We all know that portion control is important when we eat, whether or not we are trying to lose weight. Portion sizes have increased dramatically over the last few decades, and pretty much everything we buy has gotten bigger than what it was 30 years ago. As a rule of thumb, our protein source should be no bigger than our palm, grains should be the size of our fist, and you can pretty much go crazy with the veggies. Following these rules, you can pretty much eat what you like….just as long as it’s in moderation. Depending on your training and what you are trying to acheive, your portions and the foods you eat will vary. However, for someone that is struggling to eat a bit less than they usually do, or to choose more nutrient dense foods there are some pretty simple things to trick your body into eating less and not even realizing it.
1. Eat From a Smaller Plate- When serving yourself some food, grab the smaller plate. We tend to fill a vessel until it is full, and studies have shown that with a larger plate we pile on the lower nutrient dense calories (Read unhealthy crap). Smaller plates are filled with healthier foods and the portions stay on track as well. If you constantly eat from a smaller dish, you will be eating a lot less food over time and your body will not even realize it. A big part of eating is psychological, so if we still see a full plate, regardless of size, we feel fuller faster and with less food.
2. Eat From a Blue Plate or Bowl- Think about all the fast food places you have been to. What’s the one thing they all have in common?
Red! Psychologically, red tends to make us believe that we are hungrier than we really are. It also causes us to make poor decisions in what we eat. By using red, we tend to be impulsive and choose unhealthier foods. Using a blue dish can help you eat less and make you feel more content with the reduced portion. Blue is a calming colour and helps to reduce our stress levels. Also, being a rare colour in nature, we don’t have an automatic appetite response to blue.
3. Drink a Glass of Water Before Each Meal- This trick has a couple outcomes. First, and the most obvious, is that by having a large glass of water right before you eat will make you eat less. You have filled up some of that stomach space, and therefore, don’t need as much food. Also, many people don’t drink enough water during the day. By doing this one simple thing you are already adding at least 3 glasses of water a day. Its a win-win.
4. Reduce Your Stress Levels- Stress eating is the biggest excuse people have when they gain weight. Reducing your stress levels will allow you to make better decisions when it comes to food, and stop you from eating all day long. Simple things like taking a bath, cleaning the house, and meditation can help if you are trying to reduce the amount of food you eat.
All it takes are a few lifestyle changes to really see a difference. Soon you won’t need to trick your body into eating less, or choosing the right foods. It will all be automatic and the new normal for you.
I am not usually an advocate for eating less food because people tend to hear ‘skip a meal’ or ‘don’t eat until dinner’. I don’t ever recommend skipping any meals or limiting snacking (But they should be healthy and small…chocolate bars don’t count). However, many people do need help when choosing serving sizes. When we are hungry, we tend to serve more than needed, and eat it all. If you feel like you can’t walk after a meal, you definitely ate too much. Once you get a hold of your portions, it won’t be so difficult and you will be able to limit yourself to what you really want and need to eat. And once you notice positive changes in your health, you will never want to go back. To be honest, sometimes it’s not about eating less, but eating right.