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Why Portion Control Matters
Most people struggle with one of the most natural and basic needs of life: food. Either we are over eating, eating unhealthy, eating irregularly, struggling with diets, or depriving ourselves of food.
Developing a healthy eating habit is a huge challenge for most people, especially those struggling with their weight. When you choose to set your food habits right, you do alright for awhile, and then – more often than not – you bounce back to old and poor eating habits that have been habituated over time.
Through this article, I would like to address the issue of weight loss and eating habits. Many diets work for awhile because you eat less and often omit entire food groups. But this method is hard to sustain and often not the best way to maintain nutritional balance. By practicing portion control, you can eat most foods you love but not in the quantities you want, and still lose weight. It’s a healthier and more balanced approach to food. To help with portion control, you must eat mindfully, eat only when hungry, eat slowly and eat less.
- Trim your food portions. Fill your plate with more of vegetables and salads than rice, breads, pasta and meats. Enjoy your bowl of daal, a nice big salad or lighted sautéed vegetables and greens. The key is food that is nutritious, well balanced and light on calories.
- We have been often told to have breakfast like a king. I feel this sets the tone to your eating through the day. It’s best to enjoy a light breakfast that is nutritious and fulfilling. Include some protein and fiber. Whole grain toast, smattering of peanut butter, bowl of oatmeal, egg whites, yogurt and fruits are all good.
- Watch the label. Even if it says low fat, low calorie, gluten free, organic, it may not always hold true when you eat the entire pack. You cannot eat as much as you want just because it’s healthy. It still adds up.
- Try soups. A nice vegetable soup before your main course will ensure that you eat lesser if you are struggling with portion control. Minestrone, mixed vegetables, tomato, white beans are great options and nice during the winter.
- Don’t surround yourself with temptation. It’s alright to leave food packages on store shelves instead of loading them onto your shopping cart. Buy frugally. Food is not going to disappear. If it’s around you, you are bound to waver. Don’t eat anything out of a box, bag or packet.
- Eat more slowly and eat with awareness. Pay attention to your food and the act of eating. You may want to start counting how many times you chew your food to begin with – not the best way to enjoy your meal, but it will gradually lead you to eating slower and enjoying the texture and taste of each morsel. Limit meal time distractions like watching TV or working on your laptop or talking on the phone.
- Commit to cooking. When you are cooking healthy for yourself and your family, you are going to be creative and conscious about what goes onto the stove. Home cooked meals are always healthier and nutritionally balanced and prepared with love. When you cook you are in control of how much to make and what goes into each meal.
- Listen to your body. There’s a huge difference between physiological hunger which is real hunger and psychological hunger which stems from boredom, insecurity, obsession with food, etc. Most people eat out of psychological hunger. If you can understand the difference and really listen to your body, you will know when you should eat and how much instinctively. You body will tell you when it’s full.
- Portion control may sound simple, but it isn’t easy or will come quickly. You will have to unlearn your bad habits, exorcise the triggers and tune into your instincts when you are rightsizing your portions, buying, ordering and cooking! It will take time, but it will be totally worth it. Above all, your body will thank you for it every single time. Add a little exercise into your daily routine and you will feel lighter, healthier and fitter.