Category Archives: TWO FISTED EATING: Portion Control and Enjoyment

Slow Motion Arm

There once was a woman from Goshen

With one arm equipped with slow motion.

When eating her mutton,

She pushed a small button

That slowed down her arm’s locomotion.


This woman’s slow arm lifted forkfuls

To her mouth at half speed of normal.

She chewed with delight

And savored each bite

And felt satisfied with her belly full.


This slow motion arm gave her time

For her belly to talk to her mind.

“I’m full,” belly said.

“That’s great,” said her head,

“Stop eating now.” Slo-mo worked fine!


Count, Count, Count Your Calories (Song)

Count, Count, Count Your Calories

(To the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat)


singing-womanCalories to count

Every day, each meal.

Calories, calories, calories, calories,

Day one I count with zeal!


Seven, eight days go by

Counting every food.

Calories, calories, calories, calories,

No longer in the mood.


Some foods’ counts are high.

Noodles, muffins too.

Hoagies and ice cream and peanuts, tortillas.

I didn’t have a clue.


Calories to burn

As I exercise.

Calories, calories, calories, calories,

Watch the number rise!


If I walk a mile,

Quickly as I please,

Calories, calories, calories, calories,

Burns an ounce of cheese.


row-row-row-your-boatCount, count, count your calories

If only for a week.

Teaches you, teaches you, teaches you, teaches you

Weight loss that you seek.


Sure have learned a lot

Counting calories.

Let me eat, let me eat, let me eat, let me eat,

Wisely choosing, please.



Images courtesy of Clipart Kid (woman singing), (music notes)

Portionography 101

portion-statueI want you to put your foot in your mouth. Portion control is a big factor in weight loss and healthy eating and -whoa, hey! I did not think you were that flexible. Get your toes away from your nose, it was only a metaphor. I just meant that your foot is about the size of a properly proportioned meal.

Before I lost weight, I ate pretty healthy: cooked from scratch most days, got some veggies in there somewhere, and limited the junk food. The problem was I ate twice as much pretty-healthy-food as my body needed. I’m not exaggerating: twice as much.

I like food. It tastes good and it’s fun to eat. Can I get an amen? The problem was not that I ate but that I ate again and again and again at each meal.  There’s nothing wrong with enjoying your food. In fact, I encourage you to enjoy your food with undivided attention. Studies show that if we eat while we’re distracted—watching TV, checking email—we eat about 30% more than when we simply eat. Enjoy your food thoroughly, but when your portion is gone, stop eating.

portion-handsEating proper portion sizes is easy to do with the measuring tools you have on you: your fists. Your two fists are the size of your one stomach, so you can use your fists to quickly gauge how much food will fill your belly. A meal is equal to four fists and two of those fists should be fruits or vegetables. Four fists is roughly the size of your foot, so when you’ve put your foot in your mouth, you stop eating. I repeat: you stop eating. It’s that simple and it’s that hard.

If you’re used to eating a lot, four fists isn’t going to look like enough food at first, but if you savor your food, really savor it, and concentrate on the flavors and textures, you’ll be bored with eating by the time your plate is empty. If you cut the food into small bites, it feels like you’re eating more. One study found that people who ate half a bagel cut into four pieces consumed less for lunch an hour later than people who ate the same half bagel in its full moon natural form.

portion-plateAnother study found that eating smaller bites (nickel sized) and chewing a little longer (9 seconds) helped participants eat 65% less food than those who took larger bites (3 nickels) and chewed less (3 seconds). That’s a lot of numbers… look, forget the numbers and just make an effort to chew more and eat more slowly. The longer you take to eat, the more time your stomach has to notify your brain that it’s full. Perhaps it’s not the amount of food on the plate, but the time we spend eating that makes us feel satisfied. Metaphoric translation: put your foot in your mouth and nibble your toes. If you’re still hungry after eating two fists of food and two fists of veggies, keep thinking about feet near your mouth. Toe jam near your tongue, bunions touching your boca, sweaty soles approaching your saliva… your appetite should disappear in no time.


How beautiful your sandaled feet,
    O prince’s daughter!
Your graceful legs are like jewels,
    the work of an artist’s hands.

