I’m gaining weight because of the way my husband eats.  He’s a much bigger person than I am, so naturally he should eat more than I do, but I end up eating the same sized portions, especially if we eat at a restaurant.  How can I eat with him without eating like him? — My Hungry Hungry Hubby


Men and women are naturally built differently and the amount of calories to consume daily to maintain a healthy weight are based on a height/weight ratio and a level of exercise factored in as well.  So, a 5’2” woman definitely does not need to be consuming the same amount of calories as her 5’10” husband unless she is training for a marathon.

Mealtimes are a social thing, and sharing dishes at a restaurant can be a nice experience.  And people tend to finish what’s on their plate while not paying attention to the amount of food because they are enjoying the conversation. With this in mind, it’s easy to see how if you are served an equal amount of food at a restaurant, you’ll probably both end up eating that whole serving, whether you’re actually hungry for it or not.  Plus, watching someone else continue to eat in front of you can tempt you to pick at the rest of your food, even after you thought you were done.

So, how can you resist eating like your husband?  Here are some tips:

  • At Home: Plate a smaller portion for yourself and a larger one for him and leave the serving plate at the kitchen counter to be packed up for tomorrow’s lunch.
  • At Restaurants:
    • Order two appetizers instead of a main dish for more variety and smaller portions.  A salad with dressing on the side is always a good choice for a starter.
    • If you share plates, it can be harder to keep track of how much you’ve eaten.  Ask for a clean plate so you can portion out what you actually want from the shared plate before you dig in and temptation kicks in.
  • Slow Down: Eating slowly gives your body the chance to tell you when it’s full.  It takes about 20 minutes to digest food, so until those 20 minutes go by, you may continue to feel hungrier than you really are.  Drink plenty of water while you eat and listen to those natural cues from your body!
  • Use Your Fist: A good rule of thumb when measuring portion sizes is to use your fist which is generally a 1 cup serving – this will help you eyeball how much food you need.  My guess would be that your fist is smaller than your husband’s fist!

Our portion sizes are seriously supersized these days so it’s hard to tell what an appropriate portion size is for dining out or at home.  Check out this eye opening Portion Distortion quiz, that factors in calories as well as level of activity.  Bon appétit!

How do you keep track of how much you eat when dining with your husband, family or friends?

– Stacey Antine, MS RD, author, Appetite for Life, and founder, HealthBarn USA

Do you have a confession to share with Stacey?  Want to learn how to improve an unsavory habit?  Send your stories our way to [email protected], and Stacey will help!

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