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#89 – What’s the ideal portion size for meals, how to eat slower, and why you shouldn’t overeat. With Alexis Gerdes!

Welcome back to another episode of the Waist Away podcast! This week we’re interviewing another thin eater. Our guest is Alexis Gerdes. She shares with us her secrets for not overeating, how she eats her favorite snack, why portion control is important. Enjoy!

audio version: https://chantelray.podbean.com/e/wa89/ 

video version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWhv3M2EGLw&feature=youtu.be

 

Chantel:           Hey guys, welcome to this week’s podcast. And we are so excited because I am interviewing a thin eater. All of you know that I like to interview people who have been thin. They don’t really struggle with their weight and they’ve kind of figured out what the secret sauce is to staying thin. And so, welcome on our show. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Alexis:              Yes, thanks for having me, Chantel. So, I’m Alexis Curtis and I live in Virginia Beach. I have two daughters and a dog named Lemon, a Golden Doodle. So adorable. And yes. So, I grew up here. Hometown.

Chantel:           My pastor at church, sometimes he’ll say something about, he’ll joke and he’ll say something about Golden Doodles. He always says that. It’s so cute, ’cause Golden Doodles are like the new in dog right now. Like, they say like if you’re anybody, that anyone has a Golden Doodle right now.

Alexis:              It’s the best because they don’t shed, and they’re great family dogs. They play with my daughters.

Chantel:           Yes, they’re so sweet. That’s so sweet. That’s a cute name, too, Lemon. I like that.

Alexis:              She’s an all black dog, too. So, I call her Lemon.

Chantel:           So, I want you to talk to us a little bit about, one of the things that people who are not thin eaters struggle with is overeating. And so, if you had to say, do you feel like you ever overeat? Or what do you kind of say to yourself to help you not overeat?

Alexis:              So, to help myself not overeat? I usually just think about portions. And we’ve had to work a lot with our daughter, teaching her about portions. So, it’s kind of practice what you preach thing in our house. I think that’s the main point that I make.

Chantel:           So, do you do-

Alexis:              I honestly don’t put as much effort into planning out my meals and doing that. My husband’s always giving me a hard time about it. So, I think thin people can also overeat.

Chantel:           Well, the thing is is that most of the people that I have interviewed, I would say somewhere between, some people eat smaller portions and they’re more like 60% of what they eat is really clean and 40% is not. And then, some people are 80% clean and 20% not. But again, it all depends on your portion size. So, if you want to eat cleaner your portions can be a little bit bigger. If you want to not eat as clean, you’re going to eat smaller portions.

Chantel:           So, talk to us about what does your typical lunch look like?

Alexis:              Typical lunch would be a salad with lots of fruit on it. Light dressing, some sort of vinegarette dressing, along with chicken, not fried chicken, but grilled chicken. And the only time I had to have fried chicken was when I was pregnant with Scarlett. So, that was the biggest craving I had.

Chantel:           So, do you feel like you eat a salad most days for lunch or is that kind of your go to is salad for lunch?

Alexis:              Most days? Salad, yes. So, I eat a really light lunch. I’m usually busy, on the go. I do a lot of appointments during lunchtime, presenting to different offices. So, that’s the time where I don’t want to have anything in my teeth. They’re kind of taking this time out to listen to what I have to talk about. So, they do the eating.

Chantel:           So if you had to estimate on the size of what your salad looks like when you’re eating it, would you say it’s one fist, two fist, four fist, six fist? Like, how big of a portion would you say your salad looks like?

Alexis:              I would say two fists.

Chantel:           Okay. So, just two fists. Do you feel like you eat fast or do you feel like you eat slow?

Alexis:              So, I’m glad you said that. So, in terms of, yes, if I eat fast or feed slow, it depends on the context of what I’m doing at the time. So, if I’m around people and I’m talking, we all know I love to talk, that case, I’m not going to eat as fast. But if I’m alone, eating by myself, I will eat super fast because I want to get onto the next thing that I have to do.

Chantel:           Okay. So if you had to estimate, like with that salad, if you were having lunch with somebody, and you said you eat about two fistfuls, how long would it take you to eat that salad?

Alexis:              Probably about 15 minutes.

Chantel:           Okay. Do you feel-

Alexis:              Depending that I’m also eating other items as well on the plate.

