\Have you ever eaten so much that it feels uncomfortable, and it takes every ounce of effort that you can muster to move? In your mind, or even out loud, you’re groaning: ‘ah, never again!’
However, once the discomfort subsides, you find yourself doing it all over again. I can visualize some heads nodding in agreement. The reason? It has happened to the best of us.
When the food smells, looks, feels and tastes absolutely divine, it’s hard to exercise moderation.
Especially during our special celebrations, when we have a large spread of delicious foods, we want to sample everything. We find ourselves eating way too much.
This also happens with distracted eating. For example, while we’re watching TV or a movie with a large bag of chips, not realizing how much we’re eating. The next thing you know, the bag is empty.
Or maybe each time you pass the kitchen, you take a handful of chips, a slice of cake or a cookie, although you don’t feel hungry.
Many of us overeat from time to time, but it is an issue when it becomes common practice. Essentially, if it happens almost daily. Overeating is one of the main causes of weight gain, particularly for people who are less active.
Why? They are eating more calories than they burn.
Some scientists are arguing that it is not overeating itself that leads to weight gain, but the types of foods that we eat. Highly processed, rapidly digestible carbs are the main culprits.
“These foods cause hormonal responses that fundamentally change our metabolism, driving fat storage, weight gain and obesity.”
I see where they’re coming from. If you’re making healthy choices, eating good carbs that is high in fibre (e.g. fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, whole grains), which keeps you full longer, this can help you to lose weight. It can also aid in managing and maintaining a healthy weight over the long-term.
Yet, there is another perspective. If you are consuming a large amount of calories and living a sedentary lifestyle, the body stores the extra calories consumed as body fat. This can happen even when you are making healthier food choices. It all boils down to good food choices, coupled with having the right portion sizes.
The latter, the amount of food you put on your plate (not a huge plate either). Size does matter, especially when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off.
There are many factors that can contribute to weight gain. Managing portion size is a main one. I won’t say that controlling portion size will be an easy undertaking for everyone.
However, it’s about getting started and to keep at it. With time you will see a stark difference.
To begin, avoid distracted eating. Eat well and more mindfully. Mindful eating will help you to become more aware of your fullness and hunger cues. So that you eat to a point where you feel comfortable, not overly stuffed.
Further, drink more water at the beginning and end of your meal, rather than beverages with high sugar content.
A tip, spruce up your water with a few fruit slices such as lemon, lime, orange, blueberries, apple. It tastes delicious and keeps well in the refrigerator. It’s great during this warm weather and will get you consuming more water.
Below are more tips when considering portion control, particularly if your goal is weight loss.
• Beverages, Cereal, Casseroles, Soups, Fresh fruit; Salads: 1 cup or the size of your fist of a baseball
• Pasta, Rice, Beans, Potatoes, Cooked Vegetables: ½ cup, or the size of half a baseball or, your cupped hand
• Meat, Fish or Poultry: 3 ounces, or the size of a stack of cards
• Cheese, Peanut and other nut butters: 1 Tablespoon, or the size of your thumb, from tip to base
• Butter, Margarine, Mayonnaise, Oil: 1 Teaspoon, or the size of a postage stamp or, half your thumb
• Snacks (e.g. chips, pretzels, etc.): ½ a cup, or a cupped hand
• Use smaller plate sizes.
• Put food, including chips in a bowl, rather than eating from the bag.
• Store leftover food right away in portion-controlled containers.
• Avoid going back for seconds.
• Yes, you can eat out, but when doing so, ask for a ‘doggie bag’ if portion sizes are too large. It can be your meal for the following day.
Controlling portion size is an important of eating healthier.
Have questions on how you can eat healthier or about healthy living in general? Share them with us. Some will be answered here. Send your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marlene Roache is Healthy Eating Coach, Owner, La Tropiqua, Healthy Living-For Life www.latropiqua.ca