Sunday, January 24, 2010

Portion Control, and How It Varies

We all know that portion control is important in weight loss. It's true that we've become accustomed to eating more than we need. We eat until we're full, and that feeling of fullness comes from the food pushing our stomachs outward, which causes them to stretch. If we consistently eat until we're full, we continually stretch our stomachs outward, and it will take more and more food to achieve that feeling of full.

Instead, if we eat until we're satisfied, we're giving our bodies what they need. If we get hungry again in an hour, that's okay.

My chiropractor said something interesting once. He said, "You know how you're going along, and you get to that point in the meal where you kind of sigh, and then you go in for the kill again? That little sigh is your body's way of telling you it's satisfied. Stop and save the rest of your meal for later." I've tried that, and you know, he's right.

When I'm doing my normal daily routines, I've found that I get along quite happily on smaller portions. I don't need as much food. But I've also discovered something else. When I'm out doing the book signing/promoting/teaching thing, and I'm "on display," that tends to burn through my reserves more quickly and I find myself getting very, very hungry. I tend to eat a lot more at writers' conferences, book signing events, etc. than I do at home. I used to think that was a bad thing. We're all trying to watch what we eat, and eating more can't be good, right? Not so. When we're "on display," be it through book signings or standing in front of a class or presenting a paper or any other occasion which calls on us to be front and center, with all eyes on us, we are burning energy. We've got our nervous energy going on, which shoots our adrenaline up, and the longer we're teaching or performing, the more gets burned up. So afterward, we feel drained and we're starving. If we feel the need for a double cheeseburger, it's going into a system that's already revving and is more able to process it. If we eat the double cheeseburger when our system is not kicked into high gear, that's when it will do the most damage.

So, I've learned that if I find myself needing to eat more on certain occasions, that's fine. Our bodies know what they need and if we really listen to our bodies, they'll tell us.


berlinwritergirl said...

I was going to blog about this sometime, and maybe I Still will, but for Christmas I got a set of THINNERWARE plates. It really has helped me with portion control, now I want to get the bowls!!!

Tristi said...

What a cool concept. I like that they're so cute, no one will know what they're for unless you tell them. What color did you get?

Marta O. Smith said...

I've heard that eating slowly is important. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the "I'm full" signal from your stomach. Maybe we could have a PPTP support table at the Storymakers conference lunches. We'd be so busy talking, comparing notes and telling each other how good we look, we wouldn't have time to overeat.

Tristi said...

Great idea, Marta! And we'll donate our box lunch cookies to other tables. :)

Shanna Blythe said...

I've also heard that if you eat with your hands you eat more slowly--which is why some countries who eat with their hands tend to be thinner. Don't know if that's true or not!!

One of my favorite snacks is an apple with peanut butter. It gives you that quick energy, but then the protein kicks in and also helps out later with energy so you don't feel like you crash.

Last year, as soon as I got home from teaching, I'd start snacking. And snack the rest of the evening. AND eat dinner. Sheesh. But now, when I get home and I'm STARVING, I have that snack and I'm usually ok until dinner.