In this series we have talked about three excuses for overeating:
1. I Am Bored.
But, there is one more that should not be overlooked.
Did you grow up hearing your mom say, “Eat all of the food on your plate”? The compulsion to eat food just because it’s there often comes from a good place. We know that there are people in the world who never know where their next meal is coming from. So, the thought of wasting or passing up on food becomes a moral conflict.
It’s amazing how much emotion is wrapped up in our food choices.
Too often we serve up our food based on long-held assumptions of what our body needs to be satisfied. The truth is that our body often needs far less than we think it does.
Actually, portion sizes have steadily increased over the last twenty years. What we now perceive as a normal portion is considerably more than we should be eating. In other words, the amount your mom may have encouraged you to eat has morphed into considerably more food at each sitting.
Average portion sizes have grown so much over the past 20 years that sometimes the plate arrives and there’s enough food for two or even three people on it. Growing portion sizes are changing what Americans think of as a “normal” portion at home too. We call it portion distortion.
Check out these examples of how larger portions lead to increased calories:
Mindful eating is essential for fighting the compulsion to eat food just because it’s there. You need to know how much you are going to eat before you take the first bite. This will keep you from putting more on your plate than you should eat in one sitting.
This graphic from Women’s Day provides some very helpful visual comparisons. Print this off and refer to it regularly until you have memorized the appropriate serving sizes.
Initially, your stomach will still be accustomed to larger amounts of food.
Snack foods are often packaged in bags with multiple servings.
Realize that the amount you eat or don’t eat will not provide any additional food for the children in Africa or those starving in many of our urban centers. If it is really a conscience issue for you, then consider doing something proactively to feed the poor. Donate your time and/or money to charitable pursuits. Skip a few tempting restaurant meals, especially when you are first trying to develop a weight loss mindset, and give that money to feed those who don’t have food.
I hope this series has helped you to look your excuses straight in the eye and take charge of your own food choices.
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