Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Nutrition: Overeating

Do you know what correct portion size is?

WebMD has a little guide for you of the recommended portion size. Health Magazine does too. What I like are the size comparisons. Now when I eat meat, I think of a deck of cards.

Nuts, peanut butter, or cheese = golfball
Meat = deck of cards
Fruits and veggies = tennis or baseball
Grains or potatoes = computer mouse
Fats = game die

Here is a video of tips to cut down on overeating. SCIENCE!
(Note: I do have some red bowls, and I tend not to use them as much. Hmm..)

Other Tips:

  • Don't skip meals so you are starving and want to fill your stomach with easy to grab snacks.
  • Eat breakfast. Eat protein at breakfast.
  • Eat veggies first. 
  • Eat foods higher in fiber, protein, and water to fill you up with fewer calories. Especially snacks. The ideal snack has less than 200 calories, 10 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fiber.
  • Try to avoid using food as comfort for a stressful day. (I like a fun size chocolate if I craving it, not a full size bar. Exercise is the best for stress!)
  • Only eat when you are hungry. Don't reach for that snack just because it is there and the TV is on.
  • The brain feels full at 20 minutes. If you slow down, you will eat less and feel satisfied. Learn to know when you feel satisfied so you aren't uncomfortable afterwards.
  • Ask for dressing on the side.
  • Dip your pancakes in syrup instead of pouring it on. This goes for gravy and dressing too.

I once worked in a group home taking care of some gentlemen with special needs. One of them had diabetes. In order to care for him, we had to measure and weigh his food. We had a list of foods he could eat, whether they counted as starches or vegetables, the amounts of each he was allowed to have, and the correct ratio of vegetables to proteins to grains and fruits.

When I first saw this, I found it daunting. I certainly did not measure MY food. I was terrible at planning my own meals. How was I going to do this for that man?

He complained the entire time that he wasn't getting enough food. His portions were visually smaller than those of his roommates. He would rant that he was starving an hour later. He would try to sneak snacks.

Do any of these sound like the excuses you would make? :)

His meals were planned, his food weighed, and he was not starving. We should all eat like this. (What we should have done was also feed his roommates the same way, but allow them seconds.)

Once my family was seated next to a family of 4 adults of very large size at Texas Roadhouse. Two of them had chairs at the end of an extra table because they couldn't fit in the bench seats. They each ordered an appetizer, a full entree and dessert. Every plate was empty on the table when they finished. Then they explained that they had to sit for 30 minutes after eating because they would get acid reflux.

I thought, "Well, if you fill up your esophagus, where is the gas and stomach acid gonna go when you move?"

One lesson learned here is, of course, portion control. You don't need appetizers, and entrees can be split, and extra food can go home so it will not be wasted.

My husband saw this family consume and heard them complain about the food coming back up, and he decided right then and there he did not want to live like them. I had already made that decision. We began splitting entrees, ordering waters to drink, and skipping appetizers and desserts altogether, unless it was part of a meal deal we could also split. We took extra food home, too. And yes, even with two of us eating from the same meal, we have leftovers! Serving size at restaurants is more than enough.

It helps to have a partner in healthy eating. Had he not made that decision, it would be harder for me to stop reaching for the snacks he offers me, or to not order a full entree because he had ordered one.

When we used to shop for groceries together, and I wanted a bunch of fruits and vegetables, but he had already filled the cart with boxes of crackers, chocolate cookies, and ice cream, the added expense of healthy foods weighed on my conscious enough to make me put some of it back. I was going to snack on the cookies anyway, simply because they were there.

With his help, I now no longer feel guilty about loading up on healthy snacks that may cost a dollar more. We read labels for high fructose corn syrup, white flour, grams of protein, or added preservatives. We buy fresher things. We buy healthier things. I turn down extra snacks, reminding him that I have healthy alternatives, or that I am not hungry.

Not overeating as a practice, is a step towards a healthier me. And you.

1 comment:

Jim said...

I'm with you on that one. Over the last couple of years, I've learned that I can subsist on much smaller portions than I expected. Convincing my brain and body of that, of course, is easier said than done, but discipline over several months changes the way you eat and think about food. It's remarkable how much better I feel when I'm not shoving lots of unhealthy food into my mouth. I'm a comfort eater, too, so maintaining discipline is a job of work, let me tell you, and I fall off the proverbial wagon from time to time. But it's worth the effort to me.