Before you can say “apples and pears!” A new year will be upon us in a blink of an eye! 2019 is not as far as it seems or as we think. Casting our minds back, many of us; if not all of us made some New Year’s resolutions to lose weight by managing our intake to maintain a healthy living. Losing weight for many of us even as Christians can be a real struggle. We wish it, we will it and even pray about it all the times, but getting results is dependent upon us doing the right things – and doing them consistently. As a dietitian, I have seen thousands of patients in my career, and one area which sticks out for those desiring to lose weight is portion control.
Controlling your portions doesn’t mean you necessarily need to eat tiny amounts of consumables or measure out precisely the number of peas on your plate! But let’s face this sincere reality, many of us are eating too much. Eating too much of the so-called ‘right things’ can be counterproductive and may bounce back to impact negatively on our health. When I speak to patients/clients about portion control, I am often asked: ”How will I remain full?” This is because no one functions well on the ‘feeling of emptiness.’
Retraining of the mind
If you want to improve your health by regulating your intake, it is likely you will need to retrain your brain to take total control of your subconscious on your desires. Our thoughts will need to alter some of our intracellular activities so that seeing a ‘smaller than usual’ portion becomes acceptable.
Romans 12:2 reminds us to: “let God transform us into a new person by changing the way we think.”
There are many tips on portion control, which involves changing how we eat to maintain a perfect body balance. I believe it begins with our thoughts and perceptions about food.
Why go large?
Past research on the drivers of portion selection for food, showed that larger portions are selected for foods delivering low expected fullness (satiation). Basically, people choose larger portions of those foods they feel or think will not fill them up. In our minds, we have a set idea that a certain food will not fill us up or satisfy us. The need for satisfaction is really powerful as people generally want to eat their fill without thinking of the long-term outcome of excessive intake of food, which can lead to obesity.
This prompts a few questions:
“What if we are looking for satisfaction in the wrong place?”
“Are we mixing our perceived hunger for food, with a craving for something deeper?”
“Could it be a hunger in our spirit, or even a hungry soul?”
Fuel, fullness and function
Food is compulsory to fuel for our bodies for metabolism.
Consider this for a moment, have you ever overfilled your car with petrol? It’s literally impossible right! Even with engine oil, for instance, there is a limit to the amount that can be added to the engine and if exceeded, the filter fails, and the exhaust pipe begins to smoke uncontrollably!
We are often ‘overfilling’ our plates for reasons other than just physical hunger.
When food choices are made due to anything other than hunger, there is a risk we might end up misusing food and its purpose. It often seems easier to ‘settle’ with a box of chocolates or tasty meal; than to assess the content of our spirit and soul.
Before you eat your next meal or even before serving it, ask yourself:
▪️ How do I really feel and what am I thinking?
▪️ What am I trying to feed or satisfy?
▪️ Am I eating out of emotional emptiness, frustration or something else?
▪️ Is this portion size an accurate reflection of my need?
Disordered eating started with Eve
The Bible tells us in the book of Genesis that Eve while in the Garden of Eden was beguiled by the serpent to eat a piece of fruit upon the premise that it would boost her knowledge and ‘status.’
Interestingly, Eve was not hungry physically when she ate that fruit! She was surrounded by everything she needed but received a ‘faulty’ signal to eat the fruit that was forbidden. She was surrounded by God’s fullness yet found herself eating aimlessly. Eve’s behaviour is possibly the first instance of disordered eating. She ate the fruit for a reason aside from hunger. She wanted to ‘fix’ something God had already fixed! The serpent told her in Genesis 3:5 that she would be like God…The reality is, she and Adam were already created in God’s likeness!
We often overeat to satisfy our craving to be ‘fixed.’ Anxiety, fear and confusion can all lead us to overeat. These are somewhat faulty signals which we need to recognise and root out.
We can be in control of portion sizes being aware of ‘faulty signals’ to eat more.
A few tips for controlling portions includes:
1. Eating from a smaller plate
2. Slowing down and paying attention to yourself when eating and also avoid watching television during meals
3. Drinking enough fluid – often we eat when we are actually in need of a drink. Try water or take herbal tea
4. Eating balanced meals – high fibre foods, moderate protein and low fat – including generous amounts of vegetables (this doesn’t include vegetables such as potatoes, yam or sweet potato)
5. Low-calorie soups and salads can help fill you up and make you eat smaller portions as well
6. Get enough sleep – studies also indicates that fatigue stimulates the production of the hunger-inducing hormone, Ghrelin.
There is still time to take control of your portions. Food nourishes and does not supply solutions to deep-rooted problems.
Remember it’s about eating, living and serving purposefully.
For more information, contact: Shola Oladipo