Tag Archives: portion control

Back to Reality

Well, in case my last post didn’t quite tell you enough, I’m back. I arrived yesterday back to my house after 2 amazing weeks (traveling through France, Belgium, and Spain with my mom, and then with a friend) and the contrast between sunny Barcelona and dreary Paris was overwhelming. I came home, hungry, tired, sad, and lonely, and was welcomed by the awful smell of weird rotten cheese (or who knows what) in the kitchen [hence my bitter last post]. Needless to say, it was a shitty way to come back to reality.

I signed up for a 10k race in Paris in 2 weeks and I am entirely out of shape because of the past few weeks of no real exercise other than lots of walking. I also can see and feel the effects of 2 weeks of vacation-eating on my body, and even though I’m trying to not feel shitty about it, in all honesty, yeah, I feel shitty.  As I recently posted, vacation is often such a difficult time for me (and I’m guessing for everyone) because who wants to travel to France, Belgium, or Spain and eat healthy. Even if healthy options exist (which they don’t), eating is such a seemingly important part of seeing a new culture that it feels wrong, dare I say disrespectful or wasteful to not eat your heart out. You can’t go to Belgium and not eat a Belgian waffle covered in speculoos spread or a basket of the famous twice-fried Belgian fries. You can’t go to Paris and not eat pastries or cheese. You can’t go to Spain and not eat tapas.

So the question for me becomes… How can I travel (which is one of my greatest passions and joys in life) without the guilt and the weight gain, not to mention the unseen effects on my health? How can I still practice self control and strength when I’m faced with days or weeks outside of my normal routine, where indulgence is expected and applauded (by myself and by others)?

It’s easier said than done, but perhaps it starts with portion control. This coming weekend I will be going to Brussels with some friends, and one friend and I have decided that maybe the best way to not lose ourselves amongst the Belgian waffles and fries and stews is to just share them. Maybe vacation doesn’t have to mean missing out on food entirely – often times all you want is just a taste anyway. I want to reach a point in my self control where I don’t feel so compelled to eat the whole thing, but instead allow myself to just enjoy the few bites that I am actually craving.

My mom once said when I was growing up that the things that are most restricted are the ones that are most desired (saying it in Spanish sounds a lot nicer), and though she was referring to a style of parenting, this mentality can apply to food as well. Telling myself that I’m not allowed to enjoy the delicious treats on vacation is just a recipe for disaster. Not only will I inevitably break my own rules, but I’ll be feeling guilty about it for days to come. Telling myself that I can eat anything I want, just in honest, reasonable moderation will [hopefully] help me feel satisfied and in control, when I come home from vacation knowing that I was strong and maintained discipline while still enjoying the trip to the fullest extent.

I have to make an effort to incorporate these types of thoughts into my daily life too, not just while on vacation, and that is where the struggle begins. I’m used to being all-or-nothing and that generally does not work out well in the end, so working to find a middle ground should be my focus for now. Baby steps. This is all part of the process of “creating a new normal” for myself.

Everything in moderation, right?

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This Always Happens

Try as I might, something always seems to throw me off. I had been doing pretty well with my nutrition today, making good choices (albeit, I admit, ignoring portion control to an extent) and sticking to my planned meals without cheating in between, and even during dinner time with my host family, I was able to make decent enough choices (as in, not going for seconds on that delicious quiche lorraine my host mom made), but alas, I am in France and I can’t escape the temptations, even on the best of days.

My host mom, being the amazing, caring, considerate woman that she is, bought me some delicious butter/sugar cookies from the town they went to over the weekend, and offered it to me tonight after dinner and insisted that I try one. She knows how much I love sweets and I love her for always being thoughtful. I really am a lucky au pair. I excitedly opened the box to try a cookie, while mentally telling myself that I would only have one.

Guess what? I had 3.


We were all just talking, munching on cookies, and I almost felt rude not eating more than one, so I allowed myself another, and another, and now I’m sitting in my room with a small belly ache and a big load of guilt over my head. I had a great workout this afternoon and I ate clean all day long before dinner, but as is always the case, dinner time comes around and I fall into the trap of feeling like a guest in the home of some very gourmet French people, who eat for the sake of pleasure, not for the sake of health. This is the case pretty much every night, and I’m struggling to balance myself within this environment. I lack motivation and courage to say “no” and I easily give in when I’m offered seconds, or dessert, or cheese. I have spent over 5 months battling this same issue, and I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever really be strong enough to do what is right for me and my body.


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Death By Granola

[I wrote this post a few days ago, before I had my blog up and running.]

This is my first blog post, and I’m not going to pretend like I have anything inspirational to say, because I don’t. Its 11am, and I’ve eaten the equivalent of two horses worth of granola and lots of yogurt. It’s not that granola is really that bad for you, but its very calorically dense so really you should only be eating a small amount. But lets be real here – who the eff ever eats a small amount of granola? Is that even possible? If you serve yourself a bowl of granola, lets say instead of cereal, for breakfast, you might pour about a cups worth into your bowl, and nom away as you would if you were eating a cup of Special K or Air-and-Water Flakes or Calorie-Free Puffs or some shit like that. But take 2 seconds to look at the nutrition facts on any box of granola, and you’ll quickly turn a blind eye, pretending you didn’t see that one serving is somewhere along the lines of ¼ cup, and that in that, you’ll be earning around 400 calories, half of which are from fat. So you pretend you saw nothing and try to enjoy your enormous bowl of heaven without the guilt. But you know better, and you tell yourself that next time you’ll measure out just one serving, and eat only that. And next time comes around, and you act ignorant again, because ignorance is bliss.

Until ignorance shows its face weeks later as a little extra bulge spilling over your pants and you vow to never eat granola again, and only eat lettuce and air. And then miraculously, granola appears in your pantry and you feel sad wasting it, you know, for the starving children, or, whatever, and you eat the whole damn box in one sitting because at least that way it will be gone from your sight and tomorrow you wont have to deal with its tempting little eyes ever again.

And thus is the cycle with granola. Or bread. Or cookies. Or pretty much anything delicious in the world.

So, yeah, I just ate a bunch of granola and it was so good as I was tasting it, but now I don’t taste it, I just feel it in my stomach, and I’m thinking about Oprah or whoever that said the clever little line, “A moment on the lip, a lifetime on the hip” and I’m starting to feel my post-granola guilt. Since today is Wednesday, which in au pair language means “your worst nightmare” (because kids don’t have school on Wednesdays in France, so you get to work 12+ hours that day with no time to yourself), I won’t be able to exercise, other than exercising my patience, and lets be real here, that’s not going to burn off my granola. Okay, well, maybe symbolically it will, if I learn to be more patient with myself in general, and learn to not expect change immediately, and of course patience is a virtue and all that, but shit, I don’t have any ever and I want abs NOW! And I want granola. Is it possible to have both?


Probably. If I ate the right serving size.


This is the shit that kills me every time. My host family buys it in bulk and I can’t escape it!



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