Getting Healthy for Good: When bigger is NOT better

By Laurie Marshall

None of you will be surprised to learn that today’s portion sizes at restaurants are MUCH larger than they were when we were kids. Not only have fast-food portions grown by 2-5 times their original sizes, but the sit-down places are even worse.

I’m always blown away by the size of a plate of pasta at Olive Garden or The Marketplace. Consider that a recommended serving size of pasta is 1 cup. ONE CUP!!!! Those bowls and plates are heaped with at least four cups of pasta, and if you’re a sucker for a cheese sauce like I am, the damage to a healthy-eating routine is pretty significant.

Add to the huge portion sizes the fact that we were all raised to clean our plates (if we wanted dessert) and we end up with the obese nation we are living in today. And what about the “all you can eat” restaurants? Chinese buffets, Golden Corral, special nights set aside by some restaurants that allow you to order more than a normal person should ever consider eating simply because we’re eager to “get our money’s worth”…  I mean, are we really shocked by the statistics we read in the news?

I have challenged myself to stop drinking sodas, and to bring lunch from home more often. I’ve been fairly successful in those two areas… with a little backsliding to keep it real… but the next hurdle is to make myself put half (or more) of my restaurant meals in a box before I even start eating in order to keep myself from eating too much. I read about this idea somewhere, but don’t remember where. When you receive your meal, just ask the waitperson for a box right away and put half your plate in it and close it up before you take a bite.

Fast food is tougher. Instead of putting half away, I’ll start cutting out fries with my meals if I get a burger (this doesn’t happen often, actually) and I’ll have to be more diligent with my self-challenge: “what’s more important – this bite, or losing 2 pounds this week?”

I’m out of town this week with my husband and son, enjoying some much-needed down time with old friends in Peoria, Illinois. (Thank the gods they have a pool!!!) While we are here, my husband has a handful of old haunts he wants to visit, and they all involve food. I’ll be attempting to put these plans into practice, and hope to arrive home with at least no weight GAIN, if I don’t lose any pounds.

As I’ve said in the past – traveling is tough when you’re trying to change your eating habits. I have brought lots of fruit along, and have been snacking on that and some nuts, and it seems to be helping me keep the meals smaller.

Just remember, it’s a one-day-at-a-time thing… and those days turn into a lifetime of healthy habits that will give you more days to enjoy. You can do it, and you’ll be glad you did.

Look for Laurie’s fitness tips and updates on her personal health-focused journey every other Friday on nwaMotherlode in Mom Blogs. Send questions or input to her at Or click on the comment button below and share your thoughts right now! To see previous installments of Getting Healthy for Good, click HERE.