Portion Distortion - How Much Should We Be Eating?

Portion Distortion & Conquering Cravings

With Summer holidays, extended vacations, BBQ's and holidays it can be really easy to fall out of your healthy eating routine and find yourself gasp....overeating......and giving into every single craving that presents itself to you. 

While giving into cravings here and there is no big deal when you make a summer out of overeating and giving into cravings daily you will find out pretty quickly that you don't feel so great and here is why. 

Eating large portions of food on a regular basis can have serious consequences on both your digestion and overall health.  The implications of overeating can include excess energy intake and weight gain.  Overeating also puts stress on the digestive system which can cause sluggish digestion and even constipation.  Overeating can also lead to poor protein digestion if you are eating a large portion of protein in one sitting.  Your stomach has only enough acid and gastric juices at one time to handle a certain quantity of food, and if that supply is exhausted, food is not getting broken down properly which can cause bloating and indigestion.

Large portion sizes can also disrupt blood sugar balance, and that can lead to more overeating through blood sugar spikes and crashes and cravings for more food.  Fluctuations in blood sugar increase the risk for type 2 diabetes and can put pressure on the cardiovascular system.    

So, how much should you eat?  

It's important to speak to a nutritionist about the specific amount of calories you require for the day, but it's helpful to follow this general rule of thumb which outlines how big each portion of food on your plate should be.

o    Proteins: should not exceed the size of your palm

o    Carbs/Grains: should not exceed a closed handful

o    Vegetables: one to two closed fists

o    Fats: one to two lengths of thumb

o    Fruits: one fistful

What about food cravings?

Food cravings should start to go away as you adopt a healthier diet because you will be removing the specific foods that cause cravings and blood sugar will be more balanced. If you do find yourself experiencing a craving that could potentially cause you to make a poor food decision, try these tips to get you through it:

Drink Instead of Eat:

Dehydration can cause feelings of hunger as well as thirst.  Many people experience cravings that are thirst signals, so it's important to up your water intake to kick those type of cravings.

Up Your Healthy Fats:

Fats keep you full, so it's important to make sure you are getting enough each day and with each meal.  If cravings are getting you down, try adding a healthy fat such as avocado, chia or hemp seeds, salmon or eggs to your meals.  Also, consider your protein intake as protein works to keep you feeling full as well.

Try Cinnamon:

If your cravings are being caused by imbalanced blood sugar, you can add cinnamon to your diet which is an amazing blood sugar balancer.  Try sprinkling it on some of the breakfasts, some of the fruit in the snacks, as a tea or anywhere else you can sneak it in.

Wait It Out:

A craving, on average, should last no more than about 25 minutes, and you should be able to say no to it.  Do something to distract yourself from the craving, e.g., go for a walk, exercise, or play some music.  

What is your favourite way to conquer your cravings? Would love to hear, please leave in the comments below.