Every few weeks I find myself like this – deer in the headlights – caught out stuffing my face with a second serving of dessert. ‘Why do I have days of no self-control?’ I groaned inwardly on Saturday night as I ate my second large slice of key lime pie.
Contemplating this with a bloated belly and the looming thought of a bottom bigger than a barn door, I recalled that lately I’ve also been picking at left overs from dinner or giving myself another half a serve after finishing my first. There is also the notable problem that if, per chance, there is any junk food in the house (a rarity) then I will eat it all, with the justification that ‘it won’t be there for later and I can only take in so many calories at once, right?’
It seems I’ve unintentionally gained the mentality that I may NEVER taste something so delicious again and need to eat as much as I can when I can. In an attempt to rid myself of these self-sabotaging patterns, together with my dietitian, Rebecca Gawthorne, I’ve come up with 6 ways to help me gain control of my portion sizes:
1. Reduce the temptation: Serve in the kitchen rather than on the table and freeze any left overs in portion sizes prior to sitting down to eat dinner – I was surprised when my dietitian told me that it doesn’t affect the food to freeze it before it cools – in fact it reduces the time it spends in the ‘danger zone’ for bacteria growth which is between 5-60 degrees Celsius. This is fact was like music to my ears because often I’ll have significant left overs if only cooking for one.
2. Eat on smaller plates – A study from Cornell University in the US found that changing from a 30cm to a 25cm dinner plate led people to eat 22 per cent fewer calories. I’ve found I much much more satisfied when my plate is full, so swapping to a smaller plate does help me defeat any concerns of ‘not eating enough’ or wanting as much as Reis has.
3. Fight food envy – Rather than ordering the unhealthy meal because you know you will be salivating the whole time your friend is eating theirs, make the decision prior to arriving that you want to eat healthy because it is nourishing and beneficial for your body. Ask yourself, ‘What benefit is this going to have for my well being? How will I feel afterwards?’ Sadly, the answer for most desserts (except for these healthy desserts) will be ‘none and horrible’.
4. Are you actually hungry or thirsty? Keep yourself hydrated to avoid your sugar cravings escalating. I keep a bottle of water at my desk to sip on throughout the day, it helps me keep track of my water intake (knowing its 600ml per bottle) and reduces my urge to snack whilst working or studying. For more weight loss and health benefits of water, read this post.
5. Sharing is caring – order an entree and share this between two instead of dessert. I find that often I just want a few different tastes and its not that I am actually in need of more than a main when I am out. Ordering an entree instead of dessert significantly reduces your calorie intake, as does sharing with a friend! It satisfies the desires for varying flavours and still gives you a treat when you’re out.
6. Fill your plate with vegetables – Nutrient rich and low calories you can eat as many vegetables as you like. Colour and variety is the key with vegetables. This is great for me because I like to pick at small foods. I can’t help but compare myself to a smoker who finds the hand to mouth action comforting.
I hope these tips are helpful for you too. Have a happy and healthy week friends. x