When it comes to dieting, we all have our weaknesses – both in terms of what we eat and how we eat it.
Some of us have a sweet tooth and find our dieting efforts ruined by excessive snacking. Meanwhile, some of us eat relatively healthy diets but let ourselves down when it comes to portion control.
That second issue is what I want to discuss in this article, as it is central to one of the most important (yet straightforward) factors of controlling weight loss and ensuring long-term weight management.
The inspiration for this article came from a pretty inspirational person. Monica Olivas is the founder of RunEatRepeat, a blog that has chronicled her weight loss journey since 2008. She had a history of fad dieting and subsequent bingeing, but broke out of that cycle and now shares the benefits of her experience with her readers.
I asked Monica what she thought the single biggest change the average person can make to positively affect their health and fitness was, and her response was deceptively simple:
Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re about full. Pay attention to what your body is telling you.
Although Monica’s answer may not in itself offer a complete solution for healthy living, it makes up most of what you truly need to know. If only eat when you’re hungry (not just when you think you are hungry), stop eating when you are full, and pay attention to how your body reacts to what you eat, you would probably find yourself approaching your ideal weight before long (and by “ideal”, I mean what your body determines, not what your image of perfection may be).
An Introduction to Portion Control
I can attest to the wisdom of Monica’s answer as I had a problem with portion control for many years – a problem that I now have largely under control.
I overcame my portion control issue by following three simple measures:
- I measure my portions. This does not necessarily lead to a feeling of having ‘missed out’ – one study in particular demonstrated that less food can be just as satisfying (in the right context).
- I eat slowly and stop when I’m full. I savour each bite, as it takes time for the stomach to send the appropriate ‘full’ signals to the brain.
- I made gradual changes over time. If you’ve been eating huge portions, then don’t try to halve your portion size overnight – instead, reduce your portion size by just a little, every time you eat.
If you have an issue with portion control, adopting the above three measures could make a world of difference, and you could soon find yourself far closer to Monica’s simple instructions than you thought possible.