Song of Solomon 7:1 NIV


Effect of taking smaller bites outweighs tendency to eat more when distracted

Small Bites, Big Weight Loss

To Slim Down, Take Smaller Bites


Images courtesy of: sexy food episodes (hands), (plate), Wired (statue)

Post Halloween Candy Survival Guide

halloween-candy-2-590x421Halloween night after the kids are in bed, my husband and I have a naughty ritual: we claim our “Parent Tax” from the kids’ candy bags – preferred payment is in chocolate – and we gorge ourselves on candy bars we haven’t tasted since last Halloween. Candy is a rarity in our house for the simple reason that if we have it, I eat it and if we don’t, I don’t. To stay on track with my health and weight loss goals, I’ve created a Post Halloween Candy Survival Guide for my benefit and, hopefully, yours.

1. Donate extra candy to charity.

opperation-christmas-childSamaritan’s Purse runs Operation Christmas Child where volunteers pack shoe boxes with toys, hygiene items, clothes, and/or school supplies and give them away to poor children around the world, many of whom have never received a Christmas gift before.  The collection week for this enterprise is, conveniently, the second week of November – ie. AFTER Halloween.  If you don’t want your family to eat that entire bucket full of sweets, take the extra goodies to one of the drop off locations.  They’ll be happy to portion the candy into little baggies to add to the shoe boxes.  (Note: they do not accept chocolate; it tends to melt on the way to the Equator.)

halloween-candy-buybackAnother option is Halloween Candy Buy Back. Participating dentists buy candy back from kids for $1.00 a pound. The candy is donated to Soldier’s Angels and shipped overseas in care packages (complete with toothbrushes) to our troops overseas. Their website has a search feature to find a participating dentist near you.

2. Hide under the bed between meals.  Or in a closet.  For the month of November.  Maybe December too.

3. Fill a bowl.  Every time you run errands, fill one pocket with candy.  Many offices have a bowl of candy on the front desk, but instead of taking a piece, leave a handful.  Secret Agent 00Sweet!

4. Give a handful to the child of the unfriendly mom who made a snide comment about your bathrobe at the bus stop.  Then repent, forgive, and…oh, come on, people, it’s a joke, lighten up!  It would be funny, though….

2015-headshots-white-clay-creek-0445. Make yourself a rule and stick to it.  For example, you can eat a snack sized Twix only after you’ve done ten push-ups and thirty sit-ups and jogged up and down the stairs twice.  Whatever balances you out calorie-wise so that your net intake is zero.

6. Human Piñata.  Fill all of your pockets with candy and go to a play date with your children, grandchildren, nieces/nephews.  Be the first ones to leave and as you walk past the children on the way to the door, “spill” the candy.  If you want to make a little show of it, put headphones in your ears and groove to the music; the extra shaking makes it more believable when Starbursts and Milk Duds leap from your jacket pocket.  Just be careful not to leave the room until you’re positive that your pockets are empty; you don’t want any unsupervised children following you home.

7. spiderman-party-3Freeze it/Hide it. Chocolate keeps for a nice long time in the freezer and if you hide it in the back or in a freezer in the garage, you’ll probably forget it’s there. When you do remember, the frozen solid nature of the treat slows down how many you can consume before you come to your senses. For non-chocolate candy, hide it somewhere you don’t go often, like with the dusting supplies or filed with the income tax papers. When a birthday rolls around and it’s your turn to fill a piñata or party favor bags, pull out your hidden stash and you’re ready to go!


 “For the Lord takes delight in his people;
he crowns the humble with victory.
 Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor
and sing for joy on their beds.”

Psalm 149:4-5 NIV


Images courtesy of: Real Nutrition NYC (bowl), (truck full of candy), (shoe boxes) Reading Confetti (Spiderman piñata) 

Autographed Books and Two Fisted Eating

Autographed copies of Sex, Soup, and Two Fisted Eating: Hilarious Weight Loss for Wives are now available through SquareUp!

And here’s a classic post on Two Fisted Eating:

Grab a brownie with one hand and a slab of pecan pie with the other…now stuff them in your mouth!  That’s what you pictured in your head, right?   We’re going to keep the joy of eating that you’re imagining, but lose the mess.

foodballYour stomach is the size of your fist…or maybe two fists; depends on who you ask.  Yes, it’s that small, and yes, it can stretch out a LOT! (Do you know how much food I’ve managed to squeeze in there?  I always thought my stomach was the size of a football!)

