“I always eat healthy food; I don’t know why I’m so overweight.” This is something I hear all the time. Every day, we are bombarded with health messages: “eat your 5 a day” or “move more, eat less”. We even comply with them to a degree and think we are being healthier. But we don’t always think about how much we eat. Who really knows what a portion size is these days? One thing is for sure, to portion sizes have changed a lot over the years.
Are you old enough to remember the 1980’s? How about the New Romantics and Nouvelle Cuisine? Can you picture the frilly shirts and the huge plates and miniscule portions?
The bad news is that we kept the size of plates and but the portion size increased accordingly! Portions nowadays tend to be FOUR times larger than in the 1950s! It’s no wonder our waistlines are increasing.
Have a look at the picture: which plate looks fullest? Studies have shown that if we eat the same amount of food on a small plate, our brain tells us that we are eating more food and that way we feel fuller. And have you ever noticed at carveries they often give you a small plate, even if you can go back as many times as you like?
But it’s not just our dinner plates at home that have increased in size. That same increase has happened with fizzy pop, chocolate bars, fast food portions and meal sizes in restaurants. We all expect and consume more food. And this is why we are putting on weight.
So what is a correct portion size?
- Carbohydrates like bread rice pasta – one cupped hand
- Protein like meat, fish, poultry, tofu lentils, eggs – palm of your hand
- cheese or peanut butter – one thumb
- Oil or butter – one fingertip
- Fruit and vegetables – two cupped hands
When we eat mindfully (read my blog post about Mindful Eating here) we reach “full” with much smaller portions. Because you are eating consciously and really noticing all aspects of the food such as colours, smells, tastes and textures, your mind consciously notices that you are eating it and you feel fuller. In addition, the speed at which you eat naturally slows down, too. This gives your “full receptors” a chance to tell you that you are actually full. Hence your portions can be smaller and you won’t feel deprived. Why don’t you give it a try!
If you would like to find out more how to adjust your portion size and eat healthier and how hypnotherapy can help with the process, get in touch with me, Samantha Culshaw-Robinson. I’m a clinical hypnotherapist and I have been helping people lose weight since 1988. For a full range of programmes please visit my Weight Loss page.