Back in May, I wrote about how I had a portion size problem. Basically, I found myself eating all the food and ignoring how full I really felt.
Since that time, I’ve implemented several strategies to help address eating more than my stomach can handle. I have to stress though that these are not foolproof tips. While they help most of the time, I still have moments where I eat more than I intended. But we’re human and we move on and try again. Am I right?
So here are the 8 tips I’ve been using to keep my portion sizes under control over the past couple of months.
1. Go back to the basics and put your utensils down between each bite of food. This “break” gives you the space to taste the food, enjoy what you’re eating, and assess your satiety, instead of focusing on the next bite.
2. Chew, chew, chew. I know this sounds silly, but since actually paying attention to the way I eat, I’ve come to realize that I could stand to chew more. And of course, thoroughly chewing increases the time between bites giving you time to assess how full you are.
3. This tip comes from Laura. I loved it so much that I’ve started using it myself. She suggests chewing on a piece of gum when you start to feel full. As someone who hates combining minty flavors with anything else, this works out perfectly for me. There’s no going back for “one more bite.”
4. Another back to basics trick – use smaller plates. When plating our dinners, I always use the smaller plate because I figure I can get more food if I want. And guess what? Nine times out of ten I am satisfied with the amount I serve myself.
5. When eating out, split dishes. I’ve done this a few times recently, and it works out nicely. Most restaurants serve WAY more than what one person can consume. If you and the person you’re eating out with both want similar things, why not just share.
6. Something I noticed myself doing is eating small bites of what I was making for dinner as I was making it. While it’s good to taste test, I found myself a little full before dinner was even served. But of course, I would still eat a full meal. Not good! So now I drink water as I cook. It keeps me full and the “taste testing” to a minimum.
7. I don’t believe in deprivation. I believe in moderation. If you want to eat pizza, eat a few slices and not the whole pie. If you want a piece of cake, cut yourself a small piece and enjoy every bite. Over time, I’ve learned that when it comes to controlling portion sizes, if you can master moderation, you’re halfway there. By not depriving yourself of any one food, you most likely will not have the urge to eat copious amounts of it at one time. You enjoy it and move on.
8. This may be my favorite tip – make mealtime an experience. I’ll admit that Vishnu and I are guilty for eating most of our meals on the couch in front of the TV. Not a good habit and one that I’m trying very hard to break. By making mealtime an experience, one where the focus is not on the food but on the conversation, the presentation, and the senses, you are essentially changing the game. Now it’s about enjoying good food with those around you and taking it all. I’ve found that by doing this I automatically slow down because I want the experience to last longer and consequently eat less.
How do you control your portion sizes? Please share all of your tips and tricks (no matter how kooky!).