Whilst the majority of diets and slimming plans are fixated on the calorific value of this food and that drink, on what’s “good” for you and what’s “bad”, the simple fact of the matter is that if you can get control of the quantity of food and drink you consume, then you’ll be well on your way to a weight that suits both you AND your body.
And that’s where most of us want to be…in a place where we can eat pretty much what we want, without having to worry about the waistline!
So, take a few moments to think about the amount of food and drink you consume.
Start with portion size because, for most of us, the actual quantity of food we eat has little bearing on whether or not our body needs it.
Think about it.
We’re bound by habits and routines instilled into us since our childhood “eat everything up” practices. We tend to fill our plates (or have our plates filled by others…even more problematical) with food, even though the size of it has nothing to do with our requirements. We eat as part of social rituals, with a complete disconnect between our current needs and the situation. We graze on snacks throughout the day, snacks made specifically to taste fantastic and “moreish”. We go out specifically “to drink” even though our bodies have no requirement for liquid…and the list goes on and on.
With our mindset stuck on “eat at every opportunity and eat everything that’s in front of you”, it’s little wonder we all tend to have more than we need!
So, one of the first things to do if you want to lose some weight is to forget about going on some sort of fad diet that restricts certain foods or food groups. Instead, take some simple steps to bring the amount you eat more into line with what your requirements actually are at that time.
1. Try and only eat when you are hungry…refer to our hunger scale – you should aim to eat at stage 2 and 3. If you’re not hungry then don’t eat just because you “normally” do at that time.
2. When you do sit down to eat, put a very small amount (much less than usual) on your plate to start. Eat it slowly and then really consider how much more you want…you’ll normally be surprised at how satisfied you feel without eating too much more.
3. Stop eating as soon as you feel a little full…that’s your body saying “enough”. And, when you do, remove your plate from in front of you…get up and get on with other things. If you sit there with half a plate of food in front of you, you’ll tuck in again!
4. Try these three things for a few days and start adjusting how much you eat and when…remember, you’re getting yourself in tune with your body’s actual needs and requirements. Don’t worry if you end up throwing some food away to start with…we’re talking about your health and long life here!
5. If someone else serves you, or you go out, follow these same guidelines. Don’t be persuaded to “have some more” just to be polite and try and ask yourself “do I really want/need this” before you eat or drink anything (the only exception here is water…drink this often throughout the day).
6. Don’t resist your favourite treats or takeaways…just don’t have too much of them, too often and don’t pile your plate high to start – eat bit by bit.
7. Alter your normal habits and routines when it comes to eating and drinking for a day…just to prove to yourself you can! Miss out supper, go for a walk instead of the coffee shop, have a fruit tea instead of a latte, do (or don’t do) something different…the aim is to throw in a “disruptor” which will kick start your system into doing things differently.
If you follow these steps, you’ll start to get control back, and then you can really change things for the long term…try it and see!