Ah, Man Vs. Food! One of my all time favorite shows. It puts on full display the agony caused by stuffing oneself to full capacity. I can remember chowing down like I was in a one on one eating battle to the death with the star of this show, Adam Richman. Thankfully, since growing out of my 20’s, I figured out this is no longer an option “on the table” for me! The single most devastating habit for anyone attempting to lose weight is their inability to manage portion control in meals. This is also the most common mistake most make on a day to day basis. So how is this ugly habit reconditioned? How can we avoid all together stuffing ourselves to the brim when we sit down for a meal? Well, we have the answer! Here are 3 simple strategies to put a stop to over consumption that when implemented, will have unbelievable effects on your weight loss results.
- Keep Your Hunger at Bay-If you were going to rank your hunger level from 1-10 with 1 being completely stuffed and a 10 meaning you’d eat a cardboard box if it had ketchup on it, you want to keep your hunger levels between 3 and 7. We’ve all been there. We get busy with our day, lunch time rolls around, but your in the zone and wind up working straight through lunch. You make it to the end of the day, and the pangs set in. By the time you get home, you grab the nearest item in your pantry that is full of salt, fat, and carbs. This is because your blood sugar is low, and your instinctively feel the need to satiate as quickly as possible! You hammer a bag of wavy lays potato chips in about 3 minutes, and wash it down with a glass of lemonade. RELIEF! At least for about 10 minutes until your body begins to process that you just bombarded it with about 3000 calories of fat, starch, and sugar. You then feel miserable for about an hour until dinner when you don’t have an appetite for high quality, nutrient dense calories you are accustomed to for dinner.
- First off, never skip lunch! Plan and prepare for the following day! Think about what you will have for lunch the following day, then commit to eating it.
- Secondly, pack an afternoon snack! Pick something that has high protein density such as yogurt or cottage cheese and combine with your favorite veggie snack.
- Keep Portion Sizes Small- I’ve always wanted to go through my cabinets and smash to bits all of our dinner plates. However, I don’t think my wife would take kindly to that. Okay, that may be a little drastic, but seriously, do you really need a plate that large? I think it is natural for many to fill all the space on your plate. This of course, results in far greater portions than are needed to satisfy your caloric needs. I don’t know about you, but growing up we were always expected to finish everything on the plate before being excused from the dinner table. This strategy may be okay for an active, growing child, but not necessary for a sedentary adult not looking to “grow” anymore.
- Use a small Plate! Using a smaller “salad” plate will automatically result in reduced portion sizes.
- Evenly distribute Macros- Take equal space on your plate for veggies, carbs, and protein. Consistently ensuring that carbs don’t dominate your caloric intake will go miles in your pursuit of fat loss.
- Eat Slowly- This is a lesser known, but super effective way of stopping short of overfilling the tank! You see, it takes a few minutes for the stomach to relay to the brain that it is on the verge of bursting. So, if you are jamming food down your throat like a rabid hyena, you don’t feel the urge to stop until it’s too late. 20 minutes later, you’re laid out on the couch in a miserable food coma. Don’t be that guy. When eating, no matter how hungry you are, try these actions:
- Put your fork down in between bites, and take your time chewing your food! Enjoy the flavor, and break the food down a bit before swallowing. This is a step in the digestive process many people rush through, and may be missing out on absorption of some valuable nutrients.
- Wait at least 5 minutes before going in for seconds. Most of the time, you will feel completely satiated if you just give the food a little time to settle. This step alone could save you 300 calories or more each occurance. That adds up!
Take the next week to try to instill this habit and strategies into your routine! Through consistent effort, this habit can and will create changes far Beyond what you thought possible!