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100 Days of restart - Day 20: Half-off special

Jenn J

Day 20: Half-off special

When you are the cook, you can usually take charge of your serving amounts. But away from home, this gets a lot more difficult. You need an easy but accurate way to monitor your food intake when you can't measure anything.

Half-off special

For an easy way to manage your serving sizes on an ongoing basis, use a concept called the half-off special. That simply means eat half as much as you normally would, or take half of the amount you actually want.

For example, when you're having lasagna, picture the large serving you'd usually eat, then take half that much. If you want a cookie, divide it into two pieces, and then eat only one of them.

At lunchtime, cut your usual sandwich in half, and then add a piece of fruit to complete your meal. If you don't feel totally satisfied after eating half a sandwich, save the rest of it for at least two hours, then decide if you still need it.

The "half-off" approach works especially well at banquets or meals that involve several courses. By eating half of each food item, you get to appreciate all of the tastes but don't leave the table feeling stuffed.

Here are a few more ideas for monitoring serving amounts. Decide you won't go back for seconds-ever. Even when you're at family-style dinners or buffets, take food only once. If you crave seconds, you're probably hooked on the taste of the food rather than needing more fuel.

With foods such as pizza or snack items, determine your serving size before you even start eating. Unless you are extremely active, a good serving amount for pizza is two slices if you're female, three if you're male.

Don't worry about whether it's a medium or a large pizza. By setting a limit on the number of slices, you've got a built-in measurement for every size and type. If you're still hungry after finishing your designated serving, reach for a salad or a few raw vegetables instead of more pizza.

Hunger or emotions?

Sometimes the "half-off" concept may feel awkward and even unsatisfying. If you try eating half of your food but you can't stop yourself from finishing it off, take a close look at your emotional needs. Maybe something else in your life requires attention or needs to be filled.

You'll learn more about emotional eating in the days ahead. For now, learn to recognize whether it's your body or your head that still wants food. Then take care of what really needs to be addressed.


Divide several of your food items in half, then eat only that much.

Do this half-off special with at least five foods.

In your journal, record the foods you ate along with how it felt to leave half of the food behind.

The opinions expressed on this forum may not represent the opinions of Please consult your physician to determine the weight, nutrition and exercise levels that are best for you.