Pepping up portion control: tricks for feeling full
In a country where “supersizing” your meal is an option and where we can buy king-sized candy bars, portion control may be far from the consumer’s mind. However, the amount of food we eat is something to which we should pay attention. Weight loss experts agree that the most effective and healthy ways to lose weight are exercise and portion control. We all have internal portion control mechanisms in our bodies that let us know when we have eaten enough, but there is a significant delay in the time it takes our stomachs to communicate with our brains. In that time, it is easy to keep eating until we finally realize we are uncomfortably full.
David Schipper, a columnist for Men’s Health Magazine, explains that there are internal and external cues that tell us when we are full. The internal cues are our own body’s ability to communicate between the stomach and the brain, and if we listen to them, we stop eating. The problem is, these internal cues are often ignored, so we rely on external cues such as how much food is on our plate or when everyone else stops eating to tell us when we have finished. Below are several ways to feel full from your food before you get to the point of unbuttoning your pants.
Know the serving size
First, be aware of what portion sizes really are. This information is not difficult to find; just look online or check the serving size on the box of what you’re eating. If you are wondering about the nutritional information in a serving of food served on campus, consult Bon Appétit’s Web site.
An important thing to keep in mind: Do not eat directly out of a bag or box. It is easy to eat more than you intended if you do not set aside exactly how much you plan to eat before you sit down to eat it.
Break up your food
Once you know what constitutes one portion, you may be thinking that it does not look like a lot of food. Not to worry—you can trick yourself by arranging it in a way that looks and feels like a larger serving. One way to do this is cut up the food into smaller pieces. You can also add some leafy or steamed vegetables to your plate. Vegetables are a good supplement because they are nutritious and filling, which will prevent overeating.
Include snacks in your daily routine
Don’t underestimate the power of snacking. Little meals throughout the day are a great way to keep your metabolism burning. Also, eating throughout the day will keep you from getting too hungry between meals and overeating later. Schipper recommends treating snacks like small meals, which means sitting down at a table and eating at a leisurely pace.
Also, it’s best not to snack—or eat any meal, for that matter—in front of the TV. If we are distracted, we eat mindlessly and do not pay attention to when we feel full.
Record what you eat
If you are really interested in managing what you eat, write it down in a food journal. For this to work, it is necessary to record every single thing you consume that day. The psychology behind this practice is that writing down what we eat causes us to be thoughtful of what and how much food we put in our bodies.
It is easy to feel full on less food if we are mindful of what we eat. Pay attention to your body, and you will get to know when you’re satiated.