Portion Distortion

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

How man of us suffer from portion distortion emoticon.

A big part of my life style change has been re-teaching myself not only how to eat RIGHT, but HOW MUCH. I was your typical food junkie - addicted to not just food, but bad food, and lots of it. Some nights I'd eat TWO dinners. I never realized just how over board my calories were until I started logging and paying attention. It was seriously alarming. Did you know that the stomach is the size of your fist? How many times have we all had a meal that was 3-4 times the size of that - maybe even more? One message was clear when I decided to change my lifestyle: I had to get my portions under control if I was to ever succeed and maintain weight loss.

I've used several basic tools though to help
1. Minimize my food intake to an appropriate level
2. Ensure I was actually eating what I was logging
3. Making sure I was eating appropriate portion sizes
4. Eat until I was satisfied, not stuffed.

Tip #1
Measuring Food. Before I started my journey I had no idea what a cup of pasta looked like, or what 3 oz of meat looked like either. I had no idea that the plate of spaghetti I ate had 3-4 servings of pasta, plus 3 servings of sauce, and 5 servings of cheese! I just thought "It's a plate of spaghetti". I keep on hand (even at work) measuring cups, a food scale, and measuring spoons. These simple items have GREATLY helped teach me proper portion sizes and helped me reduce my intake. Instead of eating from the bag of something, I measure it out.

Use a smaller plate. Rather than piling your food on a large dinner plate, use a salad plate -- if your a "clean plate club" member it makes you feel like you just had a satisfying dinner.

Tip #3
Eat slowly. Did you know it takes your stomach 20 minutes to send signals to your brain that your full? If you take your time eating - it helps prevent you from over eating, leaving you with that "I need to unbutton my pants now" feeling.

Tip #4
Did you know that in the last 50 years portion sizes have doubled?

Going out to eat is nearly impossible these days with out going overboard. A tip to help combat over eating when dining out is to ask for half of your meal to go - or box half of it up right when you get it. If its "out of sight out of mind" your less likely to pick at it. Better yet, order an appetizer as your meal.
I found this chart very interesting hopefully you can read it if not go to

(if you can't read the picture go to

Tip #5
Learn how to read labels -- this is something i never paid attention to before, and consequently I was obsese. I never bothered to pay attention to the label on the back of the chip bag that 9 chips was 1 serving - so by sitting down with the bag and eating half of it I was getting half a days worth of calories, not to mention too much of the other stuff like fat and sodium.

Tip #6
Drink your water. Often times thirst can be mistaken for hunger. When your body is dehydrated it can often trick you into thinking you are really hungry. So before you reach for a snack - drink a glass of water and wait 10 minutes.

Tip #7
Order from the kids menu. With how out of control portions are these days a kids meal is a more appropriate amount of food. Some places wont let you order from the kids menu, but it NEVER hurts to ask

Tip #8
Split meals. This is something my husband and I have started to do and it really helps cut down on over indulging!

Tip #9:
My last and final tip for combating over eating is to eat often. I know there have been too many times to count where I have gone all day with out eating because I was "too busy" then dinner rolled around and I completely pigged out - and justified it because I was SO hungry! Eating more frequently through out the day has GREATLY helped me control my portions and not over eat.

Best of luck :) with the right information, tricks, and tools we can do anything!!
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