Do you often overeat? How to do portion control? Do you feel physically uncomfortable and depressed after overeating? If yes, then portion control is a must for you. Isn’t it silly that now we fail to understand how much to eat? Look at babies, if they are not hungry, you will never be able to feed them an extra spoon. But even being adults and mature we lack this basic sensitivity. We look for portion control tools, portion control diet, and whatnot. Yes, we have mastered making simple things complicated.
What is portion control?
Portion control is a method of limiting your daily calorie intake. It is all about measuring food as per their calorie, carbohydrate, and fat and deciding the serving amount. Basically in another word, it ruins the entire fun of enjoying a meal. Correct?
Portion control would not be required if we could have been able to say NO to food at the right time. Now, what is the right time? It depends on you, your hunger which again depends on your physical and mental state. But it is clear that our smart life has made us so dumb that we miserably fail to find our satiety at the right time. Not convinced? Look at the overweight and obesity data.
Why do you overeat?
We have a strong network between our brain and stomach. They communicate well and tell us when to eat and when to stop. Ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and leptin (the satiety hormone) are the two hormones that play a major role in this entire communication. Most of the time we catch the hunger sensation easily (in fact half of the time we don’t feel hungry due to frequent snacking). But most of the time smartphone, laptop, television or social media keeps us busy and distracted during eating and fail us to find the satiety point.
Besides this, processed and junk foods are designed to make them addictive. Therefore, craving and temptation for sugary junk (or salty one) leads us to go overboard even after having guilt back of our mind.
How to do portion control ?
Portion control does not always need tools – portion control measuring cups, portion control plates, etc. Following a few tips can make the situation better for you.
Portion control starts from the basics tips –
1. Deep sleep for 8 hours
Good deep sleep has become a sheer luxury for most of us. But your body still treats sleep as a necessity. Study shows that insufficient sleep increases the food craving next day. So be aware.
2. Drink enough water – approx 3 liters a day
Water is life, we read it somewhere during childhood but never realized the meaning though. If you are reading this blog now, you belong to the privileged section of this society. We never dream of water scarcity, keeping a long line for collecting water. But unknowingly we create water scarcity inside our body probably every day. Most of us forget drinking water where the fact is our body dysfunctions due to lack of water. In fact most of the time we misunderstood thirst with hunger. So next time if you feel hungry, try drinking some water.
Tips for portion control before eating –
3. Stop over cooking
No matter how much security we are, we always feel insecure about everything. Many of us cook extra thinking of food shortages which hardly happen. And we end up eating extra portions for each meal. So stop being insecure and try to cook adequately but not extra.
4. Drink a glass of water 20 to 30 minutes before a meal
Yes, it works. Drinking a glass of water before your meal gives you a sense of satiety soon. So it is one of the most natural and great ways to make your portion control.
5. Check the menu first
If you are the lucky one who gets hot cooked food always in front, don’t forget to check the menu. It will help you to plan your meal portion accordingly.
6. Don’t eat straight from the food storing containers
This is the worst eating habit ever. No matter how much self-control you have, eating straight from the storing jar/pan will make you eat extra than usual. So relax. Take the food in a small bowl and then eat.
7. Take small plates
Eating on a big plate may be comfortable for a few but there is every possibility to end up eating more. So take small plates, self-serve little less food than usual, finish it and reload if needed.
8. Imagine dividing the plate as per the menu
This one is very effective. Do you often ask how much to eat? This trick gives you the correct answer. Always fill 1/4th of your plate with cereal (rice/ oats/ millets/ roti/ bread etc) and the rest 3/4th with legumes/ pulses, vegetables, fish/ chicken/ egg/ meat, and curd/ buttermilk/or any milk product. Remember each item is important and has its own place on the plate. Try imagining a typical Indian thali.
Caution – don’t be smart (rather fool) by maintaining the 1/4 section with rice but increasing the height of heaped rice.
9. Take bowl
If small plates are not working, you may try taking food in a medium-sized bowl. If you are a rice eater, this works great especially for dinner as we try to keep it simple. Let me tell you this one is my personal favorite. Fill the bowl with vegetables and then put the rice on top. Finish the bowl and if hungry go for the next helping.
10. Take half food
Trust me food is not going to get over. So go slow. Take half the amount of food than your actual hunger. Finish it slowly and if you are still hungry, go for the second helping. We get impatient, excited seeing food. Most of the time we lose control. So try this portion control technique. It works.
Tips for portion control during eating –
11. Relax, chew and eat slow
Yes, stop always being in hurry. Remember foods eaten in hurry always make you fat. No, I am not kidding. If you eat fast, you eat more for sure. So relax, chew your food. Let the saliva mix with your food and start the digestion in your mouth itself (remember amylolytic enzyme in saliva…10th standard biology?)
12. No gadget, smart phone, television, laptop while eating
I know you are busy, in fact very busy. But you must take out 10-15 minutes to finish your meal, free from all gadgets. Concentrate on your food. Eat slow and be mindful to understand the communication which your body is trying to set up with you for long. Identify your satiety point and stop eating. If you are busy on What’s App or Facebook you will definitely eat until you start feeling physical discomfort.
13. Think twice or thrice before taking the second helping
A very important tip for portion control. Always think twice rather than thrice before you take the second helping. Most of the time we take it not out of hunger but out of greed.
Tips for portion control after eating –
14. Sweet craving? Try mukhwas
For many of us entire effort for portion control go for a toss after finishing the meal. Yes, because this is when we start getting the sweet craving. Don’t feel alone. Being a Bengali, I can completely relate to your struggle. That is why my list of portion control tips does not end with finishing a meal, rather it starts after finishing the meal. If you crave sweets after a meal, try a teaspoon of mukhwas. It is the mixture of Indian spices which helps to get rid of this craving.
15. Write diet diary
What !! after such a hectic day, now writing a diet diary !?? Yes, I know it is a bit too much but friends this works wonders. No matter if you have followed the tips above, this one is the killer. Why? because writing a diet diary makes you remember every single bite of food you had throughout the day. So after writing this, you need no dietitian to tell you where you have gone wrong. Trust me, this is the most powerful self-monitoring as well as self-motivating tool ever. Forget your food app/ health app. Just take a small notebook and pen, spend 3-4 minutes every night before bed and write down all your dietary achievements and sins.
Also read – Step by step Indian diet guide for weight loss
Portion control is a must to keep the checks and balances in place. Even junks are still okay if taken little and good food is harmful if eaten too much. So it is necessary to know when to open your mouth and when to shut it. The dream of weight loss or healthy life is meaningless until we learn to strike the balance.
I am nobody to tell you how much you need to eat. Portion control should be done by you, your brain, and by your stomach. So have some respect and trust in your own body. Your body constantly communicating with you. Pay attention to listen to it. You don’t need any portion control measuring cups or portion control tools to stay in shape. Stop wasting time thinking about how to do portion control. Figure out which tip is perfect for you to follow. Just be a little mindful. Is that very difficult?
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