Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Portion Control

More often than not, you will discover that the problem with weight is in direct correlation to the portion size. We live in a nation of supersize and more for your money. We seek out deals that often offer us more food for less money. We have allowed economics drive our diet.
For me, my diet is rather well balanced (could use more fresh fruits and veggies) but my problem is I eat lots of it. I love food. I love good deals. And I am not one to leave food on my plate because that's a waste of perfectly good food. One thing I want to note is that my parents were not the sort that made us clean our plates, this is a habit I developed all on my own.
In my house, the rule is you don't have to eat all your food but if you want seconds then you must clean your plate. This ensures my son eats his veggies before going back for more rice or pasta.
We're also carb lovers. I can live off of bread, pasta and rice. I love vegetables so that's good but I'm not big on fruit necessarily. Meat I can take or leave most of the time. I love starch and this shows in my food diary. I often lack in my protein and go over on my carbs.
How does this all translate to weight loss and budgeting? Easy - portion control means eating a set amount of food. For me, this means measuring the food so I know how much I am eating and so I can accurately record it in my diary on Sparkpeople. Knowing exactly how much food I should eat encourages me to cook less. Cooking less save on my budget.
Now you may feel that bulk cooking works best for you. Great, so long as you are watching your quantities. More food encourages us to eat more. That stems from a time when food was more difficult to regulate. Bigger plates encourage us to dish up more because we want to feel like we are eating.
For my house, cooking in bulk means one of two things - my 14 year old son eats all the leftovers because they are there or we throw out the leftovers because we forgot about them. This is not always true but it happens more often than I like. Cooking enough to feed everyone reduces waste.
Am I hungry? The honest answer is yes. My body is getting adequate calories and nutrients but I'm hungry because my body is used to eating more. Our stomach is flexible, it stretches and shrinks to accomodate food cycles (back when we were hunters and gatherers). Just because I am hungry doesn't mean I'm starving.
Hunger is a tricky thing. If I allow myself to get too hungry then I will overeat when I have the chance. I might sneak in a snack which, more often than not, will be something with little nutrition.
The beginning of retraining my body to eat less is hard which is why most people fail at their diet. I don't deny myself a type of food but I limit how much I eat. I don't feel deprived but I feel hungry. I'm working on teaching my body to eat differently than I did before. It sucks, I'm not going to lie, but it's the same as if I was training to do anything. If I wanted to run a marathon - I would ache, I would be tired. I know I would wake up some mornings and question my whole reason for doing the marathon and wonder if it's really worth it. It's all worth it when you cross that finish line.

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