Chantel:           So, describe in detail, I know it’s kind of weird, but if you had to describe in detail how you eat your salad, describe that to me.

Alexis:              So, if I have to describe in detail how I eat my salad, I would say that I used a fork, unlike my two year old. She does not like to use a fork when she eats her salad. So, I use a fork and I will eat between and I’ll talk as I’m eating my salad. So, just slowly eat it, but I’m not going to just scarf it down like it’s pizza or something like that. That’s kind of how I do it. I don’t put a lot of thought into it when I’m doing it so, I have to kind of think back right now and think through it.

Chantel:           Do you feel like you chew your food pretty well?

Alexis:              Yes. But if I’m starving, I’m going to go a lot quicker and I could slow down more. And I catch myself doing it, especially when I’m parenting and throughout dinner, we eat as a family at the dinner table every night. So when we’re doing that, I’m watching my daughter and correcting her own things, I tend to try to practice what I preach.

Chantel:           And so, most of the people that I’ve interviewed, they eat a small lunch and they eat a medium sized dinner. The thinnest people that I’ve interviewed eat a small lunch and a medium dinner. And I know I had talked with you earlier and you said you actually also eat a small breakfast. So, talk to me about for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, what size would you say your meals are?

Alexis:              Well and after speaking to you, I kind of realized when you talk about size of meals, I think it depends on the perspective.

Chantel:           What you think is. Yeah, that’s true.

Alexis:              What I consider small and what I consider big because when I described it to you, it actually sounded more of a smaller portion, where I thought it was larger than that. From my perspective, in the morning, I’m the hungriest.

Chantel:           Okay.

Alexis:              So, I love breakfast. That’s never changed. I was explaining to you earlier that when I wake up, I’m starving. If I pass that time of hunger, then I’m not going to eat. So, I’ve kind of like lost that, but usually, I’ll wake up, I’ll eat maybe toast or oatmeal, and get the kids ready for school. So, a little distracted there. Usually I will finish it if I wake up earlier and I’m not distracted by children.

Alexis:              But lunchtime, definitely smaller meal, and then dinnertime, medium.

Chantel:           Okay. So, if you had to describe it, you’d say for breakfast, you eat something small. For lunch, you eat something small. And then for dinner, you have a medium sized dinner. So, talk to me about what your dinners look like?

Alexis:              So, when my husband’s home, he loves to cook. So for in terms of dinner-

Chantel:           You’re so lucky. You’re so lucky. I get my husband to cook one time a year. He does a Valentine’s dinner and he does it from start to finish and he does a great job, but he doesn’t enjoy doing it, and it’s literally like pulling teeth to get him to do it.

Alexis:              So, we had to bargain before we got married. I like to clean. So I said, “I’ll clean the house, you cook the dinners,” but he always cooks.

Chantel:           Is he a good cook?

Alexis:              He’s a fantastic cook. He’s really good.

Chantel:           Good.

Alexis:              But he does joke. He wondered how I ever survived in college by myself and living on my own. It’s like, what did you eat? How did you do this? He’s gone a lot. Work has some traveling pretty often. So when that’s the case, kind of try to plan out my meals when I go to the grocery store. And my mom, she also watches my daughter, so she helps out a lot. She loves to cook as well. So kind of have-

Chantel:           So when he’s home, what is a typical meal that he’ll make?

Alexis:              So, chicken, grilled chicken. We do that. And a salad or always some sort of vegetable, and then or fruit and/or. And then also some pasta. Our girls love pasta so it’s kind of hard to get away from that. So, some sort of pasta in that case and the protein.

Chantel:           So, if you were going to eat pasta, if you had to describe it, would you say you have one fistful of pasta, two fistfuls, half a fistful, like couple bites of pasta? What does that look like for you?

Alexis:              So, if I were going to eat pasta in terms of size, how much I would eat? It really depends on the other items that are on my plate. I’ve been saying that a lot, but it does. So, if I have chicken, I have salad, and I have some pasta there, I’m going to just do a fistful because I have other items I’m eating. But if it’s, let’s say spaghetti, our daughter loves spaghetti, so we’ll do that. Loves spaghetti nights. In that case, we’ll have salad and spaghetti, and usually it’s a bowlful. Okay? So, I’ll eat all that. And then-

Chantel:           So, would you say about two fistfuls?

