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How to Be Mindful of Portion Size

nutrition Jan 05, 2024
Best Food for Fat Loss | Arangio

I tried to eat mindfully at a party, but the appetizers were like a siren song. Next thing I knew, I was on my fifth miniature corn dog, contemplating my life choices.

You see, it's easy to fall into the trap of mindless eating – consuming foods quickly without paying attention to the sensations, flavors, and fullness signals your body provides.

Mindful eating is a practice that encourages you to reconnect with your meals, fostering a healthier relationship with what you consume.

On the other hand, mindless eating is when you're halfway through a bag of pretzels, and you're wondering, "Did I even taste the first one?"

In this lesson you'll learn more about the concept of mindful eating and get actionable strategies to help you integrate this practice into your daily life.

How to Be Mindful of Portion Sizes

Does this sound familiar?

You bought a family-sized bag of potato chips. You didn't necessarily eat the whole thing, but let's just say the term "family-sized" is open to interpretation.

Ice cream, pizza, and chips don't make you fat. Excess calories are the culprit every time.

Mindful eating is more than just a buzzword; it's a mindful approach to nourish your body.

At its core, it involves paying full attention to the experience of eating, from choosing what to eat to savoring each bite. The goal is to develop a heightened awareness of your physical and emotional cues related to food. Here are eight actionable strategies to encourage mindful eating:

1. Engage your senses

Begin your mindful eating journey by engaging your senses. Before taking a bite, take a moment to observe the colors, textures, and aromas of your food. This simple act can create a sense of anticipation and enhance your overall eating experience.

2. Slow down and savor

Mindless eating is when you open a jar of mixed nuts, and suddenly it's just a jar of almonds.

Most 40-plus men and women often rush through meals, neglecting the joy that comes from savoring each bite. Practice slowing down your eating pace.

Put your utensils down between bites, chew your food thoroughly, and take time to appreciate the flavors. Not only does this enhance the enjoyment of your meal, but it also allows your body to recognize satiety signals more effectively.

3. Listen to your body

One of the key principles of mindful eating is tuning into your body's hunger and fullness cues. Before reaching for a snack or second serving, check in with your body. Are you eating out of hunger or habit? Eat until you're satisfied, not until you're overly full.

4. Eliminate distractions

Mindless eating is like a magic trick. One minute you're holding a plate of cookies, and the next minute, they vanished – poof! But there's actually no magic; it's just you eating on autopilot.

Turn off the television, put away your phone, and create a quiet, focused environment during meals. When you eliminate distractions, you can fully immerse yourself in the eating experience. This practice helps prevent overeating and allows you to appreciate the flavors and textures of your food.

5. Mindful meal planning

Extend mindfulness to your meal planning process. Take time to choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods that you enjoy. Consider the colors on your plate, incorporating a range of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Planning your meals mindfully can enhance both the nutritional value and the satisfaction you derive from your food.

6. Recognize emotional eating

Ever eat microwave popcorn while watching a suspenseful movie? The real mystery is how the popcorn disappears before the opening credits.

Understand the connection between your emotions and eating habits. Are you eating because you're hungry, or is there an underlying emotional trigger? Mindful eating involves acknowledging emotions without judgment and finding alternative ways to cope with them, rather than turning to food for comfort.

7. Gratitude practice

Before diving into your next meal, take a moment to express gratitude for the food on your plate. Consider the journey the food took to reach you, from farm to table.

This practice can cultivate a sense of appreciation for the nourishment your food provides, fostering a positive relationship with eating.

8. Portion control

You ever eat cereal while reading the back of the cereal box? That's mindless eating.

Mindful eating involves being aware of portion sizes. Use smaller plates and serve moderate portions to prevent overeating. Pay attention to your body's signals, and resist the urge to finish everything on your plate if you're no longer hungry.

Cultivating Mindful Eating Habits for a Healthier You

If you eat 80-90% of your calories from mostly unprocessed foods, that means you have 10% to 20% of your calories remaining to "spend" any way you want. This gives you flexibility for random snacks, holiday sweets, birthday cake, social-event foods and so on.

Just remember, when eating the 10% to 20% foods, be extra mindful of portion size.

Studies show that flexible dieters have higher long-term success rates than rigid dieters. So do not follow restrictive "diets" that mandate you to cut out entire food groups.

Granted, some people need to avoid certain foods due to allergy or intolerance, but outside of those exceptions, no foods should be considered "bad" or "forbidden" from a fat-loss perspective.

You can enjoy any food you want, as long as you don't exceed your calorie limits. The main challenge is, processed foods make it easy to overeat and not even realize it.

If you're not counting or tracking calories, then you must make it a habit to be extra mindful when you eat those 10-20% flexible foods. Put yourself on high alert when eating the flexible 10-20% foods and always serve yourself an appropriate and responsible portion size.

Something else.

Resolutions are great; however, they often lack substance and commitment.

And, it’s no wonder that they often don’t last. It takes time to transform your habits.

And, to truly change your ways, you need a proven plan of attack. Accountability helps too.

But you probably already know this.

If you’re serious about transforming your life, don’t make half-hearted resolutions. The only commitment you need to make is to start. Just start.

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I'm sure the answer is a resounding "Yes!"

After 25+ years as a fitness-and-nutrition coach, I see one critical recurring theme: Good health is your most valuable asset. 

If your health declines, you'll spend everything you have, financially and emotionally, to get it back.

And far too many over-40 men and women wait until it’s too late.

I hope you are being proactive with your health. If not, give me 12 weeks and I will show you how.

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Summary:

Incorporating mindful eating into your daily life is a journey that requires patience and practice. By adopting these actionable strategies, you can transform your relationship with food, promote a healthier lifestyle, and savor the joy of eating. Remember, mindful eating is not about perfection; it's about cultivating awareness and making conscious choices that align with your overall well-being. Start small, be patient with yourself, and enjoy the transformative benefits of mindful eating on your journey to a healthier you.

To your success,

Coach Joe

 


 

Joseph Arangio helps 40+ men and women get leaner, stronger, and happier. He's delivered over 100,000 transformation programs to satisfied clients around the globe. If you want to lose weight from home, with the best online longevity personal trainer, or you want to visit the best age-management personal trainer in the Lehigh Valley, you can take a free 14-day trial.

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