Miscellaneous ramblings, centered on portion size and vacations

Today I read a book on "Mindless Eating" and eventually I'll write more about it. But first off it rang a cord for me with a section from a Harvard Health Publication on cutting down on salt. We eat too much salt, too much sugar and too much fat. One of the simplest ways to cut down on those is to diminish your portion sizes.

I don't weigh in on any of the fad diets except to say they won't solve the long-term problem that two out of every three of us have in the United States. I think eliminating something you like won't work very well over the years. So instead, I diet by cutting off a portion of everything on my plate. I can still have a small amount of almost anything; I just don't overeat..except on vacations.

We spend six days on a trip to Texas recently. Our surrogate dad had turned 90 and we wanted to visit him. So part of that trip was with an elderly couple living in a retirement community. Part of it was visiting other friends. Everyone wanted to make sure we were well fed.

We went to restaurants, clubs and dining facilities in the retirement village. There were abundant choices and generally quite good food (though I did miss our fresh fruits and vegetables from our CSA). The problem was my lack of the ability to say NO.

I left home at 150.6 pounds, well within my comfort zone. I returned at 157 pounds and have had to play catch up ever since. I'm almost back to where I started at. I do fine at home; I even mamage local parties and restaurants without a problem. So what happens with a trip?

Ah, I think I have figured out some of the issue; we were with good friends who wanted to treat us to their favorites places to eat. Or, in the case of our older friends, we were eating buffet style. Both situations are diet traps. They require some extra punch in my diet resolve.

So one of my coping mechanisms, one that I have to strengthen for vacations, is portion control. I really didn't eat anything on this trip that I wouldn't otherwise; I just ate more. I have a four by six card that says "Don't overeat." It may appear a little silly, but it's saved me countless times at home or in our area. Even that simple device makes me pause, eliminate the extra scoop of frozen yogurt or the second piece of bread with butter and jam. it's time for the card to be on my packlist.

The pause is the real necessity. In the book I was reading today, just moving a dish of food a distance away, or as we do serving everything in the kitchen so seconds require a trip back from the dining room can help.

Dieting or, in my case, maintaining a weight you've worked to get at, requires some thinking. The pause can let you move away from the mindless eating trap.

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