30 Day Experiment: No Second Helpings


"But, if I can't have seconds, how do I overeat, get super bloated, burp all night and feel generally disgusting?" Over the years I have grown accustomed to the habit of asking for seconds or grabbing that extra handful of chips and on many occasions experienced the exact scenario described above. I guess growing up with 3 older brothers, all vying for the maximum portions, I got very adept at eating fast and acquiring those highly sought after seconds. Turns out this is a habit and mindset I didn't realize was still so prevalent in my day-to-day life until I chose to take on the challenge of not doing it. Armed with this new discovery I decided to experiment with the concept of only going one time to the buffet. This one was much more challenging than I originally thought and (true to the spirit of my 30 Day Experiments) after 30 days of sampling I am going to continue to apply this principle to my life.

My original goals in attempting the daunting task of regulating my portion intake were:

1) Avoid the Food Coma - It was not uncommon to experience post-prandial somnolence as a result of my regular indulgence in heavy carbohydrate, sugar and fat-filled meals. My hope was by removing that second (and always unnecessary) helping I would not experience the normal sluggishness that inevitably would follow.

2) Lose Weight - It seems obvious that if I were to no longer partake in seconds that it would impact my weight regulation. The difficulty was that since my Keystone Goal (Main focus for the year) was health related and I was attempting several different 30 Day Experiments how would I be able to tell if this particular challenge contributed much. Still I was eager to see some reduction in my body weight.

3) Be More Productive - If I were to experience less food coma's then it would stand to reason that my energy would be affected and I would be more productive as a result. Simply put, how much more would I be able to accomplish over the previous months successes. Again, I am already starting to see significant changes in my productivity by participating in so many experiments, but I wouldn't turn down the ability to accomplish more.


In order to determine my success each day I came up with a couple guidelines to assess the result:

First, I would fill my plate up only once or not ask for seconds of any  meals.

Second, the only caveat would be vegetables... I could have as many as I wanted of those.

Here was my result:

The good news is I believe I was successful in achieving each of my goals. I did notice that my energy increased especially in the mornings. My theory is that because my evenings were not spent trying to digest huge amounts of food I was able to get more uninterrupted sleep and thus woke up in the mornings more refreshed and energized. Additionally, during this month I created a new business plan which I had been balking on for the past several months and feel that it is a byproduct of my body spending less time processing extra helpings of food and more on productive activities. As far as the weight is concerned, I did lose weight again, but cannot, with 100% certainty say it is because of this experiment. However, I am still pleased with results!!

The reason I am eager to continue this experiment is because I gave myself such loose guidelines and was able to create a couple loopholes to serve me better. I am an advocate of structuring the guidelines so they give you the feeling that it is actually possible to achieve your experiment over a 30 day period. So, it is not unusual for me to err on the side of less challenge. However, this one was very easy to make happen and could have used a bit more structure in 2 areas. For example:

1) Just because I can only have one helping doesn't mean that the portion size needs to be equivalent to two helpings. I will be conscious of having a "normal" portion size.

2) I will expand this to all drinks not called water. If I were to have only one glass of soda, lemonade or hot chocolate than I would probably have seen a more noticeable drop in my weight

Lesson: Overeating is a habit and, like any habits, can be changed