Sitting on the train at the Light Rail station, I watched a woman stand under the shelter and gobble down a six-inch sub, a bag of chips and what looked like a 12-ounce bottle of juice – in eight minutes flat.
Three things crossed my mind: One – I wonder if the food even got a chance to reach her stomach. Two – thank God I didn’t have to jump off the train and perform the Heimlich. And three – I betcha she’ll be hungry again soon as she gets home.
That’s usually what happens. When we gobble our food while trying to multi-task, our brain doesn’t get a “full” signal. So we end up eating again which contributes to weight gain. Click this link to read more about chewing slowly and digestion.
The other thing that happens is we blow any opportunity for portion-control when we gobble our food instead of taking the time to chew it.
Regardless of your chosen manner of satiating your appetite, for a healthy balance, portion-control is one of the best weapons in our nutritional arsenal. The reason is because eating is not just a physical act. Our emotional state plays a huge part in what and how we eat. If you’re an emotional eater like me, even a vegan diet devoid of all meats, dairy and most processed foods can be a hazard to your health.
So I devised a list of portion-control techniques that are still working for me. Perhaps one or all of these will work for you too. 🙂
- Drink a glass of water or other low-sugar drink about 20 minutes before you eat. Having something in your stomach will take the edge off your hunger pangs. Drink it slow, no guzzling. Give yourself a chance to feel it travel down to your stomach.
- This website will help: Offhand I wouldn’t know what an ounce of fish looked like, or how big a medium potato is. This website will give you an idea of how big your portion should be for one serving. If that’s still too organized for you, just eat half of what you usually eat: one and a half pancakes instead of three. You get the idea?
- Take ONE! Our eyes crave what we want. The more our eyes see, the more our tummies growl. Don’t eat from a platter or from a pan of pizza. Take one slice and put it on your saucer. From a platter of various foods take ONE of each and put it on your saucer. Then walk away and SIT. Savor your food.
- Savor Your Food: Take the time to actually taste your food. Take smaller bites. Chew slowly so that the saliva in your mouth breaks down the food properly. Embrace the eating experience. Limit distractions. Feel the food travel down your esophagus and into your stomach. When you focus on your food, you fill up on smaller amounts.
- Ditch Your Dinner Plates: Filling up one of those plates, gives you permission to eat every crumb. Place a balanced meal on a saucer: a protein, at least one vegetable and a carbohydrate. Eating every crumb on the saucer will send the message to your brain that you’re full – on less food.
- Eat The Cookie! If you want the cookie, by all means get the cookie! But, eat one serving. That means before you rip open the package, turn it around and check the label. The number of calories, amount of fat, amount of salt, etc. are all for one serving.
- Keep a Daily Food Log: Processed foods are any foods that are NOT in their natural state, i.e. cookies, sugary cereals, donuts, canned fruits, vegetables, shells ‘n cheese, Rice-A-Roni, salad dressings – and the list rolls on. Processed foods have to be monitored. Even the frozen ones and the ones that claim “low-cal and fat-free.” Boca Burgers – the veggie burgers I love so much – are low fat, have 18g. of protein (a plus for a vegan) but have almost 400 mg of sodium. Write what you eat in a small $1 notebook. Or try Weight Watchers Online . No meetings, just online tracking of what you’re eating. Even if you only track your processed foods, that will help a lot.
Is this enough to get you started on the road to a healthy nutritional lifestyle?
- Food Scale Dilemma: To Weigh Or Not Weigh? (ezhealthcents.com)