So you’re eating healthily and exercising regularly, but the weight just doesn’t seem to be dropping off as quickly as it used to. What’s going wrong?
When you’re eating healthily, it’s often all too easy to overlook portion size. When presented with soup, salad and a fruit platter at lunch, we might be tempted to go for all three, blinded by the fact that they’re all healthier options.
Now, we’re not normally advocates of calorie-counting, but when you count up the calories of each lunch item, all of a sudden the total sum is a lot more than you’d think.
If you’re specifically on a diet rather than just eating healthily, there’s probably nothing better that you can learn than portion size. Really, we all know the fundamentals of healthy eating but what constitutes a “good” portion size is actually something people don’t get right, more often than not. It’s important to think about, “What happens when I’ve reached my goal weight and the diet stops?” Well, this is when you need to put everything you’ve learned about healthy eating and portion size into practise to avoid the pounds creeping back on.
Changing your portion size will most likely, at first, just leave you feeling hungry, but you will soon get used to it and the hunger pangs will subside after a week or so.
The first thing you should do is “portion-size” your plate. The average person should eat around “2 - 3 portions of fruit, 3 - 5 portions of non-starchy vegetables, 2 - 3 portions of dairy products, 6 - 8 portions of starchy food (grains and starchy vegetables), 3 portions of protein and 2 - 3 portions of fat”, according to Health24.com. You can check if you’re following this by using the simple rule that ½ your plate should consist of fruit and vegetables, ¼ should be starch and ¼ should be protein.
Another top tip is to substitute a larger dinner plate with a smaller one; it can sound a bit silly but an empty-looking large plate with a small portion can leave you feeling dissatisfied before you even start eating. Using a small plate will trick the brain into thinking you’ve got a bigger portion size than you actually have.
In terms of fruit, one “portion” is equivalent to the size of a tennis ball or a cup of cut up fruit pieces. Using cups to measure out your food can be a great way of keeping track of how much you’re eating and ensure that you’re keeping your portion size under control.
A final tip is to remember the 20-minute rule. It can take up to 20 minutes for you to feel full so when you’ve finished your meal, give your 20 body minutes to properly digest your food and you’ll be less inclined to reach for that after-dinner snack!