Happy week to you ladies!!

I am continuing my tips from my health retreat:

LEARN FROM BARBIE – At my health retreat, the portions were crazy small. Americans eat too much. We all know this. Endless breadsticks and salad at Olive Garden result in Hippo thighs and Santa Claus stomachs. Hey, the calories have to go somewhere ladies! At first, I thought I was going to cry. I felt like I was in some sort of prison. As I looked at my Lilliputian fish serving, I thought about how my normal portions at home were about twice this size. Uh-oh! The plates they used were smaller than the typical gargantuan platters we use at home and much smaller than restaurant portions. So, an easy way to cure yourself of eating a lot is to use a smaller plate. It might not look as fun, but it does work in keeping you eating the right portions. Want to know what a dinner serving should be like? 4 large shrimp and some veggies and about a ramekin size of rice. Yup – 4 shrimp! The veggies should fit into a ½ cup measuring cup, so about 10 brussel sprouts or 10 baby carrots. I’M NOT JOKING.

Smaller plates means less food!

And, the snacks they gave us (only when we asked) were served in a sake-size glass. You can only fit about 7 almonds in this little teensy cup. That is supposed to be a snack size my dear ladies. Same goes for peanut butter and crackers. The little sake glass was filled with peanut butter and that’s all I got. Same goes for dried fruit.

I suggest you try this portion test and see what you think about it. If anything, it will make you immediately aware of how much you eat. And I think most of us would be surprised by the portions we have. You will need:

Sake glasses

Appetizer plates

Ramekins or ½ cup measuring cup

I was actually shocked at how my hunger was not bad at all and after day 3, had definitely diminished. Perhaps I had simply succumbed to these new rules. So what. I lost weight and felt really good. You can still eat the foods you love but just eat less. It’s easy to say, but when you see it visually with these containers, it really drives through the concept.

As one of my snacks, they gave me one mini Babybel cheese and 3 Ak-mak crackers. The crackers looked scary but they were actually delicious! I liked them so much, I bought some at the store when I got home. They have only 2 grams of fat for 5 crackers, zero sugar and have some protein. Fab!

I found that I ate slower too. By having a smaller amount of food, I savored it more, focusing on the taste (and hoping that there was more of it).

Size of container for peanut butter or almonds as snack

Right after we got back from the retreat, we went for lunch at a nice restaurant and the Cobb salad I ordered was served on the biggest platter I have ever seen and this was for ONE person! It was easily 4 servings if I used my new portion test. I found myself continuing to shovel in the food, not even realizing that I was eating the whole thing. Very dangerous.

Restaurant-size salad – as big as my head!

ORDER LESS, GET MORE – An old trick I used to do back in my 20s was to order 2 appetizers instead of an entrée. That way, the portions are smaller and you get more variety. Usually, after 3 bites of a huge steak or chicken breast, my taste buds would get bored and go on autopilot but if you order 2 appetizers, you get to taste more food and hopefully eat less. Of course, be careful at the chain restaurants like Outback Steakhouse, Chili’s or those kinds – they have no idea what portion control means!!

SOMETHING’S FISHY – Eat more fish. That’s it. Americans do not eat enough fish. Tilapia is inexpensive and so are shrimp. Shrimp take about 4 minutes to cook. Throw them into a pan with a little oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, splash of wine – whatever. Voila – dinner is served in no time. Salmon is terrific for you and easy to find year-round. Canned tuna, while some hate it, is an easy, nutritious meal. Throw it on salad; make a sandwich with not too much mayo. If you can try to eat fish twice a week, you will do your body a huge favor. Don’t like the smell of cooking fish? Eat smoked salmon on some crackers, or healthy fish sticks like they sell at Whole Foods. Fast and easy.

I hope these tips help you. They certainly have helped me!