Over the years the size of the ‘standard’ portion sizes has become much larger. For example, twenty years ago bagels used to be 3 inches in diameter and about 140 calories. Now, bagels are double the size at 6 inches and double the calories at 350.
We have become accustomed to eating these much larger portions at each meal, with the trend showing no sign of slowing down. What these large portions can do is really mess with your internal appetite sensors that are essential for helping control the amount we eat. These sensors give us the feelings of either fullness or hunger, depending on when, what and how much we have eaten. Consequently, those who have over eaten for years may have deregulated appetite sensors so despite eating well, they do not eat little enough or in a way that controls appetite, nor have they learnt to listen to their body signals for satiety and hunger.
This guide is therefore here to help teach ways to help manage personal portion control and learn to listen to your body signals.
How Often Should I Eat?
Start with the basic 3 meals per day of breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you have a heavy physical work or training schedule then add in another meal. It is important to actually feel hungry before you eat, so you can learn to listen to your body and its internal signals of whether to eat or not.
What Should A Typical Meal Look Like?
At each main meal you should have one portion of protein, vegetables and fats.
Protein – One portion of protein should be the size of one palm of your hand. If eating eggs as a protein source then have only 2-3 eggs per meal. This protein will help to maintain our lean tissue (muscle) which will make sure our metabolism remains high, thus burning more calories at rest.
Vegetables – One portion of vegetables should be the size of your fist. These vegetables will provide your main source of carbohydrates, whilst also packing a huge punch of nutrients that are vital for our bodies to function optimally.
Starchy Carbohydrates – Starchy carbohydrates (e.g. rice, sweet potato) can be extremely useful when it comes to replenishing our glycogen stores (i.e. energy) following an intense workout. So it can be useful to include one portion of starchy carbohydrates into your post-workout meal. One portion of starchy carbohydrates is ½-1 fist. However, if you feel you function and feel much better without starchy carbohydrates, then don’t bother including them in your meal.
Fats – One portion of fats should be the size of your thumb. If using cooking oils or fat as your source of fats, then 2-3 teaspoons is regarded as one portion. These fats help with hormone function and building of hormones, which are essential for our body and organs to be functioning properly.
These handy tips (pardon the pun) should help to control your portion sizes to a personalised amount based upon the size of your hand. As a result, this will help to manage you eat each day very easily without the hassle of weighing food or counting calories or macronutrients (i.e. protein, carbohydrates, fats).
You can find this easy guide to portion sizes and control on this link below:
Other Handy Tips
Slowing down your eating will help to give your brain the chance to recognise that your body has taken in some nourishment and start sending out subtle satiety signals. Easy way is to put your knife and fork down between each bite or do something like refill your water during your meal.