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Before my wedding last year I went on a diet, I found the only way to really diet successfully was to count calories and this meant weighing everything. While I really wanted to lose a bit of weight I found weighing everything a total pain, I had to do it though as its so easy to have portions that are far bigger than they should be. A while ago I was browsing Amazon, as you do, and spotted these, Rosemary Conley Portion Pots. I ordered them straight away, not that I'm dieting strictly now, well I am 8 moths pregnant, but I knew they would be so useful for managing my diabetes and also my weight after my baby is born.
The portion pots are a set of four little pots that look a bit like mini saucepans, each one is a different colour and size, these are:- Blue-80ml, Yellow-125ml, Red-250ml and Green-330m. They come attached to each other with a small ring through the holes in the end of the handles, I have actually separated mine though as I found them easier to use like that.
They cost me just £5.00 and come with a portion pot guide which gives you lots of basic foods and the correct coloured pot which would give you a single portion of that particular food, it also tells you the amount of calories in that portion. For example a single portion of uncooked porridge oats would be the blue pot and would contain 125calories, now a blue pot of porridge oats is much less than I would just pour into a bowl. Pasta is another thing that is very easy to over judge, rice too.
I have found these little portion pots very handy when judging the amount of food to cook, its much easier and quicker than weighing everything too. Its so easy to just pile food on the plate without thinking about how much is really needed. With these its easy to control portion size which is important and count calories at the same time, I have gradually got to know what colour pots are needed for certain foods without having to refer to the guide all the while. Cleaning these is absolutely no problem just a quick dunk in soapy water is all that's needed.
I would recommend these to anybody whether you are dieting or not, they take the guess work out of the correct portion sizes and give you a guide to calories too, they also make controlling my diabetes easier which is a bonus for me. If you are looking to control the amount you eat, maintain your weight or diet then these simple little pots will make it easier.
From my teens right through to my late thirties I had always weighed the same - just over 9 stone, and despite giving birth to 2 sons and 2 daughters I returned to my normal weight post pregnancy each time. Then something happened in my late thirties that changed this - I gained just under a stone in four years. At first I thought it was because I had developed ME and was less active than before, but many of my friends who were of a similar age to myself then began to experience the same thing.
At first I wasn't too bothered as I was still within the normal BMI for my height. However I soon began to wonder if a stone would become two, and I was concerned as my ability to exercise was limited by the ME, and I didn't want to put extra strain on my heart which is badly affected by the disease. Added to this my ancestors were all very large, and so genetically I am programmed to blossom!
I tried Slimming World once but I feel very strongly that life is too short to diet, so although I did lose the weight it was causing me to become obsessed with food which I had never been before. I was dreaming all day of my sins, and was delighted when I could use them up on a chocolate cream bar or a creme egg, which I never really ate on a daily basis before! I did lose the weight but it crept back on! I also tried Diet Chef which is excellent, and, although I don't use it now, it did teach me portion control and is ideal if you want to learn this as the meals are delivered. It takes away choice but long term is far too restrictive.
So I began to think of another strategy that would enable me to gradually reduce this weight and more importantly keep it off.
I came to two conclusions thanks to an excellent website at www.foodfocus.co.uk. This innovative and free website allows you to lose weight safely and in a controlled manor by charting your calories on a daily basis, balancing protein and fat with carbohydrates. It also enables you to chart your exercise, and this then is factored into your calorie allowance for the day. A few days of charting my intake showed me that my portion sizes were slightly too large, and that I had been eating about 50 calories a day more than I actually needed to stay the same weight. Of course if you do this for a year the result is that you eat 18250 calories more than you need, and this represents four and a half pounds in weight gain. As I put this weight on between the ages of 36 and 40 I soon realised that this was the cause. Also as my youngest child started school in the year I was 37, I actually did less exercise that year onwards as I wasn't walking to playschool at all any more as well as to school. This meant I was doing less exercise on a daily basis. It wasn't rocket science, but I was amazed how such a small change could make so much difference especially as 50 calories is nothing - only half a slice of bread!