Alexis:              Probably two.

Chantel:           And then, how about your salad? So, would that be like a fistful of salad?

Alexis:              Definitely. Well, I always feel like because I eat my salad at lunch, I did so good then, I like to kind of splurge. And usually, this is following a gym workout. So, I like to work out at night. I’m not a big morning person, so I do my workouts in the evening. When I follow into my workout, I’m ready to eat at that point.

Chantel:           How often do you work out?

Alexis:              So, I wish I would be doing it a lot more than I have been recently, but usually about two to three times a week. So ideally-

Chantel:           And what is your workout consist of?

Alexis:              So, I do Pilates on Sunday. Every Sunday now I’m after church. I have a partner that I do Pilates with. We have a great trainer at Inlet Fitness. Taylor, she’s amazing. Give her some props there. My butt’s never looked so good. So, yes. I do that with her and it’s fun. It’s more of like a conversation with my friend, just the two of us, and we’re catching up, and the hour will go by and I’m like, “Wow, we just worked out?”

Alexis:              She definitely pushes you, and you feel it the next day. You’re sore. But I always do that; and then, I love to run. If I could do anything it would just be running. So I ran in high school and college.

Chantel:           And how often would you say?

Alexis:              Long distance runner. So in terms of how often I run, usually if I’m going to the gym, it’s not a Yin Yoga class or hot yoga class or Pilates on Sunday, I’m there to run. So, I’ll run on the treadmill. I run fast and hard. I have one speed, my husband always says. So even when I’m wearing heels, I’m like just all over the place. I’ll usually do at least 5k when I’m doing that. So, 3.1 miles or more; then, I’ll add hills at the end, depending on. Sometimes I’ll do yoga if I have time and I don’t have to go pick up the kids, maybe it’s a Saturday, and that my husband’s letting me partake in that.

Alexis:              I will do a workout and some sort of like Yin or yoga workout. And then if I’m feeling great, because I’ve stretched out all my muscles, then I’ll jump on there and run some more.

Chantel:           Okay. Great. So, let’s talk about what is your favorite sweet treat? Like when you’re like, “Oh, I just need something sweet right now,” and describe what you eat and how you it.

Alexis:              So, my go to favorite treat would have to be sour gummies. So, gummy worms and sour gummies.

Chantel:           Okay. So, describe how you eat it and as detailed as you can.

Alexis:              It’s usually a full on experience. So if I go to Tj Maxx, they have the best gummy bears. So, if you guys are looking for a go to, I recommend it. Don’t go down the aisle when you’re checking out. They do that on purpose, strategically putting all that stuff there. So, I grabbed those, I’ll grab regular gummy bears, and then I’ll grab Sour Patch Kids, that sort of thing, except there’s like the organic version of it. So, I’ll grab that and then head up to my car after I did all my great shopping experience.

Alexis:              And then, I will open up the bag and I’d buy them both on purpose. So, it’s very intentional. I have the sour gummies, which I absolutely love. I will take one out of the bag, put it in my mouth, I’ll eat it, enjoy it, maybe have a sip of water, and then I will have the gummy bear right after it because it offsets set sour taste.

Chantel:           And do you feel like you are you actually just taking one gummy bear fully chewing it and chewing it in your mouth? Or would you say you’re just taking a handful of gummies?

Alexis:              Definitely not a handful. Could you imagine all the sour taste? No, I’ll just take one at a time. And then, I’ll just probably have like five in my car and then get home, I’ll hide those in the pantry so my daughter doesn’t see them or she’ll want to eat them all. So, that’s usually the way.

Chantel:           Great. Awesome. So, if you are listening to this podcast, I’d love for you to go to our YouTube channel and watch it because you can see how beautiful Alexis is. She has the perfect body. I mean, just drop dead gorgeous. Anyone who would want to see it. So, you can get motivated by just watching her.

Chantel:           Now, let’s talk about just your hunger scale. How do you know when you’re hungry and how do you know when you’re full?

Alexis:              So in terms of hunger scale, I would say, we’re so fortunate that we’re not starving. We have food at our disposal whenever we want it. I would say I kind of eat when I’m hungry. We plan our meals, we have the morning, lunch, and dinner time meals, and snack in between. But hunger scale, I mean, I’m never starving because I think it’s usually around the time that we’re about to eat that I had that opportunity to eat something.

