From a young age, our brains are fine-tuned to consume a healthy, balanced diet rich in essential nutrients. But as the years get added to our lives we tend to forget or ignore a lot of the goodness we are brought up with. The same becomes the case with food habits too. Binge-eating, eating at odd hours, not consuming a balanced diet, cravings for sweets, pastries, and junk food all contribute to not just an increase in kilos but also leads to various health problems. And many an excuse we give for the same ranging from lifestyle to busy schedule to lack of time – you name it! Being fat is not the direct result of an inactive lifestyle alone but also due to not considering what one is eating and how much of it is being eaten. In this article, we will discuss how portion control can help us to not just stay in shape but also stay healthy in the long run.
How Essential Is Dieting In Weight Loss?
When one speaks of weight loss one of the first things that comes to mind is to stick to a diet plan to serve the purpose. Simply put, the term ‘dieting’ refers to either restricting particular foods from one’s regular meals or consuming smaller amounts of food to lose weight or to stay fit and in shape. Various diet plans have come and gone where some stood the test of time and helped people reach their goal weights whereas yet others simply vanished with time not to be heard of again. When it comes to dieting, especially if it is to lose weight, what one needs to bear in mind is that not only does it call for a physical commitment but it also mandates a mental determination. In simpler words, only if the brain constantly signals the digestive system to refrain from cravings and related indulgence can one lose weight effectively. So, yes, dieting does play a major role in a person’s weight loss journey and the more one sticks to a diet plan that best suits their system the better.
How Much Is Too Much
Eating three regular meals a day, inclusive of the essential nutrients and vitamins that are important for healthy sustenance, is the usual norm in most households. Whilst this habit is recommended by doctors and nutritionists provided the meals are consumed on time, one should also not forget to eat only what is necessary and not go overboard. Often what happens is when the home-maker or chef in charge cooks a favorite meal people tend to eat more than what is required for the body. Let us not forget that such indulgence is not common for junk-food alone! And when this occurrence happens regularly, the stomach tends to get bigger, consumption increases and the person becomes fat. This in turn pressurizes the digestive system to work more than usual which causes an increase in blood sugar levels, bloating, general tiredness, and various other related illnesses. Certain factors determine how much food a person should consume. Let us take a look at some important ones:
- Age of the person
- Height of the person
- How much physical activity the person inputs in a day.
- Sleeping patterns of the person.
- The body composition of the person.
- Medical conditions if any.
- Type of food they prefer consuming.
The tell-tale signs that you have overeaten often crops up as bloating, discomfort, sweating, body temperature slightly rising during digestion, temptation to undo a pant button or a zipper, nausea, etc. The moment one feels one or all of the afore-mentioned then it is best to stop eating regardless of whether the plate is empty or not.
How To Practice Portion Control Effectively
Burning calories and weight loss are directly proportional to each other. If one needs to attain their goal weight one should make sure to reduce their regular intake of food but making sure not to compromise on the required nutrient intake at the same time. Listed below are some points that would help one practice portion control appropriately:
- Invest in smaller-sized tableware – a general rule of thumb is to live larger than life! But when it comes to eating habits if one goes by this motto then weight gain is a sure-shot byproduct! Larger plates and bowls would only signal our brain to eat/serve more food than required so it would be a smart choice to use smaller plates and bowls so the food served doesn’t seem too less. And once eating on smaller tableware becomes a habit it becomes easy to eat less and thereby lose weight and stay in fit and in shape.
- Drink a large glass of water before a meal – by doing so our stomach already feels half full and thus the food consumed during the meal gets considerably reduced. So portion control seems less like a task in this case. If drinking water seems difficult you can also drink a glass of lemonade or any fresh fruit juice of your choice.
- Add raw fruits and vegetables as part of every meal – making cut fruits and vegetables as mandatory portions of every meal-time considerably reduces the amount of cooked or favorite food intake of a person per meal. Fruits and vegetables not only fill the stomach up quicker but also makes the meal healthy.
- Add fewer carbs to the diet – adding fewer carbs plays a key role in weight loss. A meal served thus need not seem boring or less delicious. What one can do is add lesser portions of carbs like cooked rice and mashed potato and then serve more of mushrooms or lean meat with seasonings of one’s choice. Such a serving of food not only serves the purpose of weight loss but also makes the person finish their plate off happily!
- Munch and Crunch and take it slow – make sure that any food eaten is properly chewed and not outright swallowed half-chewed. This helps the digestive system better breakdown the food. To encourage proper chewing one can add nuts, half-cooked veggies like beans, peas, and the likes as well as lean meat so the person takes time to chew and swallow the food.
- Have soup – make it a habit to have a bowl of your favorite soup preferably with added vegetables before you take your forks and spoons out to wipe clean what is on the plate! In this way, you can ensure a better calorie intake, reduce the consumption of food during meals as well as increase the fiber intake which aids digestion.
- Focus on the meal and not on the screen – make it a habit to concentrate on the food while eating so that one can keep track of how much they are eating. Those who watched their televisions screens and mobile phones are generally observed to consume more food than those that didn’t. Sometimes such distractions won’t give people an idea of how much food they are eating owing to being engrossed in their favorite program and hence they tend to eat a lot more than needed.
- Swap desserts with a healthy indulgence – try to keep sweet cravings like puddings, chocolates, etc aside after a meal and instead make it a habit to sip into a favorite mug of flavored tea like vanilla, peppermint, lavender or green tea! One can also munch onto dates, raisins, or enjoy a small bowl of one’s favorite fruits drizzled with some honey.
From the above, it is evident that portion control does contribute positively to one’s weight-loss journey. The key is in making a meal seem not just palatable but also appealing.
Arrange the table settings to appease a romantic complete with scented candles and a vase of your favorite flowers, choose your favorite table-ware preferably all smaller in size and of colors that make you happy and cook every meal as if life itself is a celebration! And then ensure to eat light but happy.