Your stomach can expand to hold 1.5 quarts (okay, so I wasn’t too far off with the football idea).  One quart = four cups and my fist is about the size of one cup, so I can cram 6 fists into my football, er, stomach.  (Still with me, math majors?)

So what do I do with this information?  Cut a football in half and use it as a plate?  (We can call it the “Foodball”!  What do you think, marketing people?  Weight loss gimmick for men?  Only $19.99 if you call now!)

So, Two Fisted Eating.  At each meal, your goal is to put 4 “fists” on your plate.  TWO fist sized portions of “real food” (as I like to call it) and TWO fists worth of vegetables.

Let me give you an example; this is the Turkey Curry recipe.

P1010173P1010175The plate on the left is what my plate looked like a year ago.  Notice that the green section looks more like a decoration – an afterthought – than a part of the meal.  The picture on the right is what I ate for dinner this week.  TWO fists of “real” food (rice and Turkey Curry) and TWO fists of veggies.

Now, THIS IS IMPORTANT: RED ALERT! RED ALERT!  Ready?  When your plate is empty, you stop eating.  It’s that simple and it’s that hard.  Drink some water, drink some tea, start the dishes, lick the plate and cry… whatever works for you, just don’t get seconds (unless it’s vegetable soup, then you can go back for thirds for all I care).

The math majors have all noticed by now that I said our stomachs can fit 6 fists and we only put 4 on our plate.  We have room for two more!  Yes, yes we do.  But just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. (For example, I can post a daily photo of my poodle….)

We’re re-training our brains, not our stomachs.  For years, my brain equated “full” with my stomach being stretched to capacity: 1.5 quarts or 6 fists.  That turned out well for me, didn’t it?  So, now I’m training my brain to say “full” when my stomach has 1 quart or 4 fists in it.  It takes a while for this to happen (like months), but it will happen.  (By the way, a better goal is to stop eating when you feel “not empty” rather than waiting for “full”; still working on that goal.)

2014 Aug 2 006

I’m so excited about kale, you can see my dental work!

Years ago I had my neighbor over for dinner and she said she felt “stuffed” after her second piece of pizza.  Stuffed?  I was doing my best to limit myself to three slices!  I could fit four or five before I felt “stuffed”.  Now I feel “good” full after two slices of pizza and bad “stuffed” if I take a third.  (I normally stop at two.)  Her brain and my brain were trained to say “full” at different stomach capacities.  (And yes, she’s a petite blond bombshell.)

When you look at the food on your plate, especially if it’s less than the amount you’re used to eating, what problem comes to mind?  I’m going to be hungry in two hours! (News flash! I feel hungry two hours later no matter how much or how little I eat!)  Don’t fear the hunger; you know it’s coming, so be ready.  Eat TWO fists of fruits or veggies as a snack.

By the way, I push vegetables rather than fruit simply because fruit has more sugar and therefore more calories.  Fruit is good.  Very very good.  Eat fruit when you crave something sweet, but vegetables are our new best friend.  Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?  My definition is this: if you wouldn’t bake it into a pie, it’s a veggie.

So, a meal is TWO fists of regular food and TWO fists of veggies.  A snack is ONE or TWO fists of produce.  Slow down as you eat and enjoy what’s on your plate.  (More on that later.)

Okay, math majors!  When does TWO plus TWO not equal four?

When they add up to negative numbers on the scale!

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:12, NIV)

Tortoise Wins With Substitutions

tortoise-hareMost of us want to eat healthier than we do now and in general there are two ways to go about it: the Tortoise and the Hare. The Hare jumps in with both feet: throw out the junk food, learn to cook tofu, and say goodbye to bread, dairy, sugar, fat, and caffeine. The Hare is quick and passionate and her way works well unless you really want to eat bread, dairy, sugar, fat, and caffeine. It’s hard to say goodbye forever. I prefer to say “I need some space! But we can still be friends so don’t leave town.”

