Watching your portion sizes can mean the difference between success and failure in your health, weight loss or fitness journey.
Too much of anything is not a good thing.
Overeating also causes bloating, indigestion, heartburn, poor sleep and lack of energy. Even when you are eating healthy food you still need to be aware of portion sizes.
And it’s a lot easier than you think!
It comes down to what’s right in front of you when you sit down to eat!
In a recent portion control study participants were taught about eating slowly and mindfully and only eating until they were felt full. They were then divided into two groups, with one group given a 600g portion of pasta and the other group a 350g portion of the same dish. The first group (larger portion) participants ate 34 percent more food than those given the smaller helping.
This goes to show that even when we know how to eat slowly, most of us will eat what’s in front of us
Because that’s what we were told to do as children. (remember the starving children in Africa??)
So the key is to be mindful of what you put on your plate and how you eat it.
Have you ever had the feeling of being full while at the same time you’re still feeling hungry? That happens when the food you’ve eaten isn’t providing your body with the nutrients that it needs to function optimally. Our bodies get the nutrients they need from the food we eat, so it will send the hunger signal when it needs more nutrients. This often happens when we eat processed, packaged, low-nutrient foods.
Unfortunately, those foods leave us wanting and craving more while leaving our bodies undernourished, regardless of how much of them we eat.
Often the hunger signal means more greens not more chocolate!
Portion control is also an issue when we skip meals or we aren’t eating enough at each meal. This causes us to be starving later, reaching for anything and everything in sight! And this is when we are most likely to make poor food choices.
When the “I’m starving” mode kicks in, it’s hard to put the brakes on! We also easily fall into false thinking, believing that skipping a meal means we’re saving calories. But we’re not! It just makes us hungrier at the next meal and then we overeat!
There’s a lot of studies that show that when larger portions are put in front of us, we’ll consume up to 50% more than what we normally would. All those calories quickly add up, with an extra 200 calories a day over the course of a year adding up to 73,000 calories which is an extra 10 kilos of unwanted body baggage!
So here’s some simple habits that will help with portion awareness and eating mindfully:
Focus on eating whole foods which means plenty of protein and vegetables and eat until you feel about 80% full.
Include healthy fats in your diet. This will help you feel full for longer and helps your body to absorb the fat soluble vitamins that it needs. So try to include avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, grass fed butter and ghee. Having a salad? You’ll feel full longer and absorb more nutrients if you add some fresh avocado or a dressing that includes a healthy fat, like olive oil.
Using smaller plates can be helpful. When you put food on a large plate, you tend to fill it up and then eat it all. By using smaller plates and bowls you’ll find that you eat less but still feel comfortably full.
Don’t skip meals. This is one of the biggest mistakes people make. Start your day with breakfast, including some protein which will help you feel full longer and plan ahead for lunch. It’s also a good idea to have a healthy snack handy to get through the afternoon before dinner.
If you’re out at dinner and you feel like having dessert, just plan ahead. Order a smaller dinner or healthy entree, skip the alcohol, and enjoy dessert, preferably sharing it. It’s all about moderation and choices. Don’t feel like you ‘can’t have it’, just decide what you would enjoy more and make the choice and then enjoy it.
Slow down. By slowing down and enjoying our food more, we end up eating less. Remember to chew each bite more, relax and enjoy!
Not sure where to start? I’ve created a free GUIDE TO MINDFUL EATING that will set you on the right track.
Do you use any of these habits to control your portions? Head over to the FB group and share how they help you, we’d love to know!