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Managing The Food

Last week I promised to start talking about the food itself more, as that is a really hard topic for most of us. All of us have different tolerances, preferences, and goals. We all need our own food plans that work for our bodies, minds, and spirits. So, let’s begin with generalities here and then I will bring it down to specifics.

First, I want to say, that we all need to use some portion control format with our food selections. Manufacturers do this automatically. If you want to buy some chicken or fish at the grocery, or crackers or potato chips, they have been weighed or measured. Many items have been divided into different portion sizes and the manufacturer’s expected serving size is on the label for you to see. Some foods, like fruits and vegetables, may be sold individually and then the amounts may vary a bit – think an apple versus a watermelon; a stalk of celery versus a bag of carrots.  And our portions may also be negotiable.

As we come into recovery, we admit that the food is a problem:  maybe too much or too little of certain foods; maybe avoidance of some; maybe excess or uncontrolled or uncontrollable amounts of others.

Past efforts at controlling food, eating, and body weight may have failed for a variety of reasons. One possible reason is what you have probably heard me say many times, “A diet is a period of starvation that happens right before you gain twenty pounds – or more,” When we have had repeated attempts at limiting the amounts of certain foods, and feeling hungry, underfed, and or under loved, we may really resist controlling portion sizes. And when a medical professional orders us to “eat more of this”, “quit eating that” “lose weight” “get your blood sugar down”, we may resist because we do not want to be inconvenienced, to be deprived of our favorite foods, to make changes in our schedules and behavior, to follow someone else’s food plan.

In my opinion, that is not the reason or the point of weighing and measuring foods in early recovery! Each of us needs a food plan that fits us well; that provides ALL the nutrients the body needs, that takes out troublesome foods till we can learn what to do with them. Often, we need to change the proportions of calories and nutrients to match our body’s needs better, or to account for some medical issues or our own tolerances.

And weeks, months, or years of eating uncontrolled and inappropriate amounts of food may have changed our ability to access or estimate the appropriate amounts.  And a new medical issue may require certain changes to be made.

So, try to shift from thinking “deprivation” to thinking “appropriate” “enough” “the right amount” about your portion sizes and see the weighing and measuring as a goal for information and healing for the body.

Weighing and measuring takes the guesswork out. I want my clients to have a food plan that does this reliably:  you are a little hungry about ten minutes before eating and satisfied when you are done eating.

Your perceptions, in the years you have been struggling, have been distorted. Now they are inaccurate, and you need to be recalibrated. Now how to do this easily, quickly comfortably?

If you haven’t weighed and measured your food ever, or for a long time, give yourself a week to practice HOW you can do this in a way that works for you. Then decide that you are going to weigh or measure EVERY FOOD you eat, for three or four weeks, so you can experience what works for you; and your brain’s eye can adjust to the correct serving size for you. Then you can decide, with the help of your sponsor, therapist, dietitian, or other trusted advisers, what you really need to do.

Get a scale that works for you. That you can put your plate on and still see the numbers. That doesn’t stand up a foot from the table. That doesn’t announce its presence to everyone in a two mile radius.

Find some measuring cups that look attractive to you, if you prefer to measure. And locate a nice sharp knife to help with portions.

Put the plate on the scale. Hit “Tare” to bring the number to zero. Put the first food on the plate. Weigh it. Fix it if it needs it. Hit “Tare” to bring the number back to zero. Put the second food on the plate; get the right amount. Hit “Tare” again to zero it. Put your third food on the plate and continue the process with each food till you’ve got all the needed foods on the plate.  Now slide the scale out from under the plate, fold it up, and enjoy your meal.

The real problem is the decision to surrender. To try a different way. You don’t want to have a scale control your portions. You have been too hungry in the past.  And you have probably been too full as well. You want to make a change. You want to find a way that works. So, experiment with this. Learn to lead yourself to freedom, and healing.

I promise you, this is the path to freedom. Finally, you can know how much the body needs from your food plan, and by weighing and measuring you can provide it. You can use the scale to move your body to your normal weight. You will always have enough and you will never have to worry or struggle about it again. Won’t that be a treat?

Please write a comment.  I am eager to know your thoughts about this blog.

Blessings to you,


6 Responses to Managing The Food

  1. Ed Rubin March 18, 2024 at 5:14 pm #

    Thank you Theresa. With your help I have weighed and measured my food for over 24 years I could not have done that without your help

    • H. Theresa Wright March 18, 2024 at 9:03 pm #

      24 years! What a miracle! I am so proud of you!

  2. Judi March 18, 2024 at 7:47 pm #

    Thank you. I needed this shot of encouragement. I realize I need the help of weighed and measured meals. It’s a gift to me to do this as true self care.

    • H. Theresa Wright March 18, 2024 at 9:02 pm #

      Thank you Judi. This truly is good self care.

  3. Deborah Tonnessen March 22, 2024 at 2:44 pm #

    Such a good long discussion to explain such an emotionally charged issue for food addiction. Thank you. I will reread this again and pray for the willingness to start this.

    • H. Theresa Wright March 22, 2024 at 3:33 pm #

      Thank you for your comment, Deborah – you made my day! Try starting with just one meals at a time. And remember – the goal is NOT deprivation, the goal is to have ENOUGH!

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