Obesity is a growing epidemic, primarily caused by a lack of portion control in the food we eat. Over the years, portion sizes have slowly increased and many of us are now consuming more food than our bodies need.
Put simply, the more you eat, the fatter you tend to become unless you burn all the calories you are consuming in excess.
Obesity is just one of the many metabolic disorders being attributed to overconsumption of food, especially highly processed foods. Others include Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and autoimmune conditions, to name a few.
Most people show immediate results in their weight control by managing their diet. This can be done by eating whole, unprocessed foods and restricting their intake.
Why Portion Control Works
Portion control has a direct connection with the overall calories a person consumes daily.
Most people don’t realise just how much they overeat. A portion or serving size is a handful of food. However, some foods have much smaller portion sizes recommended for consumption.
Mindless eating of unhealthy, highly processed foods will adversely impact your digestive system as well as your waistline.
The best way to attain good health is to think before you eat!
What is an Appropriate Serving Size?
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you first start learning about portion sizes.
But it’s not that hard once you get the hang of it. It will soon become second nature and you won’t have to think about it.
Learn how to visualise a portion size and then you can control what you serve at mealtime. Aim to understand and therefore, control your portion sizes.
There are no hard and fast rules as everyone’s body is so different. What is appropriate for one person may not work for the next. The below portion guide will help you work out what works best for you if you are wanting to eat low carb.
In the Ideal Low Carb Scenario:
- 50% fat
- 30% protein (grass fed, free range)
- 20% carbs
On a low carb diet, your carbohydrates are obtained from non-starchy, above-ground vegetables rather than processed foods such as bread, pasta, and grains which are all high in refined carbohydrates.
Keto diets would aim for 70% fat, moderately low carb diets would consume less than that.
Fats are important for feeling fuller for longer so don’t skimp on them.
Your healthy fats will come from wholefoods and oils. Eat fats sourced from pasture-fed meats, fish, eggs, avocadoes, nuts and seeds. You can also cook with coconut oil, butter, or ghee. Another option is to dress your salads with olive or macadamia oil.
Avocado or nuts are a good source of fat, think avocado and melted cheese on top of chicken or a bunless burger.
The Top Tips for Eating Less
So here it is. The Top 10 Tips for portion control when eating meals. Not an exhaustive list but one to get you started with thinking about your portion control.
1. Small Plates
Use a smaller plate to serve your meals. We tend to fill the plate we are eating from.
2. Eat Slowly
Chew your food well and savor the taste. Eating slowly helps you enjoy your meal. Put your knife and fork down after each mouthful.
Did you know it takes the brain takes 20 minutes to register you are full?
3. Visually Divide the Plate
Check if you are eating a balanced meal by visually dividing the plate into sections – half a plate of healthy fat, 30% healthy proteins, and 20% carbs.
4. Drink Water
Drink a glass of water 20 minutes before the meal – this makes the stomach feel fuller.
5. Don’t Eat Directly from the Packaging
Eat from a plate, not straight from bags or boxes, it helps control your food intake when you can see a portion size laid out.
6. Include Fat in Your Meal
Include some healthy fat in all your meals. This is important for feeling fuller for longer.
7. Eating Out?
Order a half portion, an entrée meal, or share a meal with a friend. Restaurant servings are much larger than they should be. Here’s a cheat sheet.
8. Food Diary
Keep a food diary – be honest. It will help track your food intake and help you figure out where you need to make changes. Cronometer.com and save 10% on gold subscriptions.” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>get 10% off with this link.
9. Pre-Portion Snacks
Pre-portioning your snacks prevents over-eating. Use small zip lock bags or small containers. If you’re unsure of the serving size, check the back of the food packaging as they always list a serving size.
10. Eat Mindfully
I know it’s a buzzword right now but focusing on what we put in our mouth can be a big help in controlling how much food we consume.
We tend to eat more when distracted. Turn off the TV and don’t eat at your desk so you can focus on your food while eating.
The idea of using portion sizes is to be aware of how much food you are consuming, not to get hung up about what you can and can’t eat.
You will find that if you are eating a low carb diet with a good dose of healthy fats and no processed foods, you will not feel hungry.
Over time, you will find your appetite decreases and you will naturally eat less. Your body will seek and naturally find its own balance if it’s not interfered with.