Before we look into what you are eating, let’s think about how much you are eating…
One thing we can all do is cut down on the amount of food we eat in a day. It isn’t uncommon for people to fill their plates to the brim, grab a chocolate bar every time they fill up with petrol or even munch their way through a family size bucket of popcorn on a night out at the cinema! I think it’s fair to say the majority of us have a lack of understanding when it comes to portion control. We don’t seem to feel satisfied or full until we have an empty plate (or until we’ve had a pudding, but we’ll talk about the urge to resist something sweet in a future blog). Why do we give ourselves that uncomfortable feeling when our stomach feels like it wants to burst and after that final mouthful have the regret of ‘I knew I shouldn’t have eaten all that’. 9 times out of 10 our stomach will already be full before we’ve emptied that plate. Even when it comes to eating a healthy option we tend to eat more than we require, justifying it with ‘it’s healthy, I’m having seconds’.
And this is my point about portion control – you may well be eating healthy foods but if you are eating more than you require compared to what you are burning off, then you won’t be noticing a difference in your body shape.
Even I do it when cooking rice, I always add ‘just a little bit more’. It always ends up being too much and as I don’t like to waste food it then gets eaten.
My tips on portion size…
Let’s focus on breakfast cereal as good example of portion sizing.
I asked some of my lovely friends to pour out a bowl of cereal they would normally eat in the morning, like most people they suitably filled the bowl. When weighing the cereal it was over double the suggested serving size of 30g that the box recommends. Please note, I am not saying you must only eat 30g but just be aware of what you are eating as it is likely you are doubling the calorie intake on that one meal alone.
As you can see from the photo, the calorie content for a 30g portion of Special K (with semi skimmed milk) is 172 calories. If we look at photo 1 (74g portion) the calorie content would be 424 calories for that one bowl of cereal. Over the week (if you are having that 5 mornings a week) it will be 2,116 calories on cereal alone (compared to 860 calories if you stuck with a 30g portion). Remember you don’t have to stick to the recommended serving suggestion but this is to make you aware of your portion sizes and how it can affect your daily calorie intake.
You can also see from the picture below, the portions I was having compared to the recommended amount.
It may not seem like a huge difference in size but over a week, it really does make a difference.
This won’t be the first time you’ve heard this but why not make it the first time you actually do it: Try using a smaller bowl for breakfast, a smaller plate for dinner and even a smaller glass for your wine.
Tips for you to try
Try weighing some of your foods this week and see how your portion compares to the recommended guidelines.
My digital Salter scales are online at Argos for £14.99 (not a huge price to pay to control your portion size).
No scales? No problem – give yourself a handful (or spoonful) less than what you would normally eat.
Go on – give it a go! Let me know how you get on…