Have you heard of the concept of portion distortion? Most individuals are unaware of how much food they actually eat during a meal. This lack of awareness can usually be attributed to eating with distraction. When you eat alone, most people feel they need some “company”, which usually ends up being the television or cell phone. This distraction leads to mindless eating and eating beyond comfortable fullness.
Mindless eating, be it multitasking while eating or being physically or mentally distracted, may be taking a significant toll on your health. Have you noticed yourself feeling sluggish after you eat? This may be one indication that what or how much you are eating is affecting your well-being.
Putting mindfulness back into your eating will help you be more aware of what, how and how much you are eating. It’s not necessary to use food scales and measuring cups; that just puts the focus on external indicators of food portions versus learning to trust your body will guide you to eat what it needs.
Here are 4 ways you can mind your portions without relying on external tools:
1. Turn off all electronic devices
This may feel like I’m asking a lot of you, however cell phones and television are very distracting. Scrolling through social media or staring at the television prevents you from focusing on the food you are eating and before you know it, you ate your whole meal without even really tasting it.
2. Serve yourself an amount based on your hunger signals
Before plating your food, ask yourself how hungry you are. Allow your level of hunger to guide the amount of food you take. Then, when eating, stay tuned in to your hunger signals and acknowledge as hunger is fading and fullness is setting in.
3. Welcome the leftovers
Leftovers are a gift for the cook in your house! When you sense that you are comfortably satisfied, stop eating. You can always put away what’s left for later or tomorrow. And if you’re out at a restaurant, ask them to pack what’s left to go. This way, you can have this delicious meal again tomorrow!
4. Style your meal off of MyPlate
Use the MyPlate.gov guidelines when creating your meal. Divide your plate in half, fill one half with veggies and fruit and divide the other half into quarters, for lean protein and whole grains. Don’t forget to add a healthy fat like avocado or olive oil to enhance satiety and flavor. You can’t go wrong when you balance your plate in this way.
When it comes to portions, the bottom line is, be mindful. Focus on your food and how your body is reacting to it. Eat when you’re feeling hungry and listen to your body for signals that it’s full. And most importantly, enjoy your meal!
For more easy health tips, you’ll want to read:
- 3 Tips to Enjoy Food Again
- 4 Exercise Excuses BUSTED!
- 3 Essential Ingredients to Break Free of Dieting