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Day 3: Measuring Up

Day 3: Measuring Up

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

On Day 2, I counted out and measured just about everything in sight. Not once did I approximate a tablespoon of oil or grab nuts straight from the bag.

Did you know a proper portion of pecan halves fits perfectly in your palm? I think I could probably eat three or four palmfuls in one sitting. Eye-opening stuff!

Sure, there’'s something less than glamorous about scooping a homemade meal into a measuring cup, but I did get a pleasant surprise come dinnertime: a cup of yummy Mac-and-Cheese-Style Cauliflower is a lot more filling than it sounds. I only regretted not having dessert afterward.

Still, none of this compares to the challenge I face today. It'’s recipe-testing day at the VT office; we're sampling five tasty recipes for an upcoming issue. It’'s my job to jot down scores and clean up the leftovers. (I often do this by eating them.) Should I sit this one out? No, can'’t neglect my duties. I'’ll just try limiting myself to a nibble of each.

Another random thought: While I loved bringing snacks and a veggie wrap to work yesterday, I had to get up extra-early to prepare them. I think I'’ll start doing this sort of thing the night before, so I can sleep in a little later.

What'’s everyone else’s biggest challenge so far? Chat about it!

—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.


Comments on this Blog

Yes I was also wondering what happened to the daily blogs after day 3? No emails to keep me on track!

Yeah I learned last year that I needed to make lunch making easier for me. Forget the morning putting things together. I prefer to cook on Sunday for the week, with my favorite music in the background. I make my grains and chop/dice/wash greens and get a dedicated section of the fridge ready for me to make lunches. The night before each workday I prep/dish as much as I can in containers and keep it in my travel tote in the fridge. Then in the morning I add the stuff that needs to be gathered fresh/prepared and and go...with my cup of coffee or green tea in tow. A routine makes taking healthy work lunches a much easier task.

Mid afternoon hunger is my biggest temptation also! I try to keep a bag of almonds or a healthy granola/nut bar nearby to munch on after I finish my teaching day. That usually keeps me from snacking while I'm prepping dinner.

If you get hungry before dinnertime, you can always "veg out." Grab a handful of baby carrots, or munch on some celery. You can pretty much eat raw veggies with abandon!

My biggest challenge is snacking while I cook or prepare meals. I always seem to "snitch" a bite (or several bites) of whatever I'm chopping or munch some pita chips while I'm preparing dinner. Of course by the time I serve dinner I'm full...

Good words! Thanks for all your helpful tips! I have to make my lunch the day ahead, too, and I have now even started laying out my breakfast stuff so I can have a relaxing morning. It REALLY helps to plan.

I like reading the ways in which Tami you organize your weekend and day to be mindful of cooking healthy recipes and having gorceries on hand to stay on track.

I got of a couple of extra measuring cups and I put a 1/3 cup scoop in my granola since that's the serving size and 1 put the 1/4 scoop in the cereal. The most surprising thing to me was that a tablespoon of creamer is not that much at all. I'm going to have to down size my coffee cup. Sand

How many people is the shopping list meant to feed?

Being an addict for the old fashioned peanut butter, it was ridiculously difficult to moderate portions. And to be honest, peanut butter is good for you, when you can moderate it, but when you eat half the container in a sitting, then it just turns to pure fat. Ration out single (or even half) sized portions, along with a full glass of water, has been helpful to me, then put the full container in the cupboard, preferably way up high. Also for those items taht you want to savor, do just that. Eat them and do NOTHING else. Savor the way the food feels in the mouth, enjoy the smell, the taste, the texture. Eat slowly and mindfully. Then portion control is much easier. Also, I've found that implementing a rule to ONLY eat sitting down has been helpful. In order to graze in the kitchen, you have to be standing..

I'm running out of room in the fridge for the dishes that are "continued" on another day.

My biggest challenge occurs from afternoon through evening. Breakfast and lunch seem to go pretty smoothly. But starting around 4, hunger hits and I somehow feel licensed to snack on lots of different foods, then taste my way through cooking dinner, then have 2 portions for dinner. I am curious to see if today's high protein yogurt with blueberries will get me through. Then, it's girl's night out, so I have to really be disciplined at dinner!

Mel and Gardengal: We haven't given up on you! Unfortunately, we're having some technical difficulties with our e-mail system, which is why some unlucky subscribers haven't been getting their newsletters. Rest assured you can read all the blog posts on our Web site (, as well as check out the meal plan, shopping list, and portion-control cheat sheet (

I thought the long grocery list and large amount in the recipes wouldn't work for me. But...I was wrong. I am enjoying this. However, I haven't gotten a daily email since the 17th. Did you give up on me???

My biggest challenge is consuming enough calories without going over on sugar (it seems like it's in EVERYTHING!) and protein. I'm always way low on sodium, which is good in my opinion.

I'm afraid I'll be a week behind y'all! The formidable shopping list has to wait till I finish off my current perishables. However, I'm doing my best to equate VT's portion control dogma to all my the challenge or not. Thanks for getting me focused!