The second way to eat healthier is the way of the Tortoise. You take one step at a time towards healthier eating, plodding along with good decision after good decision until one day you look back and see that you’ve moved leaps and bounds. I’m not going to call them baby steps because they can be big steps, just taken one at a time.

Food substitutions are one of those big steps you can take toward better health. Simply substitute a healthy food for an unhealthy food in your diet. Here are some examples to get you going:


-Pure maple syrup for fake syrup: Most pancake syrups are high fructose corn syrup with some flavoring added. Pure maple syrup is just as sweet, but has the added benefits of antioxidants, riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Pure maple syrup is a concentrated form of the sap of maple trees. That sap is the tree’s food so sap—and therefore syrup—has all the good stuff a tree needs to grow.

maple-syrup-pouring-spoon-white-background-34723030The taste of real syrup is a little different than the fake stuff. If your kids balk at change, try mixing the real and fake maple syrups. I started with a 50:50 ratio mixed in a squeeze bottle. Each time the mixture bottle ran out of syrup, I filled it with a slightly higher ratio of pure syrup to fake: 60:40, 70:20, etc. until I eventually set out that same bottle with pure maple syrup and my kids didn’t notice. Pure maple syrup is more expensive, but your kids will be pouring minerals and antioxidants on their pancakes; totally worth it. To use less syrup, give each kid a small bowl of syrup and have them dip each bite of pancake into the bowl. No more cries of “my syrup is gone! I need more!” as it soaks into the pancake.


– Whole wheat flour for white flour: white or all purpose flour has most of wheat’s goodness sucked out of it. Add that goodness back into your baked goods by substituting half of the white flour in a recipe with whole wheat flour.


– Lettuce, chard, or steamed cabbage leaves for tortillas: tortillas are yummy, but they’re also surprisingly high in calories; a medium tortilla has the same calories as two slices of bread. If you’re trying to figure out how to cut a few hundred extra calories per day, tortillas are a good place to experiment.


– Avocado for cheese: I love the texture of gooey cheese on a sandwich or in a salad. Avocado gives me that creamy happy-mouth feeling but with healthy fats.


2014 Aug angry birds 015-Veggies for noodles: noodles are delicious, but most of the time they’re smothered in some sort of sauce and we can’t taste them, so why not smother vegetables instead? Layer sliced eggplant in your lasagna, grate zucchini into your ziti, and sauté some thinly sliced cabbage for spaghetti sauce and meatballs.


-Cauliflower for rice: Food process raw cauliflower until it looks like rice grains and then sauté it for a few minutes. Serve it the same way you serve rice. You can ease your family into the idea by making regular rice and mixing the two. “The rice tastes funny tonight, Mom.” Yes, it does, son. It’s muscle building rice. When you eat it, your muscles grow.


The Hare and the Tortoise both made it to the finish line and that’s important. Don’t despair if you’re not a Hare; Tortoises take longer to get healthy, but we get there nonetheless. Slow and steady wins the race.


“The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone; the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars.” Isaiah 9:10 (NIV)


Please leave a comment below if you have a substitution idea. I want to learn what’s worked for you!


Images courtesy of: (tortoise and hare), (syrup)

Dear Jane Letter

dear Jane letter illustrationsIt’s not you, it’s me. I’m no good for you. They say size doesn’t matter, but I’m just too big. You need someone smaller.

I know, I know, we’ve been together since that sale in ’04, but it’s time you moved on, looked for someone new. You have a lot to offer: spacious cabinets, a working dishwasher. You’ll be okay, Kiddo. You’ll be better than okay.

I have a 12” diameter, for crying out loud! The box said “dinner plate” but I’ve always felt more like a serving platter. A 10 incher would be good for you. 34.5 fewer square inches—that’s the volume of four slices of bread. Truth be told, I could see you happy with a slim 8” model.

dear Jane letter illustrations_0001Salad, shmalad, if you put dinner on it, it’s a dinner plate, right? An 8” plate would hold less than half the volume that I do. Less than half!

You won’t miss me. You won’t notice the difference after a few days, but your body will.

Is there someone else? Not yet, no, but there’s the dream of someone else—like a sumo wrestler or a teenage boy.


Make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal: holy to the Lord. Exodus 28:36 (NIV)