Lack of Portion Control Often Leads to Overeating


Large Restaurant Food Portions

Portion control tackles the behavioral component of an unhealthy diet.  Food has gotten bigger since the 70's...and so have we.  Lack of portion control is a big part of the trend towards obesity in the western world, and there are lots of tactics that one can use to become more aware of appropriate meal portions.  Most overeating is not done consciously, but due to a lack of portion size perception.

Tackling portion sizes at home is actually the easiest of all, if one puts a little thought into it.  Repackaging bulk and big box foods into single servings is a great start to curb unconscious overeating.  Actually purchasing and serving meals on smaller plates also helps.  The plate will look full, but less will fit. 

Serving a complete plate of food instead of putting the serving dishes out family style helps to discourage seconds and allows for more time for the stomach to acknowledge that it is full.  Slowing down, enjoying the food on the plate, taking time to chew and digest, and not getting up right away for seconds helps a smart eater listen better to their body, and understand when they are actually full.

More advanced methods of portion control involve actually measuring the foods before they are eaten.  Recent studies indicate that the size of the average bagel is more than twice what the USDA recommends, pasta is served in quantities that are more than 4 times the average recommendation, and cookies are just plain massive compared to what their serving size is supposed to be.  Measuring may not be convenient, but doing it for a short period of time and doing it periodically may remind a healthy eater of what their portioning is supposed to look like.  That reminder alone may make a big difference in their portion control and overall success.  

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