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Three Fail-Safe Solutions for Sensible Portions

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Three Fail-Safe Solutions for Sensible Portions

Summer is almost here and if you struggle with controlling your food portions today’s post has some excellent tips. This post by Lisa Salinger of Blind Alive was originally published on March 12, 1017.

“Portion Control!”

Does the mere mention of the term make you cringe? Controlling portions is difficult for everyone, but I believe it is even harder for people who are blind or have low vision. I’m here to give you some helpful tips so it doesn’t have to be such a chore. When faced with a situation where you are not sure how much to eat, there are three basic things you can do.

1. Do it Yourself

When you are preparing your meals at home, you have a great deal of control over your portion sizes. Though it may be tedious, I find it helpful to weigh and measure my food. I find an ice cream scoop with a lever especially useful for this purpose. The lever makes getting the food out an easier and quicker process.

You’ll want to confirm this is the case with the one you have, but generally, a level scoop contains one-fourth cup. You can also buy scoops for making cookies that are great for easily measuring condiments or smaller amounts of ingredients. I have a scoop that measures one tablespoon and is ideal for nut butters.

If you want to get the entire family involved, you can also buy serving spoons designed to measure in one half, three-fourths, and one cup sizes. I also have a few fourth or half cup containers with lids that are great for storing individually sized portions of snacks.

  • Don’t know how much of a specific food you should have?
    You can consult sites like My Fitness Pal, and Calorie King, which also have their own smart phone apps.
  • Just getting started?
    You might want to consult a nutritionist to learn about the amounts of various foods that might be best to eat.
  • Additional resources:
    • Contact a state agency or Association for the Blind. These agencies can connect you with a rehabilitation teacher to teach you how to weigh and measure your food.
    • Many of the catalogs with products for people with low vision sell talking kitchen scales and tactile measuring cups. To find serving sizes and calories in many packaged products, check out Directions for Me, which has an extensive database of foods.

2. Ask for Help

Though it takes some time to figure out portion servings when I am at home, the real trouble starts when I eat elsewhere. In those cases, I find I need to ask for help.

I might ask the server at a restaurant to suggest a meal that is on the smaller side, or I might order from the Senior Citizens’ menu. Generally, portion sizes at restaurants are nearly twice the size of what we need, or what we would eat at home.

If I can’t easily tell with my fork or a carefully placed finger, I may ask questions like, “Is that a half or a whole chicken breast?” I’ll also sometimes ask the server about how many ounces the entrée is if I haven’t already found that information on the menu. I often ask for a small to-go container to be brought with my meal. I try to save roughly a third to a half of what I’m having for lunch, with the exception that if they are separate, I eat all my vegetables with dinner.

3. Let it Go

Sometimes, you are eating at someone’s home, and maybe the food is unfamiliar. Or maybe it’s a buffet, and the order of the day is a dab of this and a bite of that.

Sometimes, the best you can do is to make the best choices you can and move on. While this shouldn’t be an everyday occurrence or give the rationale to be completely unrestrained, there’s also no point in obsessing over those things you don’t know and can’t change.

If you’re spending time with people you care about, let that be your focus, not how closely you stuck to your goals. If you choose more fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, then you have a bit more overall leeway.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that you are controlling the portions and making the decisions that will aid you in living your best and healthiest life.

If you have more suggestions for making portion control easier, please let us know. You can comment on our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, or subscribe to our informative chat list.

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The image is silverware, napkin and white dinner plate with a small portion of a chicken salad centered on the plate. A silver sauce-boat containing salad dressing is above the plate.

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Blindness, Self-Confidence, and Being Enough

Blindness, Self-Confidence, and Being Enough Featured Image Description is in the body of the post.

Today’s Guest Post was originally published on BlindAlive February 05, 2017 by Mel Scott

Being Enough What Does It Mean?

What does it mean to “be enough?” How does it feel? How will we know when we have reached that blissful state of “enoughness?”

These questions have been churning in my brain consciously for years, and probably subconsciously all my life. Well, I have been pondering on it long enough. I have some ideas that might help sort it out.

To say, “I am enough” is a very different statement than, “I have enough.” We can quantify “having enough:” there is enough food, shelter, or whatever it is that is required. “Being enough” is a bit more elusive. It is a state of mind. To be willing to say, “I am enough” and truly believe it, even for an instant, allows for a feeling of inner spaciousness; a peaceful expansion of consciousness.

I could easily tell you at this point to do twenty affirmations every day saying, “I am enough,” and eventually you will feel better. This absolutely can be an effective practice. I use it myself but I want to introduce another idea.

Are We Being Realistic In Our Expectations?

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation and the person said to me, “I am sad because I am not enough.” Usually, I might have said something like, “Of course you are, look at all the people you have helped and influenced over your lifetime.” There are a lot of dismissive remarks I could have made. This time, however, what shot out of my mouth was, “You are right! You are not enough and you never will be, so get over it!” I felt kind of shocked when it spilled out of me, but I realized the truth of the statement immediately.

How can any of us ever be “enough” when the To Do List is infinite? How can we be enough when we feel “less than” due to blindness, deafness, or a thousand other physical conditions, or when the size of our pants aren’t the size we have decided is the perfect one? How can we ever be enough when we measure ourselves by a superhero we have conjured up in our own minds? How can we be enough when the mark moves up as soon as we reach it?

We can’t! There is no way! Therefore, to be sad about not being enough means you will be sad about it the rest of your life. That does not work for me.

