Yikes! Eating the right portions is a tricky thing! During one of my IIN lectures earlier this week, it was mentioned that, in America, we eat much more food than our bodies actually need. Do you know what happens to the food our bodies can’t use? That’s right….it turns to fat. I could cringe at the thought of all of the super-sized fries I’d order at the McDonald’s drive-thru in the past. One of the biggest obstacles that prevented my recovery was the fear of eating small portions. I used to be such a binge-eater during my bulimic stage. It was nothing unusual for me to down an entire bag of chips, a two litter drink, and a pizza. At the time, I didn’t know how I’d ever be able to eat normally. I didn’t even know proper portion sizes! To help me learn to eat smaller portions, I used five easy tricks…
1. Pay attention to the food. Really savor the food. When I would eat too quickly, I didn’t really taste the food. Believe me, it’s much more relaxing and enjoyable to eat slowly. Chew the food well. Turn off the television and eat at a table so there are no distractions! Believe it or not, one Hershey’s kiss, melting in my mouth, now tastes better than the dozen I used to eat!
2. Downsize the dinnerware. Eat from a salad plate. Use a salad fork. It tricks your mind so that you think you are eating more! It’s easy. You won’t notice the difference!
3. Eat only one serving at a time. Once the meal is finished, don’t go back for seconds. Don’t pick at leftovers! Keep in mind that if you are hungry later (even an hour later), you can have a little more. To help calm the desire to fill the plate with a second helping, leave the table and sip a cup a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate as you clean the kitchen. In my classes, I learned that it is best for the metabolism and digestion to eat only until satisfied. A stomach should never feel full. Learning to recognize the difference between the two takes practice. Once you figure it out, eating only until you are satisfied becomes a habit. If I can do it, anyone can.
4. Drink enough water. Sometimes, we mistake thirst for hunger. Once you are well satiated, you won’t feel the urge to eat until you are truly hungry.
5. Prepackage your own snacks. Mindless eating from a box or bag gets me into big trouble! Even with snacks, pay attention and enjoy! If I eat a small bag of 10 nuts slowly, it’s more satisfying than a whole can.
Learning to eat proper portions takes practice. It took nearly a month of practice for me to learn to eat correctly. Once I was used to eating correctly,I felt horrible when I did overeat. In my classes, I’m learning that every single body is different and has different needs. As you experiment with portion sizes, you will find what works best for your body!
I did make a tasty cabbage dish earlier this week. As a child growing up in the South, we ate cabbage very often. We ate steamed cabbage cooked with side meat (you know what I’m talking about!) Steamed cabbage always was accompanied by fried cornbread. And always, when we had seafood, we had slaw. Those were the only two ways that we had ever eaten cabbage. I was feeling adventurous when I browsed Pinterest for cabbage recipes. One pin that looked particularly interesting led to absolutely no website. Don’t you hate it when that happens? So picture in hand, along with an idea of ingredients, led to this…..
I sliced and stir-fried a little chicken first. Then, I sliced all of the veggies and put them into the pan to stir-fry. I added a little salt, pepper, ginger, and soy sauce. It took much less than 30 minutes from start to finish. How simple is that? Leftovers for lunch the next day were just as awesome!
I now watch my portion sizes for wine, too. This was three ounces in a huge wine glass. It was the perfect amount of heart-healthy wine to sip while I was cooking dinner. You don’t have to give up your favorite treats as long as you watch portion sizes!