I knew in advance what my wife’s reaction would be before I told her I intended to write an article on portion control. She’s watched me eat for over 30 years and she knows how I love to eat . . . until I’m full!
That’s NOT a good way to lose weight.
Eating until you’re full can easily result in stomach stretching. This happens because your brain doesn’t get the message that you’re full until about 20 minutes or so after you reach capacity. By then, you’ve probably eaten more — unless you stopped when you were getting “comfortably full.” When you eat all you can “stuff in” and stretch your stomach repeatedly in a short period of time, it will retain the new, larger size and then it will take more to satisfy you. This cycle can become repetitive and result in a significant weight gain and a larger abdomen – something most people try to avoid . . . unless you’re going into sumo wrestling!
There are a number of things you can do to help this become easier. Eating 6 SMALLER meals throughout the day instead of 3 larger ones will help you to maintain normal blood sugar levels and will stave off the hunger pangs which often lead to overeating. That process will be made easier yet if you prepackage your meals in advance WHEN YOU’RE FULL and carry them with you in ziplock bags.
Another trick you can try is this. About 20 – 30 minutes before your evening meal, take a fiber supplement (or an apple) and a large glass of water. By the time you sit down to eat, the fiber will be absorbing the water and beginning to fill your stomach. You will get the feeling of fullness you like sooner and you will gain the advantage of additional fiber which many Americans tend to shortchange in their diets. This should only be used once per day, and the evening meal is the time most people overeat – that is why I suggest this timing. Water and fiber are your friends – USE THEM!
Make sure you’re getting the right amount of sleep. Most people will tend to gain more weight on less than 7 hours or more than 9 hours of sleep. The lack of sleep will cause your body to produce too much of the hormone ghrelin – an appetite stimulant. It will also cause it to slow production of leptin – the hormone that sends the “stop eating” signal to your brain. Make sure you stay in the right range.
Eat slowly and savor every bite you eat. By doing this, you will thoroughly enjoy your food and give your brain more time to get the message that you are full. (Some people have found that they eat less when they visualized eating it before actual ingestion took place). Exercise your self control a bit by stopping when you’re beginning to get comfortable – or before, if you’re able. In 20 minutes or so, you will probably feel full.
If you continue this practice of stopping before hitting the tipping point, your stomach will shrink somewhat – in about 2 weeks. You can then continue this and your stomach will shrink as long as you don’t restretch it – then you’ll have to start over again. A visual trick that works is using a smaller plate. It takes less food to fill a small plate, and that full plate will help your brain to think it’s getting plenty because it will visually appear that way to you.
Portion control works . . . you just have to practice it. Keeping your meals small and frequent will help keep you satisfied, and then your metabolism will speed up a bit since it won’t feel like it has to store calories until the next meal. Keep the total caloric intake at your predetermined number, continue to get the exercise you need, and you’ll be on your way to your ideal weight.
Contact Dave for additional info.
Dave – Your Harford County, Maryland Personal Fitness Trainer
Results are what you’ll get when you train with me. I’m conveniently located in Forest Hill near the center of Harford County, Maryland. Clients come to me from Fallston, Jarrettsville, Bel Air, Forest Hill and Baltimore. I’ve got the experience, the ability, the knowledge and the success stories of my students to testify that my training is result driven and result based. Visit my webpage for more information.