Portion Control: How Much Are You Actually Eating?
Perhaps food has always been an issue for you. Maybe you’ve never had an eating disorder, but eating too much and lack of portion control have seemed to be a struggle since you were young.
Even if you’re a health food nut, you may have often reasoned that as long as you’re eating organic, healthy food, it’s okay to overindulge.
But the lesson remains the same: consuming excess calories leads to discomfort and weight gain. Learning to control your portions through the practice of an Ayurvedic lifestyle and other healthy weight loss programs, such as Weight Watchers, can help move you toward a healthier weight and greater energy.
Increase in Caloric Intake
A 2004 New York Times article revealed a 30-year study on American eating habits between the years of 1970 and 2000. In 1971 a woman’s average calorie intake was 1,542 and a man’s average calorie intake was 2,450, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By 2000, that average had grown by 22 percent for women to 1,877 calories and 7 percent for men to 2,618. A majority of the increase in calories was due to greater consumption of carbohydrates, particularly sugars and processed foods.
Everywhere you go, portion sizes seem to have increased. As a consumer, you should be aware of the actual calories in the products you buy. For example, a Starbucks 20-ounce White Chocolate Mocha is 460 calories, and when you add a Starbucks Blueberry Scone, you add another 420 calories for a total of 880 calories for breakfast. But it’s not only in the café indulgences that you need to be mindful of portion control.
“Healthier” options can also add up. With only vegetarian options and no tortilla, the Chipotle Veggie Bowl with no dressing amounts to 865 calories. If you’re trying to keep to the USDA-recommended dietary requirements for women of 1800 calories per day, one veggie bowl will take up nearly half of your daily intake.
Awareness of how many calories you are consuming is one of the keys to reducing your portion sizes. The free app, My Fitness Pal, is a great way to plug in what you’re eating over the course of the day. Try it for one week, and see how close you are to your daily caloric recommendations.
Enjoy 2 Cupped Handfuls at Every Meal
Ayurveda recommends eating two cupped handfuls of food at every meal. If you bring your hands together side by side making a cup, scoop up dry beans or rice and put the amount into a bowl. Measure out how much you scooped with a measuring cup and that will indicate to you how much you should be eating to feel satisfied, but not full. Ideally, you want to fill up your stomach two-thirds, while leaving one-third for digestion.