The Portion Control Diet – it’s a winner!
We’ve come up with a new diet…it’s called the “Portion Control Diet” and it’s going to be the next big thing. Why?
FACT: Permanent weight control is not about quick-fix diets, it’s about taking control of what and how much you eat in the long term (along with a whole host of other things like exercise and activity).
There are no real rules for this (although the “recommended daily calorie intake” figures are a great place to start) and each of us must find our own “balance” between activity and eating. A large man working everyday on a building site will need more food than a small man working at a desk all day. That, surely, stands to reason.
However, most people have lost any sort of “input/output” sensitivity.
Food and drink has become devoid of any sort of actual physical need. We eat so many meals a day, food portions are governed by our habits and plate size, we regularly go to coffee shops to meet friends and have the obligatory coffee and muffin (irrespective of how hungry we are), we drink socially, we snack, we have treats, etc etc. Most of what we do in life comes with associated eating or drinking and this is the cycle that has to be changed.
The quickest and easiest place to start is by reducing the size of food portions. Why?
Two main reasons:
- Most people tend to “fill” their plate with food. That’s a habit but totally mad if you think about it – since when do dinner plate manufacturers know anything about what YOUR body needs? Plates tend to be BIG so most portions sizes tend to be BIG.
- Most people feel they need to finish everything on their plate. This tends to be a habit that is drilled into you since childhood (“You’re not getting down from the table until you’ve finished everything on your plate” – remember that?).
And then there’s the leaving food cooked by someone else…at a dinner party or in a restaurant…aren’t we all brought up to think that’s rude?
So, in order to get control of your portion size, you probably have TWO big hurdles to overcome before you even start!
So try this advice:
A. Try and assess how hungry you feel before each meal and adjust your portion size accordingly.
This will take a bit of time but keep at it. The plan is to work out how much your body NEEDS on a daily basis.
Use this hunger gauge to stop and think before you eat.
If you don’t feel hungry, don’ eat just because it’s a mealtime.
Eat when you are in 2 or 3 and stop when you get to 4.
You should never be in zone 1 or 6 and only in 5 at Christmas and special days!
The really important thing is to STOP eating as soon as you feel a BIT full and don’t worry about leaving food initially. A bit of wastage is nothing compared to your long term health and you’ll soon learn to adjust the size of future portions.
B. Use a smaller plate…a side plate for instance.
Your first reaction to this may be “No Way”, but try it and you’ll quickly realise a smaller helping is just fine – once you finish, you’ll feel full and won’t need any second helpings.
C. Eat slowly and concentrate on your food…try not to watch TV or use your phone while eating.
Put your knife and fork down after each mouthful and savour the taste and texture.
D. Don’t let anyone pile more food on your plate and don’t succumb to the “I don’t want anything left” comments!
Politely say no and feel good for doing so.
E. Always have a glass of water with your meal and take regular sips.
Water will help with digestion and make you feel fuller. Drink it even if you’re having a glass of wine with your meal.
F. As soon as you feel remotely full (4 on the above scale), STOP!
Push your plate to one side, or take it up to the sink. Don’t, whatever you do, start eating again.
By reducing your portion size slowly over time, your mind and body will start to get into tune.
You’ll be able to enjoy all your favourite food, not because your mind wants it, but because your body needs it…and that’s the place you want to be.
The New In 90 team