Updated: Sep 9, 2019
Why we eat more than we need
For the longest time (most of my life actually) I could basically eat whatever I wanted and stay extremely skinny, I am not talking about the type of food here as I knew nothing about food then.. I am referring to portion sizes.. I could easily eat a whole large pizza by myself plus dessert and other meals and snacks during the course of the day and not even feel the slightest full!
Although it might seem counter intuitive, we have very little control over our eating habits so much around us such as subtle social and visual cues influences how and how much we eat... Growing up I was never really given any boundaries when it came to portions or food in general so I never really had a set bar to weigh out what was needed for my body.. without going into too much detail I believe my parents did their best with the knowledge they had at the time..
In 2011 I started gaining weight and believe it had something to do with a contraceptive I started taking.. so my metabolism wasn't the same anymore and I couldn't eat whatever and how much I wanted like I did in the past.. little did I know it was a blessing in disguise!
Since then I have spiraled into health and food topics, I started reading books like Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, Banting books by Tim Noakes and even some Vegetarian and Vegan books and blogs I could find, because it was like a whole new world was opened to me and I was soaking up everything I could possibly learn about food!
Not long after that I made some drastic changes to what we ate and kept at home, it took some time but little by little we eliminated or swopped 80% of our items at home. I felt like we were moving forward but somehow I always struggled with portion sizes..
I have no problem eating healthy and eating organic, l can do that easily! my problem is with portion control.. If you struggle with this you will definitely feel me.. and while I might not be the portion control guru I have learnt some practical tips and tricks that have helped me along the way from the book Mindless Eating by Brian Wanskink and although it might seem like a never ending road being mindful of our eating habits goes a long way and making conscious decisions about how we eat, we can make modest, incremental changes to our diets.
So without further ado, here are some helpful tips from the book, you can also purchase the book here to get more detailed insight as to why this works and how we can easily "trick" our brains to eating less.
1. Resturants and Marketers can use all kinds of tips and tricks to influence what we eat
Almost everyone thinks they are impervious to marketing but that is not true.. it turns out that when it comes to food there are some marketing tricks that work on everyone.. fancy words used to describe a dish can fool you into thinking its more delicious.. which to you prefer for the same dish Seafood Fillet or Succulant Italian Seafood Fillet?
2. We can manipulate the subconscious factors that affect our appetite to our own benefit
If you want to fool yourself into thinking you've eaten more calories than you actually have, our eyes not our stomachs determine how full we feel after a meal.. so if a meal appears large we will feel full after eating it.. Just fill your plate with low calorie foods.
3.The size of your serving - and the plate its on can fool you into eating more than you need
The bigger the plate or container given to us the more we will eat, so how can we apply this knowlege, firstly its important to understand that we rely mostly on visual cues to decide how much we want to eat this means that our appetite can be affected by optical illusions, specifically those relating to the size of the plate.. for e.g if you take to equally sized portions and serve them on a smaller and bigger plate the portion on the larger plate will seem smaller..restaurants know this and serve most starters on a relatively large plate for the portion size.. so to sum it up. eat on a smaller plate.
4. We rely on social cues to tell us when to stop eating rather than listening to our body
Unfortunately when it comes to eating our bodies are super delayed as telling us when its full, this is because it takes our brains 20min to register that we have eaten enough and are full.. and alot can happen in 20min.. so if our bodies dont tell us when to stop eating what does? SOCIAL CUES we all tend to eat until the last person has finished a meal or if we finish our first helping and see someone else still eating we will typically go for seconds .. try this instead.. EAT SLOWLY
5 Tracking what youve already eaten during a meal can help you eat less
I personally use the app "lose it" and "my fitness pal" to track of what ive eaten in a day and how many calories each meal has .. its pretty easy to use and doesn't require any brain work :) you simply punch in the food and it works everything out for you..
I hope this little bit of insight will help you eat mindfully :)
On this weeks NEWSLETTER
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Green Olive Tapenade