Tag Archives: portion size

Serve from the Kitchen & Eat Less

Keep the food on the counter or stove in the kitchen and fill your plate from there. Bringing the food into the dining room will likely mean a 19% increase in the amount of food that you will consume. According to Brian Wansink, PhD, author of Mindless Eating, having food at least 6 feet away gives us a chance to stop and ask if we are really hungry enough to go back for more. Better to be mindful…

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Changing Your Bad Eating Habits

Identifying your challenge areas in eating will benefit you in changing those habits. Do you stuff yourself at meals? Do you eat quickly at your desk? Do you dine out often, choosing high-fat, high-calorie meals? Do you snack frequently, even though you’re not really hungry? You may fit into one or more of these areas. Keep track by writing down what you eat, who you are with and what you were feeling at the time… for just 3 days. What will you find?

Avoid the All-or-Nothing Trap in Eating

Many people attempt a new healthy eating plan, only to become discouraged and abandon it when they aren’t “perfect”. Adopting a healthy eating plan is a gradual, lifelong process, so to avoid the all or nothing trap, try the 80-20 technique. Plan to eat healthy, whole foods 80% of the time with 20% leeway for vacations, holidays and socials gatherings. If you can fit in more than 80%, superb! If you are going to a 4th of July BBQ, don’t stress, enjoy!

Am I Full Yet?

How do you know when you’ve had enough to eat? Do you rely on feeling full? If that’s the case, you may be eating more calories than your body requires. Most of us rely on size – volume – of the food to tell us when we are full. We are used to eating the same amount of food each day. Since it takes 20 minutes for our brain to register satiety (fullness) and most of us finish eating in less than 20 minutes, if we use visual cues for the amount of food we consume, the portion size is important. From many studies, the stomach seems to have three main settings: starving, full but could eat more and stuffed. That middle zone is where we run into trouble with overeating. Our portion size has gotten larger and larger, especially when dining out. Even dinner plates are bigger than our previous generations. All this has contributed to making it more difficult to know when to stop eating. The French women don’t seem to get fat, even though they eat cheese, pastries and wine – they stop eating as soon as they no longer feel hungry. The Okinawan cultural habit of hara hachi bu, which means eating until you are only 80% full, is a good strategy to avoid obesity and get in touch with the internal cue of satiety. An alternative is to pre-plate all the food you plan to eat, before each meal, taking in to account appropriate portion size. Include salad, soup and main course and do not go back for any extra. Listening to internal cues is the best strategy, but it may take some time before you truly are in touch with those cues. In the meantime, structure your eating environment to be successful. And as always, be present when you eat. No TV, no distractions…savor each bite.