Alexis:              So, it’s so funny because you think so much further when it comes to meal planning. When I was speaking to my husband last night about coming on here and doing this podcast with you, he laughed at me. So he’s like, “Alexis, you are the last person to be giving advice about nutrition and eating.” Yeah, not my intuitive.

Chantel:           Well, honestly the thing is, is that as I’ve interviewed different people, I noticed that a lot of people, they don’t focus as much on how clean it is that I’m eating. They really focus on their portion size, and they just say, I’m going to eat what I really want to eat and what is my body craving? But they’re eating what their body is craving and they’re mostly focused on how big is their portion size. Would you agree with that?

Alexis:              I would agree. So portion size I think is really important and I think, especially now, I was explaining earlier about trends. And right now, fitness and just being organized, and keeping track of your meals, and just being healthy overall, that’s a big trend. That’s just what’s in right now. So, everyone’s a lot more health conscious.

Alexis:              I think that’s also reflective in my life as well, and our family life. So, just thinking about what we’re putting in our body because essentially, that’s going to reflect how you feel and your motivation, your workouts, how well you’re going to perform

Chantel:           Even if you think about like a salad, let’s say we went to Cheesecake Factory for a salad.

Alexis:              I just did with my dad. He loves it there. Yes.

Chantel:           Okay. What’d you get?

Alexis:              So, I got the salmon.

Chantel:           Okay. So, if you look at their salads online, their salads, a lot of them are about a thousand calories in one salad, and they just have so much stuff in them in their portion sizes are huge. Right? So, if you were going to get a big salad from, and you kind of know the portion size that they give you at Cheesecake Factory, it’s probably at least six fistful of food, if not more.

Alexis:              Now, just a lunch portion size? Usually at lunchtime, I always order the portion size. And I don’t think there often I just happened to be there.

Chantel:           Well usually, their dinner menu, they’ll have a big salad. It’s probably about, if I had to guess, about six fistful. So, how much of that salad, if you were going to get a dinner size salad there, would you eat?

Alexis:              So, we’re talking about a dinner size salad? And I want to be completely honest, I would not be ordering a salad from there.

Chantel:           Perfect. Okay. So, what would you order? What would you like to order?

Alexis:              Depending on the restaurant, I am not as familiar with their dinner menu, but I would probably do a fish.

Chantel:           Okay.

Alexis:              ‘Cause I really enjoyed their salmon that night. So, some sort of fish and they paired it with broccoli and they also paired it with mashed potatoes.

Chantel:           Okay.

Alexis:              It was all great. Ate all the salmon, did not eat all the potatoes, only had a few bites, but this was at lunchtime.

Chantel:           Okay.

Alexis:              If it was the evening, I may have eaten it. I probably would have eaten it all. I’m a lot hungrier in the evening.

Chantel:           Yeah, because at night you’re eating more of a medium size portion.

Alexis:              Exactly. I would probably not order just a salad for dinner.

Chantel:           Good. Okay. That’s great. So for lunch, you ordered the salmon, you ate all of the salmon, you ate all of the vegetable.

Alexis:              I did not eat all the vegetables. It wasn’t my favorite.

Chantel:           Okay.

Alexis:              So, probably need some butter.

Chantel:           Okay.

Alexis:              So, it was definitely the healthy portion.

Chantel:           Okay. That’s really good. If you don’t like it describe, do you eat it? So, that’s a perfect example. You were like, “Okay, I don’t really like this. I’m not going to eat it.” Talk about that for just a second.

Alexis:              So, things have changed. So, we adopted my oldest child. Gosh, it’s been almost, I guess, four and a half years ago we adopted her. And since then, it’s just been, we’ve been full on parents and it’s different. So, you kind of have to hold yourself accountable to those same standards with them. Now, we eat dinner at the table every night and it’s very formal. So in that sense, I’m teaching her how to use her manners and how to eat properly at the dinner table every night because it becomes a habit. Right?

Alexis:              And then, that’s going to be reflective on how she acts at someone’s house. She was over at her friend’s house for dinner. And so with that, I’m really thinking through those things, and thinking about my portion size, and thinking of that. But before, I wouldn’t have done that, if that makes sense. So back in college, I would’ve eaten whenever I wanted without any real direction.

