Portion control is something you may not even realize you need to work on. Everything from overfilling your dinner plate to ordering a meal at a restaurant to snacking between meals presents a chance to eat more than you should. This can not only make your stomach hurt, but it may also lead to weight gain and unhealthy habits. However, it’s never too late to make a positive change in your diet. When you eat fewer calories, you’ll start to see the scale go down, and the best part is that unlike all those fad diets, you don’t have to restrict what you’re eating, just how much. It can’t hurt to make healthy substitutes at least once in a while, though.
Cooking at home
After you prepare a meal, it’s hard not to pile the food onto your plate or go back for seconds. You can start paring down how much you eat by using smaller dishes so you’ll still feel like you have a full plate but there won’t be as much food. To avoid eating more once you’re done, put your leftovers into storage containers and pop them in the fridge- out of sight, out of mind. You can even portion out the leftovers in advance so you can simply grab one container and have a meal ready to go. Put them in a Bento box so you can bring them to work for lunch the next day.
Most restaurants serve large portions in part so their customers feel as though they get their money’s worth, but that doesn’t mean you need to eat everything right then and there. Ask your server for a take-away container when the food shows up and put half of your meal in the box so you can take it home for later. You can also split an entree between two people or skip the appetizer and dessert. If you find you’re still hungry after your meal, eat a healthy snack like fresh fruit or veggies when you get home.
It’s easy to devour a whole bag of chips when your attention is on something else like the TV. You can do one of two things to avoid eating too much – eat your snack before you plop down on the couch, or portion out one serving size rather than grabbing an entire container. Snacking doesn’t have to be avoided all together either, as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pointed out that this can help you from feeling too hungry and overeating at your next meal.
The golden rule is to never shop on an empty stomach, as you’re more likely to indulge in your cravings and put unhealthy items in your cart. The CDC suggested that, if you prefer to buy in large amounts at a time to cut down on shopping trips, store the extra food in hard-to-reach places like high shelves or pantries that are out of the way. Keep only what you need for the near future in the main areas of your kitchen and you’ll be less likely to overeat.
Sticking with it
Retraining your brain and stomach to crave less food can be a challenging journey, but it’s important to not be discouraged by setbacks. You might find it useful to keep track of these moments, recording what you ate too much of, what you were doing and how you were feeling. It will be easier to identify triggers for bad behavior, such as having a bad day at work or not getting enough sleep, and find better ways to deal with them.