Day 1: Kicking Off

By Tami Fertig January 3, 2012 Categories: 7-Day Portion Control Challenge

Join associate editor Tami Fertig on a 7-day challenge to reset her sense of proper portions. Sign up to receive the daily challenge newsletters here and be sure to read the magazine story that inspired the challenge here.

So long mindless eating, hello VT’’s 7-Day Portion-Control Challenge! Wanna join me on an adventure to reset my sense of proper portions? Something tells me we’re all going to need a little support and guidance to stick this week out.

See, despite what you might expect from a VT editor, I don’’t always have model eating habits.  I can’t resist a craving for lasagna, mac and cheese, cupcakes, and cookies. If this stuff crosses my path, I will gobble it up.

But not this week. I’’m going to try my darndest to abstain from anything not on the VT meal plan. (Well, except maybe baby carrots. “Vegging out” is allowed.)

In the spirit of the challenge, I even bypassed free samples at the supermarket while picking up groceries yesterday (check out the printable shopping list!). It was surprisingly easy too. I simply ate lunch beforehand, packed walnuts for the road, and treated myself to a tasty green smoothie near the register. So far, so good!

My fridge is now packed with veggies of every shape and color. All I have to do is start cooking. (My plan is to assemble several casseroles today and freeze them for later in the week.) I’’m super-excited but also a little scared. On day one, I’’m supposed to limit myself to one wedge of luscious-sounding Tortilla Lasagna. Will I go back for seconds? Check back manana.

How about you, readers? Have you started the challenge? Join the chat with your stories, tips, questions, and concerns so far!

—To sign up for the 7-Day Portion Control daily newsletter, visit the main page.
—Get the full 7-day meal plan.
—Read the magazine story that inspired the challenge, The Get Real Diet.
—Check out the Serving Savvy Cheat Sheet.


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What is first step in giving up the old eating way - you know, meat, veggies, etc. I don't even know the difference in vegetarian and vegan. Am I missing the introduction? I've just subscribed to the magazine. Maybe instructions will be in the magazine. Am definitely interested in your delightful recipes and way of eating. Thanks. Olga Oliver

Olga Oliver - 2013-12-20 19:56:56

Ok, I am on deck....

Mattea - 2013-07-31 13:44:02

I'm very excited for the challenge! Thanks so much!

Laura Adams - 2013-05-01 19:12:40

Love your Tortilla Lasagna. I actually made a Mexican Lasagna (with no tortilla) this past weekend. It was delicious. Can't wait to do the 7 day portion challenge.

Lulu - 2013-01-24 15:56:54

I opened the email about this thinking it said POISON control, not PORTION control! Hahaha! Now that I've cleaned my glasses and read further, might I suggest that if you are constantly craving "lasagna, mac and cheese, cupcakes, and cookies" that you may have an issue with WHEAT? Several months ago, I experimented with my diet by giving up wheat. Yes, it takes some intense label-reading (ask any celiac) but within a week or so, my craving for those things pretty much disappeared. (You can always pick up a gluten-free item upon occasion.) Now, if I could only find a way to get rid of the craving for those salty, crunchy snacks...

Debra - 2013-01-24 14:58:47

Thanks so much! great idea for teaching portion control and including a menu with snacks- such a big help

Tanya - 2012-01-17 19:22:58

You can substitute vegan cheese for the cauliflower Mac and Cheese.

Karen Roth,Holistic Nutritionist - 2012-01-17 14:49:59

Good choices for beverages include tea, sparkling water, kombucha, coconut water, and of course filtered water.

***Karen Roth, Holistic Nutritionist*** - 2012-01-17 14:48:21

Like others, I'm vegan and not skinny so I have surmised that it must be a portion issue. I do pretty well with WHAT I eat but think I eat too much of it. If other vegans want to be in touch, my email is msred5 at gmail dot com. Cheers!

Karen Beth - 2012-01-17 12:30:12

I really connected when you said you were a "little bit scared". I decided just this week to go from being a vegetarian, to a "full blown" vegan. The prospect is just as you described - exciting but also a little scary!

Wendi - 2012-01-17 10:25:37

Ab: The meal plan can be easily veganized. Simply choose tofu over eggs, replace butter with vegan spread, swap out Greek yogurt for organic soy- or coconut-based yogurt, and opt for vegan cheese.

***Tami Fertig, VT Associate Editor*** - 2012-01-16 13:17:48

Thank you so much for this challenge. Portion control is always been a challenge for me and with your motivation over the next seven days, it will be on the forefront of my mind and hopefully become a regular part of my life. We can do this!

Jill - 2012-01-16 12:50:12

I find the portions to be too much for me to eat at one meal..or did i miss the fine print that says the portions are for more than 1 person..jajaaa. Now my husband is unwittingly doing the 7 Day Challenge with me. His part of the diet does include 2 IPAs as a beverage. :)

Susan - 2012-01-16 12:49:07

The menu is for 1600 calories per day - I'm short and trying to lose weight too. This is too many calories - I only need about 1200. Just omit the 2 snacks?

Stellaj - 2012-01-16 11:47:34

I am a lifetime member of weight watchers but like many diet plans the needs of Vegetarians and vegans are not really considered. Therefore, its really easy to fall into a dependence on carbs.This will help me keep on track. THANKS!!! Also, there is are plenty of people that think vegans and vegetarians can't have a weight issue. This is so untrue. As soon as I received my copy of VT I started and felt lighter. I am looking forward to the challenge.

Kisha - 2012-01-16 08:04:47