Welcome to Dr. Lindsay’ Lessons!!
I’m Dr. Lindsay with Healthy Motives 365, where I help clients Find Health In Every Day by Assisting them in Eliminating the bad habits that can lead to chronic disease!
Today’ Lesson is all about PORTION CONTROL!
Portion control can be a difficult thing especially with the increase in food serving sizes over the years. In full transparency, when I moved to Texas, You know how they say “Everything is BIGGER in Texas!! Well it’s true and I was getting bigger in Texas! I was shocked at how much food some restaurants give you. I was definitely eating more than normal which caused me to gain about 10-12 lbs when I first relocated here.
A lot of it had to do with trying to adjust to a new job, new city, limited family, no friends, so it was me and my husband and my kids. We would eat and drink margaritas and just live it up!
I noticed my clothes were getting tighter. So I had to either get it together or buy a whole new wardrobe and that wasn’t an option for me so I had to start disciplining myself.
What Should Your Plate Look Like?
This may sound like a weird question but once I explain it will all make sense. When I ask this question, I am not referring to the actual design of your plate but rather what should it look like once you have placed your food on it.
Think about the questions below, when you make your plate.
- Is your plate mostly meat and potatoes?
- Are fruits and vegetables on your plate?
- Does your plate have all three macronutrients (complex carbs, lean protein, healthy fats)?
- Does your plate vary in the types of foods you eat or do you eat the same things frequently?
50/25/25 Rule of Thumb
Ideally 50% of your plate should be fruits and/or vegetables and the other half should be a combination of starchy vegetables/whole grains (25%) and lean protein (25%).
Now that you know what your plate should look like, let’s move onto how much you should be putting on your plate!
The more food that is available to you, the more you are likely to eat. I’m pretty sure you have heard the saying “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach”. Or in other words you put way too much food on your plate and now you can’t possibly eat it all but unfortunately some of us will try!
There is a difference between portion size and serving size. A portion is the amount of food you actually put on your plate and the serving size is a recommended specific amount of food per the food label. So if you put three servings of something on your plate, the amount of food on your plate is your portion.
Example: 1 cup of pasta is a serving size but you put 3 cups of pasta on your plate, that is your portion. So now, you will be consuming triple the amount that is recommended which means everything on the label must be tripled.
But in essence, over time, the portion sizes of food we are accustomed to has increased. When you go out to eat, attend family functions or social gatherings it is very easy to overeat due to the availability of so much food. I don’t believe in severely restrictive diets because life is meant to be lived! But there are a few things you can do to help improve your chances of controlling how much food you are consuming.
To help control your portion sizes, try some of the following recommendations:
- Avoid Buffets. If you have unlimited access to more food you will in fact eat more food. Like some people will go and just eat excessive amounts of food.
- Use A Smaller Plate. Using a smaller plate helps to trick your mind into thinking you are eating more but in reality it is less because your plate gets fuller faster. The key is not to go back for seconds and thirds, that defeats the purpose.
- No TV, Phone or Work. When you are distracted by other things, you are not paying attention to how much you are eating. As a result, you are likely to eat more not to mention working while eating can be stressful and stress is not good for digestion. While you are eating focus on your meal and enjoy it!
- Drink A Glass of Water. Drinking a glass of water before your meal fills your belly and will naturally help you eat less. In some cases, when we think we are hungry, we are actually thirsty, so drinking a glass of water can take the “hunger” feeling away. So drink up!
- Don’t Eat From the Bag or Box. When you eat directly from the bag, then you will eat more. One way to combat this is to divide the bag up into smaller servings, that way you control how much you are eating. You can also only buy a single serving that way the measuring is already done for you but this can be a little more expensive. That way you don’t have access to large amounts of unhealthy food.
- Add Vegetables. Adding a few servings of veggies to your pasta, stir fry or casserole will help to fill you up and cut calories. Veggies are full of water and fiber which help to bulk up your meal to get you satisfied faster!
- Use Measuring Cups. This method works best at home because most people don’t walk around with measuring cups (if you do..no judgment here). So when you are preparing your plate pay attention to the serving size and use measuring cups to make sure you are sticking to appropriate serving size.
As you can see there are some pretty easy things you can do to start controlling the amount of food you are eating.
Yes there are more advanced things you can do like weighing your food but right now the point is to make easy changes that you can implement immediately. Now it is time to take some action because remember knowledge without application is useless!
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Find Health and Every Day!