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The Art Of Portion Control

Posted Sep 21 2009 10:24pm

Tonight
ctaloi

This post came up spontaneously as I realised that I was regularly gorging myself with food on odd evenings (usually hungry/ravenous after work). It is 100% healthy and nutritious but still leaves a feeling of bloat and fullness which is both unpleasant and causes stress on the body.

What Is A Good Portion? This is a tricky question and it comes down to the individual but there are a few things that you can do to gauge how much you should be eating without measuring out your food or sticking to “zone” type guidelines.
You should feel satisfied and full after a meal but it should be a light and pleasant fullness that leaves you ready to go for a long walk or relax without the need to sit down to digest your food. If you leave the table feeling ravenous or with some deep seated craving that’s no good either. For me getting the right type of satisfaction comes from the following;

  • A good intake of Healthy Fats. Make sure you eat your Olive Oil, Avocado and Omega-3 Packed fish!
  • A large portion of greens, especially a well dressed salad with things like seeds and carrots/celery etc. This gives a good sense of satisfaction without a high calorie load and is an ideal way to start a meal.
  • Protein, especially in the evening. Having a large cut of meat or fish will definitely serve as a good tool to replenish your body and aide in satiety.
  • Occasionally a small glass of red wine with a meal will help close of the meal and stop me from over eating.
  • Eat Slowly and mindfully enjoying your food. This is something overlooked but acts as a natural portion limiter. Don’t eat away pain, sorrow or fear….

Being prepared to save things as leftovers is also a good way to stop overeating as it avoids that “nothing to waste” mindset as you know the food will be put away and can be used the next day to prepare another delicious meal.

What Harm Does Overeating Cause? Overeating or eating until stuffed can have detrimental effects on the body especially when done at the wrong times. One of the main disadvantages of having a huge dinner and not taking time to digest before bed is that it will blunt your bodies production of Growth Hormone. Now this is not so much a problem for just muscle growth but literally every other aspect of repair your body goes about doing in the first few hours of sleep. If you go to bed with a full stomach and are still in  the process of digesting a heavy meal the initial repair of Muscle, Skin, Organs, and Inflammation will be hindered this is no good for anyone. You will probably find that going to bed relaxed but slightly hungry or what could be called a “light” feeling is the best for a good deep and refreshing sleep.

One tip is to take a walk after dinner each evening nothing long 10-20 minutes will do and it doesn’t need to be brisk just an enjoyable stroll while listening to some relaxing music or talking with a partner/friend is great. I also find that chewing a few pieces of Sugar Free gum after a meal is a great way to initiate digestion and refresh out the mouth. When you get home relax sip on a herbal tea and unwind….

Eat little, sleep sound.  ~Iranian Proverb

Its always best to stay light and energetic especially throughout the day. So the same goes for lunch and breakfast. Its far more enjoyable to have a light lunch and if hungry graze on some raw vegetables, nuts or even a small bit of good cheese in the afternoon if it helps you. This will keep you energised and focused rather than giving the sluggish and bloated effect a big meal can induce.

Pretty Simple - Its just something to remember, maybe its something that applies to the people who have a more ravenous or greedy nature but its also something we can all benefit from. Eating slowly, chewing well and enjoying every bite of your food will lead to better digestion, better health and superior wellbeing.

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