When you think of portion control, you think of your fist, a thumb or deck of cards to correctly learn how much food you should be eating. We know how much we are “supposed” to eat but we just can’t seem to stick to that magic number. The USDA says Americans eating 500 more calories today than we were in the 70’s but why can’t we stop? Is it really our fault or can we blame to food industry, stress or food science?
The consensus is that environmental influences have changed our food intake.
To beat the growing calorie trend, we need to create an environment where we don’t always have to be on all the time.
Willpower is like a muscle and with constant exercise, it experiences fatigue.
On Wednesday I flew down to the Hilton Head Health Resort for 3 nights to experience the Live Well program. I sat in on a Portion Control lecture that was fascinating to me. I thought I would find it boring, talking about correctly measuring food but really it was about how to eat less mindlessly. Forget eating mindfully – yes, we should do that – but it’s hard and requires practice. Make things easier for yourself. Bypass will power and make it easy to eat less with these tips.
#1 Re-engineer your home and office environments for success.
“In the contest between the environment and willpower, the environment always wins.”
The bigger the container, the bigger the portion, the more available and convenient, the and the variety, the healthier it sounds, the MORE WE EAT.
Will power is like a muscle and with constant exercise is experiences fatigue.
#2. Use Small Plates and Glasses.
People serve themselves 20-30% more food on larger plates than smaller plates. Diners who ate off a 9 inch plate ate 48% fewer calories than those who ate off a 12 inch plate. When eating cereal out of a 8 oz or 16 oz bowl, children from preschool to age 10 asked for more food and ate 52% more out of the larger bowl while wasting 14% more.
Getting married soon? Register for 9 inch dinner plates and tall narrow glasses for everyday use. People drink 30% more from short,wide glasses. Not getting married in the near future or already are, hop over to the Christmas Tree Shop for cheap new dinnerware or store away the big guys.
#3. Read labels and look at serving size.
#4. Buy smaller boxes.
When preparing dinner for two, people used 29% more spaghetti from a 2 lb box than a 1 lb box.
While watching TV, overweight people ate twice as many crackers out of a 400 calorie bag than out of four 100 calorie bags. I think we all know not to eat directly out of a bag or box but really, don’t eat out of a large bag or box.
Livi @ Eat, Pray, Work It Out says
Great tips! ‘Mindless’ eating habits can be made positive instead of negative!
This is so interesting and makes sense! 🙂
Linda @ The Fitty says
Out of sight out of mind is a big one for me!
Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment says
Out of sight and out of mind is always good. I measure my items out if I am likely to over-do it (nut butter) and also not enough (protein). I think it’s a really reliable tool.
Thanks sarah!! Very interesting for a monday morning…and yes out of sight out of mind!
My best kitchen tool is the scale!
Sam @ PancakeWarriors says
Man this seminar sounds so amazing! It’s so funny how fast you can go through 2-3 servings of most foods. I try to be realistic with my expectations. I take only a small handful of things like nuts or trail mix and then put the bag away. If I have to go back for more, I really have to want it. Great tip on the smaller plates. I always eat my food off a smaller plate and it’s so helpful to see how full the plate gets and then how full I am. I know I would load up the plate if it was bigger. I am a volume eater as well. I eat an entire bag of salad mix with my salads— I can’t help it!!
Kind of obvious strategies, nothing earth-shattering. Sorry 🙁 but I would expect more from a lecture.
These are some good tips -- but I’m surprised they didn’t cover more ground on healthy eating at a fitness retreat as prestigious as Hilton Head Health. I spent some time at Weight Crafters last year, and they taught a LOT more about purposeful eating. Not to mention introducing me to lots of new recipes and foods and tastes that I never knew I could love. I spent a week there, but it was a total game changer for me.
I highly recommend checking them out -- and in the case where you’re struggling with weight loss and have been for some time, I highly recommend taking a look at this article on food addiction on their blog. People really underestimate the power food has on us, and it’s clearly a nation-level problem these days.