When it comes to weight loss, or healthy living in general, we all know that we SHOULD eat reasonably sized portions, yet that is always easier said than done when it comes to diet. Many studies have shown that people who are able to lose weight, and keep it off, learn to control their portions. In fact, portion control can either make or break your weight loss efforts.
So as you can see learning to control your portions and eat more consciously are crucial to any diet efforts, yet why is it so hard for us to control our portions and not overeat. According to this article from EatDrinkBetter.com, which you can read more about here, a behavioral psychologist named Matt Wallaert, links the ability to manage your food volume intake with that of science and behaviors.
Wallaert states that the food shortage that affected our ancestors influences our behaviors today. That back in the day, it was difficult for our ancestors to find and prepare food, so they learned to eat as much as they could when they could. He suggests “we haven’t evolved much in our approach to eating and that we are genetically programmed to bring in as many calories as we can when those calories are available – whether we need them or not.”
He also mentioned that we exhibit the “unit bias” behavior when it comes to eating. This means we think of foods in units, and are likely to consume in units. For example, we don’t eat ¾ an apple, we eat the whole apple.
Another emotional factor that may be linked with societies over eating Wallaert suggests is that people love a good deal. “We’re in the market for a deal, regardless of what it means to our waistline.” Think about when you’re at the drive-thru and they ask if you’d like to large size your meal for only $1 more, most people respond with, “sure why not, what a deal for only $1.”
Also when we’re shopping at the grocery store on sample day, how many of us take sample here and there of the cookies and processed foods their sampling?! Even when we are full, we can’t pass up free food. “Frugality is based into our DNA” Matt Wallaert states.
So what can we learn from Wallaert and what can we do change this mindset?! Eat more consciously! Just like you have to train your brain to reach your fitness goals, as this article states here, you also have to train your brain when it comes to consciously being aware of your food intake.
If we consciously think before we eat and while we are eating we are more inclined to eat less, thus decreasing our portions. Know that this will not be your last meal and you do not have to eat everything on your plate, do not think of the “great deal” involved and consciously stop eating when you feel satisfied, not stuffed.
HealthyLifestyleChanges.com is all about helping you make those changes and take that step towards a healthier life! We found a few tips from SavvyFitness.com, you can see them all here, but we thought we’d share a few of our favorites from their tips to help you eat consciously:
Ask yourself, are you really hungry?! Know the different between hunger, boredom and emotional distress. Tune into your true hunger signs and ask yourself when was the last time you ate. If it was not that long ago, trying drinking some water, walk around the block, call a friend and walk around the house, if you are still hungry after about ten minutes eat a snack. Try fiber and protein rich snacks to help keep you full. Avoid waiting too long between meals and snacks to prevent overeating at your next meal.
Savor your food. Be sure to be conscious of your food while you eat. Take your time, appreciate the different flavors and textures as you chew. Place your fork down between bites so slow your speed. Really appreciating and being conscious of what your eating instead of scarfing down your meal will help you to be more satisfied with your meal, preventing you from eating more than necessary.
Create a food enjoying atmosphere. Get away from your office desk or away from the television at home and “set up dinner purposefully to sit, relax and enjoy each mouthful.” This will help you to savor your food and give your body time to register the meal with no other distractions keeping your mind occupied. Eat slowly and wait at least 15 minutes before going back for seconds. It take your stomach about that time to signal to your brain that you are indeed full.
Balance your meal. Another great tips SavvyFitness did not mention, but we felt was important, was to balance each meal out with complex carbs, protein, fruits and veggies. Use this balanced food pyramid here that we shared in a previous post to guide you. Make sure you are getting protein and fiber, along with complex carbs in at every meal to help keep you full longer, preventing the overeating cycle! Also be sure to read food labels and measure out the correct serving sizes so you are sure you eating no more than recommended.
Use these tips to help guide you and help you become more conscious of what you eat, where you eat, and how much you are eating!
Please feel free and share with our readers any tips or advice you have in helping you to control your portions and be more conscious of what you eat!