Chantel:           But what I’m saying is if you don’t like something, would you say-

Alexis:              Oh, no I would not have brought it up around my daughters. So sorry about that.

Chantel:           If I don’t like it, are you going to make me eat it?

Alexis:              If it’s just me right there and my daughter’s not looking at me, I would totally not eat it. But if I just didn’t cook the chicken well or I just overdid it and it was burnt and disgusting, yes. I’d probably say, “No one has to eat this chicken.” But if I don’t like it, I’m probably not going to eat it. But at dinner with my daughter, we’d like her to try new things. So, that’s where that comes in.

Chantel:           If you said, if I did overeat at all even a little bit, it would be once a month, once every three months, or would you say, you know what? I’ve really got it dialed in. I kind of know I don’t want to eat more than this amount because I know that’s going to keep me full.

Alexis:              When it comes to overeating, I would probably say once or twice a month.

Chantel:           You just happen to eat a little bit more than?

Alexis:              Yes. I love pizza.

Chantel:           Okay.

Alexis:              That’s how we leave the house. “I love you more than pizza.” So, I’ve always been a big fan. When it comes to that and my daughters, they just love pasta, they love pizza. It’s the worst thing for parents who are getting older and not as, it’s harder to say thin these days. But they love it.

Alexis:              When we order that, it’s really hard for me to control the portions.

Chantel:           Okay. So, how often do you even order pizza? You would say probably once or twice a month, that’s when you order it and you feel like maybe on those days that you order it, you eat a little bit more than you maybe would like? But overall in general, do you like the feeling of being stuffed?

Alexis:              No, I don’t. That’s one thing we’re learning with our daughter as well. So, she’s taught me a lot of things. She would eat to the point where she was just sick. Stomach would hurt. And I don’t know if it was a combination of just actually being hungry at one point in her life, the first four and a half years of her life, or just when they got food, she had other siblings and maybe they were all fighting to get the food.

Alexis:              I don’t know exactly why behind that. She has a lot of comfort when it comes to food. Unless I’m eating a lot of pizza, I don’t really get to the point where I’m so full that I feel just gross and have a stomachache.

Chantel:           That’s a really good transition. So, do you ever feel like you run to food for comfort in any way?

Alexis:              I do. So when my husband’s deployed, yes I do. When I have the ability to sit down and the kids have gone to sleep and I’ve got all my work done and I get some me time, that’s where I make the mistake because I have a tendency if I stay up past, the normal bedtime and I’m watching Netflix and the kids are asleep, no one’s around to judge me, I’ll probably go downstairs and make some nachos.

Chantel:           Okay.

Alexis:              Or eat a cookie. Usually, something salty.

Chantel:           But that’s okay because when you say that, you’re saying you’re eating one cookie, it’s not like you’re going downstairs and you’re eating 10 cookies. Is that right?

Alexis:              That’s true

Chantel:           So, like, “Hey, I want something. I want something a little bit sweet. I’m going to do a little bit of indulging right now,” but when I am doing it, you’re eating one cookie.

Alexis:              Exactly.

Chantel:           Or if you’re going to eat nachos, are you eating one fistful of nachos, two fistfuls of nachos? What would you say?

Alexis:              So, if I was going to partake in eating some nachos, it really depends on the day. I mean, the time of day. So if it’s the evening, I’m probably going to eat more. I think it’s more of a habit at this point. And I’ve really, now that I’m reflecting on it, I’m recognizing these behaviors. So, this is really helpful to talk about, ’cause I usually don’t think through that part when it comes to portions.

Alexis:              But yeah, at nighttime, I would eat more, maybe a plateful, maybe have a few leftover. So the ones without cheese, maybe I wouldn’t eat them. But if it was lunchtime, I would probably just have a few. I wouldn’t overeat.

Chantel:           Awesome. Well, thanks so much for being on our show today and like I said, you would want to watch this show if you’re just listening. And if you have a question that you want answered, go to questions@chantelrayway.com.

Chantel:           We’ll see you next time. Bye Bye.

Alexis:              Thanks for having me.

 

 

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***As always, this podcast is not designed to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any condition and is for information purposes only. Please consult with your healthcare professional before making any changes to your current lifestyle.***