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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Size it up for GOOD measure

Now that you are getting the gist of what foods are good for your body, it is time to take control. Control of the PORTIONS of these foods. No matter what foods you are eating, too much of anything is NEVER a good thing. I often hear "but what about eating a lot of vegetables, or drinking a lot of water?" The answer is the same. When it comes to our bodies, it is usually not the "poison," rather the dose that does us in...

Think of broccoli for example. It is full of wonderful vitamins (especially C) and fiber. When we eat too much  broccoli however, that fiber expands in our stomach and can give us gas or a stomach ache. Is this as harmful as too much of an unhealthy snack? Of course not, but it is still proof that too much of a good thing can be bad as well and therefore, we need to learn how much food is suitable.

An easy way to gain control of your portions and calories is to MEASURE your food. For some, this may seem tedious and unenjoyable. I totally get it. However, once you start measuring your food, you can accurately gauge what you are eating and how much you need to eat to lose, maintain, or gain weight. To measure your food simply look at your food package and measure the amount of calories you want by following the serving size listed above the Nutrition Facts. For more accurate measurements, purchase a food scale, liquid and dry measuring cups, and measuring spoons. (all can be purchased at most supermarkets or chain superstores).  Remember once you purchase them, USE them! You will soon notice that you do not need to measure all of the time because you will have familiarized yourself with correct portion sizes!

Of course, there are other ways to gauge correct food amounts and eat less without measuring...

  • USE SMALLER SERVING PLATES: When we serve food on smaller plates, we eat less! It is proven that people like to fill their plates. So if you get a smaller plate, you can make your meal look just as appealing.  Your brain wont know the difference and your body will thank you!
  • SLOW DOWN: When you take your time eating, your brain receptors have more time to recognize your satiety level. Many people eat until they are full rather than satisfied and believe it or not it may NOT be a question of gluttony.  It takes about 20 minutes for our brain to recognize and send appropriate signals to the rest of our body when we are in fact, satisfied. So unless you slow down, your body will let you eat and eat until finally you have a stomach ache and decide, enough is enough. *TRY THIS*: The French are known for their rich foods, yet also known for their slim figures.  One habit they practice is to put down their fork in between every bite. Every bite of every meal is savored.  In turn, they enjoy food more, eat less, and don't stress about their diet. Now wouldn't that be nice?
  • SIT DOWN: When you hover over a counter top or eat on the go, you are less likely to appreciate and enjoy your food.  When you sit down, you naturally slow down and enjoy your meal, hence, reducing the chance for feeling a need for more food.
  • SOCIALIZE: Now this can be tricky...There are PROS and CONS to eating with company. The great part about eating with others is the social interaction. When we talk, we tend to slow down our meal time, which we now know is key to not over eating. However, eating with others can also be dangerous. If our friends or families enjoy unhealthy foods in surplus, we tend to feel comfortable indulging as well. After all were among friends, right? Not so much... Enjoy the company and the relaxing atmosphere but be mindful of what and how much you are eating. 
Below are 3 links that will help you on your way...

1)The Mayo Clinic has a very comprehensive article on portion sizes. I advise you to click on the link and bookmark it so that you have a point of reference.  

Stay Well

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