calories you are consuming. This will inevitably lead to weight gain. It did for me.

Restaurants do not serve you a normal portion size worth of food.

This bears repeating.

Restaurants do not serve you a normal portion size worth of food.

When I go to a restaurant and order a meal, it will usually last me three additional meals.  That’s right, three additional meals!  That grilled chicken salad that costs you $13 suddenly becomes a lot more affordable when you consider that it will give you four meals.  Each meal out of that dinner only costs you $3.25 which is entirely reasonable.

I cannot stress this enough: use your measuring cups and buy a food scale.  Use them often.  When you’re home and making mashed potatoes, do not just throw a dollop of potatoes onto your plate. Get your measuring cup out and carefully measure exactly ¼ cup of mashed potatoes.  I use my measuring cups so often that I actually have three sets of them because I go through so many of them.

You can also use visual clues for determining an appropriate portion size.  Here is a general guideline that you can use:

Grain products What one serving looks like
1 cup of cereal The size of a fist
1 pancake A compact disk
Half a cup of cooked rice, pasta, or potato Half of a baseball. (NOT a softball. Baseball.)
1 slice of bread A cassette tape.
1 cup of French fries About 10 fries
4 oz Nachos potato chips About 7 chips
Fruits and veggies What one serving looks like
1 cup of salad greens A baseball
1 medium fruit A baseball
Half a cup of raisins A large egg
Half a cup of vegetables 1 light bulb
Half a cup of fruit 1 cell phone
1 cup of carrots 12 baby carrots
1 cup strawberries About 12 strawberries
Half a cup of grapes About 16 grapes
Dairy and Cheese What one serving looks like
One and a half oz cheese 4 stacked dice
½ cup of ice cream Half a baseball
1 cup of milk or yogurt The size of a fist
Meats and Alternatives What one serving looks like
3 oz of meat (beef, poultry, fish) Deck of cards
3 oz of grilled/baked fish (flattened) Checkbook
2 T of peanut butter Ping pong ball
Fats and Desserts What one serving looks like
1 t of oil The size of your thumb tip
1 cookie 1 makeup compact
1 T salad dressing 1 shot glass
1 T mayo 1 poker chip
¼ cup of Almonds About 12 almonds
2 T hummus 1 golf ball

Here are some tips for helping you control your portion sizes:

  • When you leave for work in the morning, measure out your snacks and put them into ziplock bags or containers.
  • Look for those 100-calorie snack packs. My favorites are the natural almond packs by Emerald.  If you buy in bulk, such as a big bag of pretzels, make sure you measure out a real portion size into a ziplock bag. Don’t just eat out of the family-sized bag.
  • When eating at restaurants, share your meal with your spouse or significant other.
  • Make an appetizer your meal (just watch out for those unhealthy fried appetizers!)
  • Eat like a child. Order off the kid’s menu if you can, or ask the restaurant if you can order a half-sized portion of any item on the menu.
  • Avoid those gigantic glasses of soda.
  • Think of eating in terms of snacks instead of meals. I haven’t eaten a “meal” in over a year now. Instead, I “snack” about six times a day. If I approach each eating-period as a “snack,” I find I am less likely to overeat.
  • Never, EVER eat at a buffet. Ever.  It’s a freaking free-for-all, and don’t put yourself through that.
  • Just eat half of whatever you would normally take.
  • Eat off of tiny plates, rather than big plates. You can’t overload (and overeat) if you’re eating off a teacup saucer!

Best food scales

  • The OXO Good Grips Food Scale. It’s more expensive than most, but it offers fractions instead of decimals, which is good for some people and a con for others.  It is a digital scale and is ranked as accurate, sturdy, and had a unique pullout display so that the readout is not covered up by a big plate or bowl. It can weigh foods up to 11 pounds.  It also has a “tare function” which means that it automatically adjusts the measurement to subtract for the weight of the container.  $45.
  • The EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale. This digital scale includes a calorie count book and will also weigh foods up to 11 pounds. It also has a tare function, and it can easily convert between grams and ounces. However, large bowls and plates may block the display, and the platform doesn’t remove for easy cleaning. At $25 it’s a good budget buy.
  • EatSmart Digital Nutrition Scale. This digital scale has a calorie calculator built right in, so you can get all the nutrional properties of the food that you are weighing. It can analyze the food item by portion size. This scale also has a memory so you can track what you’re eating. It weighs 2 pounds and can measure up to 6.6 pounds of food. $69.95.

Cute Measuring Cup Products:

Heart Shapes

Gaggle of Geese or Giraffe Measuring Cups! These are totally cute!

More resources:

Wallet-sized portion control guide to take with you, by WebMD

Portion Distortion Quiz! How good are you at guessing?

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