ObesityHelp Community Tips: Post-op Portion Sizes

October 27, 2014

"Most of us are not very good at estimating how much food we are eating unless we are measuring in some way. Influences such as the color of a plate, the size of a plate and even whether a plate has a rim can alter how much food we perceive is on the plate. We also tend to eat more when we start with a larger portion on our plates, leading us to eat more than we thought or wanted." - NIH Eat Right Live Well

Portion sizes have increased dramatically over the last few decades, requiring us to be proactive in our effort to eat moderately. We often get emails, see threads or talk with people that are struggling to control portion sizes. We’ve become so accustomed to being served impressive, plate filling meals that we have lost sight of what healthy portions should look like.

So we reached out to our ObesityHelp community to see how our members are successfully managing portion sizes at home, work, and when dining out.

Tips from the OH Community:

"I'm 13 years out, so I can eat more than most of you now, but I still use smaller plates. I eyeball everything now, but I learned what a 4oz piece of protein looks like, as well as a portion of whatever side dish of a quarter cup. In addition, I rarely go back for seconds." - Liza

"At home: a digital scale that I can put a plate on and zero it out then add food and zero again to weight each item, At work: healthy snacks in my drawer in proportioned Ziploc snack bags. At restaurants: create a portion on one side of my plate or ask for to-go box right away." - Christine

"I use salad plates and usually eat about 1/4 of what my hubby eats! I'm 4 years out now." - Linda S.

"Because I have small children, I actually have found this to be the easiest part for me: I eat off their kids plates (smaller than our regular plates) and I eat with their silverware to help with the bite sizes. My 4 year old just loves it, he finds it hilarious! And at restaurants, I get a dish that my 2 kids and I both like. And whatever the 3 of us don't eat (after dividing it up on our plates) I get a to-go box right away. I've found that after a curious smile, the waitstaff usually help me with my strange requests." - Sophia

"We use a digital scale, and small dishes. Typically we use the small plates from our dish set. I also have small containers for lunch for work. I make or even double recipes that work for us, portion them out and freeze. This makes it easy for work lunches, and even dinner when I don't feel like cooking." - Linda B.

"Home: I bought a scale. Two ounces of meat. Two ounces of Vegetables. I eat the meat first, then the vegetables...If I can hold them. Work: I bought 200 two ounce cups on eBay. I just fill the cup and take it to work with me. (I teach and the cafeteria food is just as appetizing as you remember) Eating Out: If I eat out (only happened twice so far) I eyeball it." - tstowe

"Eyeballing and being mindful of what I eat. does work all the time and accounts for hovering between 188 and 197 for the past several months. drives me nuts. I do not feel much of any restriction from VSG December 2011." - mooosie

"I am almost 6 yrs post-op maintaining a weight loss of 100-107lbs, I never had a scale...my reason for that is, how will I know what amount I should eat when I am at a friends house or out for dinner. I also eyeball it...and I keep in mind the sizing as in a serving is the size of a (deck of cards), etc etc. As far as eating out my usual rule of thumb is order something that I have had before or something that I can most definitely pack up and take 1/2 home." - Mary A.

"I am a food addict and really cannot be trusted to judge portions at 7+ years out. I use a food scale and measuring cups, as well as pre-portioned packaged foods." - jasteypes

"I weigh and measure everything." - Jules78

"At 7 yrs post op . I eat until I feel full, I don't measure. I have maintained my weight loss. If I have put more on my plate than I can eat I leave whats left on my plate." - huskergalWsD

"Portion size should be determined by you and your Dr. based on your personal weight loss goals and nutritional needs. The first few years I measured and really took the time to train my eye. Now I pride myself on being able to gauge what 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup without a measure. It's good to check yourself from time to time to make sure you are still within your recommended amounts. Out & about: I love bento boxes. I can portion out a lunch and a snack and take it with me. At restaurants: Restaurant portions are outrageous so I ask for a box right away and take 1/2 home. I love to turn it into something completely different the next day. I call it repurposing. Once I got 7 meals from 1." - eggface

For additional help you can use the ObesityHelp Health Tracker to track your daily food and water intake.

Photo credit: The World According to Eggface