A key part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is making sure you eat healthy foods and exercise enough. If your healthcare provider recommends you lose weight, being aware of your portions can be helpful.
Controlling your portions does not mean you need to eat tiny amounts or measure out precisely the number of peas on your plate.
But if we are eating too much, then we may need to retrain our brains to see a smaller-than-normal portion as satisfying enough.
Here are some tricks to try;
Drink water before you eat
Drinking a glass of water before you eat will take up some room in your stomach. This might help you minimise your portions.
Between your smartphone, the television and a hectic lifestyle, it can be all too easy to eat while distracted. Distracted eating tends to lead you to eat more, not just at that meal, but for the rest of the day.
Mindful eating, the practice of paying full attention to what you eat without distractions, helps you notice your body’s hunger and fullness cues so that you can actually know when you have had enough.
Mindfulness can also help you distinguish between physical hunger and emotional hunger.
When you feel hungry, ask yourself if you are actually hungry or if you are just wanting to eat because you are bored or experiencing another emotion.
If you are in the habit of eating emotionally, try some other strategies before eating, such as going for a walk, exercising or having a cup of tea.
Don’t double your carbs
If you already have some starchy carbohydrates with your meal, do you need bread or naan as well? You could be doubling your portion, so if you like to have some bread on the side, you will need to cut down the amount of starchy carbohydrates on your plate accordingly.
Don’t eat out of the packaging
Instead of eating directly out of the box, bag, or package, add your food to a plate or bowl before eating. Research shows that people tend to eat more out of large packages than small ones, especially when it comes to snacks.
Be it crackers and cheese or hummus and veggies, eating directly out of the box of crackers or tub of hummus will likely lead you to eat more, whether you realise it or not.
The next time you reach for a snack, rather than eating from the original packaging, empty it into a small bowl to prevent eating more than you need.
Unwanted weight gain may start with large portion sizes. However, there are many practical steps you can take to control portions.
These simple changes have proven successful in reducing portions without compromising on taste or feelings of fullness. For example, eating mindfully, not doubling on carbs, drinking water before meals, and eating slowly can all reduce your risk of overeating.
At the end of the day, portion control is a quick-fix that improves your quality of life and may prevent bingeing.