So what I did was to look at portion sizes rather than to diets to just tweak what I ate and to do this I purchased a set of Rosemary Conley Portion Pots from her website. I don't follow her diet at all, I just discovered these one day when looking for resources to support my quest to get this weight off, and have been using them every day since.
They are basically a set of four pots in different colours which you use to measure certain foods which traditionally gobble up the most calories in your daily allowance. So, for example, they measure pasta, rice, wine, cereals and oats amongst other things, and with the set of pots you are given a card which tells you how many calories are in each measure. They are especially useful for items like grated cheese which I really enjoy in sandwiches and which reduces the calorie intake considerably over using block cheese.
The Rosemary Conley portion pots come in four colours, and are blue 80ml, yellow 125ml, red 250ml, and green 330ml. They are bright and cheerful in their primary colours, and impart a simple look which I like as this really is a simple way to just take out a few calories each day.
You can watch an informative video about these pots on Rosemary Conley website at
In this video Rosemary shows two different portion sizes in two separate but identical meal choices, illustrating the vast difference in calories. This really opened my eyes to thinking about how I ended up gaining weight, even though what I was eating was essentially healthy.
I can't tell you how fantastic these are. I use them several times a day and have done for many years and it takes all the guess work out of portion control. If I am having cereal for breakfast I will use them. This is one area where I have saved a lot of calories as my original bowl was slightly more generous than the one I have now! This is really important as I like granola based cereals but these can be quite calorific.
For dinner I will use them to measure pasta and the great thing is that you can use them to measure the dried pasta either as dried weight or as cooked. This is brilliant if you have a family and just want to pour in the dried pasta from the bag into the pan, and you can worry about your portion size at serving time instead of at the start. The larger green pot has a hole in the handle which allows you to measure dried spaghetti which is really helpful as it can be calorific.
I have found over the years that I know what each colour represents in terms of calories pertaining to each food, and so it is second nature to me to use the pots and rarely do I have to refer to the card that is provided.
There is no doubt in my mind that these are a valuable tool and they have allowed me to regain my normal weight without having to go on diets. My Slimming World experience turned me from a normal food consumer to one bordering on obsession, and my first and last dieting efforts with them left me in somewhat of a chocoholic state! Now I just tweak my portions of everyday food and the pounds stay off and my fear of turning into my ancestors has diminished. Yes it does demand a little bit of discipline, and I do have lapses, but on a day to day basis I have learnt to exercise moderation in dangerous areas. I was very surprised to learn how many calories were in my normal pasta serving, and having tweaked it I am still satisfied with what I have and have got used to slightly less on my plate.
I have actually also learnt to recognise what is a serving size without using the pots, and so when I go away or eat out I can easily now identify what is acceptable and what will lead me to pile on weight.
I think if you have weight to lose then this method is absolutely ideal and very inexpensive. The pots are only £5.49 plus £3 postage and packing and you can get cash back too if you click through from Topcashback or Quidco.
They are easy to clean and simply rinse under the tap after use, and as they are joined together by a ring you can simply hang them in the kitchen.
I am not a dieter. I hate anything that wastes life by making rules, but I knew I didn't want to gain weight as having ME you simply can't exercise as much as you might like to. I also like to wear fashionable clothes and didn't want to lose the ability to go into my favourite shops and purchase things easily, so I knew that something had to be done. I was also horrified to realise that eating 50 calories a day extra and doing a little less walking had given me a stone of a spare tyre in four years! By using these pots to measure my portions and gradually watching the fat reduce I was able to say goodbye to that extra weight without following any regime or diet as I am simply no good with will-power! You do need patience, it doesn't come off in weeks- it took me two years this way, but I have changed what I do for the long haul now and even better no food is banned. On Slimming World I was dreaming all day of my chocolate treat and stuffing myself with mountainous portions of pasta and rice on "Green Days" I couldn't have green days for the rest of my life, or count points - this way you just eat a tad less each day. It works and it's cheap! At 51 I have now kept this weight off for almost a decade using this method.
I would advise anyone considering using these pots to take a look at Foodfocus first and then you can understand your calorie allowance based on your height age and sex. Then you can tweak what you eat to keep within these limits. Then exercise patience and be prepared to wait for results as this is no quick fix - it's just a healthy way of looking at weight management.