Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Portion Control

A year ago, Jon and I set sail on a Caribbean cruise with our friend Scott and his grandfather, Gene. Surprisingly, I didn't gain weight on this trip like many cruisers do, even though we were offered food 24/7. But I'd made a conscious plan to enjoy meals without going overboard and stuck to it.

One thing that made it easier to do this was that the ship served smallish portions at the formal meals. At dinner, I'd always order an appetizer, main dish and dessert, but each dish was just enough for one person. I had some great food during the week including Cornish hen and chocolate lava cake, but I never binged. Since I ate healthy portions and got a lot of walking in, I managed to shed about three pounds.

I was reminded of that tonight, not only because this happened exactly a year ago, but because Jon and I celebrated a belated Valentine's Day at a high-end Indian restaurant called Junoon. The food was great, but like the ship, the portions were conservative. I'm used to going to Indian restaurants where I have to take home half the meal because they give you so much. But here, you got only a few pieces of everything. And know what? I felt satisfied when I was finished, but not stuffed.

In my many readings about food and diets, I've come across a lot of articles where it's been noted that there's a correlation between healthy eating and income. I don't think this is completely true because I know plenty of wealthy people who eat terribly and not-so-wealthy people who eat well. But I do find it interesting that many of the more expensive restaurants I've been to serve small portions whereas places like Denny's give you all these extras with your meals. I suppose family-type restauarants try to cater to those who are looking to get more for their money. I've also read about the "French diet," where it's been explained that the French are in decent shape because they eat well, but keep portions tiny. All of this is definitely food for thought (pun intended).

I've been trying to follow this method in my eating: eat well, eat small, eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. I feel as though this is something that I can stick with for the rest of my life.

It was really nice being able to go out and try some unique foods, but end the meal feeling energized, rather than sluggish. If I could lose weight on a cruise, I should definitely be able to do it in my routine life.

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