A Proposed Solution

The way I see it is I can either drop the thought, “I am not enough” and even drop the thought “I am enough.” They really are not useful because a measurement is inherent in both statements. I propose we drop them both. Can you imagine that? You never have to be enough again and you never will feel sad again because you are not enough. “Being enough” is no longer a measurement that applies to us.

How does that feel?

For me, a whole world of guilt-free possibilities just opened up. So much inner space can be created if we get over “being enough.” Let it go and observe how you feel. Take it in and you might breathe easier.

BlindAlive would love to hear your reactions to this post. You can comment on their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, or subscribe to their informative chat list.

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In the photo are 6 flat stones atop one another decreasing in size to convey balance. The stones are sitting on a rocky beach in the foreground. In the background is the ocean and the pastel colored sky is on the horizon. The color palette is a calm, soothing one in softly muted grays, blues, pinks, and whites.

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Mel Scott On Eyes-Free Fitness®

Image is BlindAlive's logo a red/orange circle with the word BlindAlive. The "A" in Alive is a symbol of a person with legs stretched out in an "A" formation as they reach up with outstretched arms.

How To Start Exercising With Eyes-Free Fitness®

Originally published on BlindAlive by Mel Scott. Mel is a regular featured guest and Woman On The Move.

Recently I attended The American Council of the Blind conference. I met so many people, and the same question came up over and over. They would ask, “I don’t exercise, but I know I should. Where should I start, and what should I do?”

This is a common problem in our community, mainly because the choices for well-described programs have been almost non-existent. I have made it my mission over the last two years to create choices for people at all fitness levels. It is crucial that we move our bodies regularly so we feel healthy.

Today I am going to discuss the absolute beginner. You should consult your medical team before you start any exercise program. With that said, the best places to start with the Eyes-Free Fitness® programs are as follows:

Eyes-Free Fitness® Starter Recommendations

  1. The Gentle Workout Set is the first of three options I recommend. The set has four short workouts and you can do them standing or in a chair. There is a section that requires standing next to a chair. These workouts introduce you to basic cardio and strength training moves. You can do a different one every day. A detailed description can be found at our site.
  2. Pilates Chair With Ring is another great place to start with. You use a chair for the entire workout and it works your whole body. It makes use of a Pilates ring, which is a springy ring with foam handles. The ring can be found at sporting goods stores or through this website, and you can learn more about the workout by visiting our site.
  3. Gentle Yoga For Beginners is where you want to start if yoga is your interest, and being on the floor is okay for you. The entire sequence is on the floor, so there are no standing poses. Once you are on the floor, you can stay there until the end. This flow is great for warming joints and talking you through basic breathing and foundation poses. This link will give you all the information you need to get started.

I think these three options are good places to start for those who have never exercised or who need to ease back into activity with Eyes-Free Fitness®. I suggest that you try these and then you can move to the Level One workouts. We will discuss these more in an upcoming post.

We want to support you in every way we can to feel better than you do now. You may contact us through our Facebook page, on Twitter, or on our BlindAlive Community on Facebook.

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Guest Post: Mel Scott

The Time Between Time: Liminal Space

Image of a flip day calendar starting at Dec 21 ending at Dec 31 the words Liminal space floating out of the calendar pages.Originally Published on BlindAlive by Mel Scott

The last ten days of December is a favorite time of year for me. Not for religious reasons or for the anticipation of gifts, decadent food and drink, but because it is my designated time of reflection and imagining. I call this liminal space. The transitional time between the old and the new; the time between time when I allow myself to gather what I learned from the past year and time to imagine the New Year. It is that quiet time or still point between inhaling and exhaling. For me, it is marked from Winter Solstice to January 1st.

The prospect of a clean new year has always excited me. I love the thought of getting to start again or better yet, to build another layer onto the foundation that I have created slowly over the years.

My practice is, on December 21st to acknowledge the year gone by with curiosity and with gratitude. I write about it, think about it, and laugh and even cry over it. I want to make sure that I didn’t miss anything and at the same time, forgive myself for what was surely missed. There is no way that I am so conscious that I captured all that was there for me to learn. This is also the time when I let myself off the hook.

This time of transition, the liminal space – is the time between December 21st and January 1st. During this time I celebrate, eat, drink, laugh, cry, and stay in my pajamas. I even eat cinnamon rolls. I sing songs just because I like the tunes. I buy myself, and others, things we don’t even need just because I feel like it. I catch up with old friends and most important, I rest my mind. This is my time for mind clearing, for house clearing and for making space for all that is creative and new.

When December 31st comes around, I am more than ready get grounded in a routine again. Usually on New Year’s Eve I force myself to read my journal from the past year and sum it up. Sometimes I resist this practice, but I do it anyway. I close out the old files and start new ones the next day. On New Year’s Day or the day after, I declare my intention for the New Year. I do not make all kinds of resolutions. I set one goal for myself. It usually involves learning something new.

One year I proclaimed it “the year of the computer.” I was determined to learn it so that it became a tool, not an enemy. One year, I vowed to feed my family better and learn to cook. The last few years have been centered on making my little company something that I can be proud of. Next year I intend to build on the foundation I have created. I have not solidified it in my mind yet, but December 21st is not here yet. My hope is that 2017 will be a year of a gentle evolution. I am imagining a purposeful, prosperous year, full of health and generosity.

This will be my last blog for 2016, I will not be writing again this year. So, my wish for you is that you allow yourself some “liminal” space for reflection and imagining.

I am so incredibly grateful for all of you. May your upcoming days be peaceful.

Good health to you,

Mel