You may have overlooked a curious phenomenon: food (and drink) portions and serving sizes have been getting bigger and bigger at restaurants and grocery stores over the last few years, especially of those that are the least healthy, such as potato chip bags, bakery goods, refillable cups…
Add to this the recent studies that show how people consume more calories when offered bigger portions, and it’s easy to understand why we end up ingesting more calories than we need and, thus, gaining weight.
As an example, many restaurants serve dishes that exceed the normal food requirements of the average person. A healthy alternative is to share your meal with your companion—order one appetizer and one entrée to share.
Another option is to ask the waiter to set part of your dish on the side to avoid finishing the whole thing.
Eating at home makes it easier to control what we eat. A simple tip is to avoid having seconds: bring a full plate, not a full tray, to the table. Keeping food out of reach, and out of sight, will help you quit eating once you’ve finished what’s on your plate.
Another tip involves not eating in front of the TV. Research shows that paying attention to what’s on the screen, and not what’s on the plate, leads people to keep eating without realizing it. This can be particularly troublesome when there’s a bag of chips or cookies within arm’s length. The best idea is to bring with you to the sofa only what you really want to eat. Pay attention to the food that you eat and to how it makes you feel; once you’ve had enough, stop.
One last piece of advice—as counterintuitive as it may seem: if you’re hungry, eat. As kids many of us were told not to snack between meals and to always finish the food on our plates. Go ahead and forget those childhood ‘teachings’.
If hunger strikes, answer back with a piece of fruit; it’s a lot better than waiting until the next meal, when we’ll be hungrier and much more eager to binge.
To avoid eating food that’s bad for you:
-Substitute a fruit platter for that bag of sweets, both at home and at work.
-Place those tempting, calorie-rich goodies beyond reach or sight: candy, pastries, ice cream, cookies… they all belong way in the back of your cupboard or fridge. The same goes for bulk foods and 3-for-the-price-of-2 specials. Once you can no longer see these products, the urge to cook them and eat them as soon as possible will disappear.
The answer lies in giving your willpower all the help it can get. As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind”.