9 Simple Tips To Master Portion Control (Mindful Eating)

portion control mindful eater

Diets Suck. We’re all thinking it, and I’m tired of pretending it’s not true.

Starving yourself to try to lose weight quickly, only to gain back what you’ve lost and more, doesn’t work. As busy women, the last thing we want to do is count calories and give up the foods that make us happy.

The good news is, you don’t have to!

That’s right; mindful eating through portion control is one of the most effective ways to gain control over your eating habits WITHOUT giving up the foods you love.

Now that you know what portion control is and how beneficial mindful eating can be in achieving your healthy lifestyle goals, these nine tips will set you on the right track to becoming a portion control master!

1. Use Smaller Serving Plates

Have you ever noticed the need to fill up your plate and not leave any empty space? If you have, you’re not alone; we all do it.

The more room we have on our plates, the more likely we are to fill them with food. One of the easiest and most effective ways to eat less is to simply use a smaller plate.

This one swap tricks your brain into thinking you’re eating more when, in reality, you’re consuming less.

The craziest part is you will most likely find you are as satisfied eating the smaller portion as you were eating off the full-size plate since your brain signals to your stomach that you’ve eaten a larger amount.

Now that’s some magic even Houdini would be proud of!

2. Have A Glass Of Water Before Each Meal

Water is essential to proper bodily function, but the truth is many of us are going through life dehydrated.

Dehydration has some surprising effects on the body, including making you feel hungry when in fact, you are really craving water.

One way to increase hydration and encourage mindful eating habits is drinking a glass of water before each meal.

Consuming water before breakfast helps rid your body of toxins and jump-start your organs for the day ahead.

Additionally, when drunk thirty minutes prior to eating, water aids in digestion, increases satiety and feelings of fullness, promotes weight loss, and helps you consume fewer calories.

Drinking a full glass of water before you eat will ensure you are listening to your body’s true hungry/ full signals and not mistaking thirst for hunger.

3. Ask For A Smaller Portion At Restaurants

Mindful eating gives you the freedom to eat out whenever you want, but for many, the excessive amount of food makes portion control difficult.

Restaurants are notorious for overserving their guests and loading their plates with portion sizes that are more appropriate for two or even three people.

If you relate to this struggle or are just starting on your mindful eating journey, asking if they have half-size or smaller portions when ordering is an excellent way to reduce temptation.

Most restaurants are happy to accommodate any dietary requests, so don’t be afraid to speak up and make your request.

If you’re uncomfortable asking for a smaller portion, ordering sides instead of a full entree, or replating your meal onto the bread dish when it arrives.

Another great option is asking for a to-go container when your food arrives and immediately putting half of it away for later. That way, you eat less and have tasty leftovers for the next day!

4. Give Yourself A Hand… Literally

Your hand is one of the best measurement tools for determining portion size, which is very convenient as you’re starting out.

You can use it to determine approximate serving sizes, which will help you make mindful portion choices.

Here is a general reference you can use to determine portion size with your hands:

Your fist = one cup serving size

A cupped hand = one-half cup serving size

Your palm = ~ three ounces

The tip of your thumb = one tablespoon

Your thumbnail = one teaspoon

While these measurements aren’t exact, they give you a good visual reference to portion size. Knowing the recommended amount of each type of food you should eat each day is helpful so you can portion your meals appropriately.

Meat and fish – three to four ounces per day

Dairy – up to three cups per day

Fruits – between one and a half and two cups per day

Vegetables – two to three cups per day

Grains – five to eight ounces per day

The beauty of mindful eating through portion control is you don’t have to measure or stick to exact amounts. Having a general idea of what a portion looks like and how much your body needs will allow you to naturally eat more healthfully.

5. Adopt Mindful Eating Practices

Food is a comfort for many of us, especially when we feel stressed, sad, or bored.

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying your favorite meal to feel better, but it’s good to recognize when you’re doing it.

Eating mindlessly while watching TV or snacking while working can easily lead to overeating.

Try not to multitask while eating and slow down, really enjoying your food and listening to your body.

Mindful eating will also help you build a positive relationship between food and your body.

Read more about: 6 Tips to Cultivate a Healthy Relationship with Food

6. Keep A Food Journal

Food journals are an excellent tool, especially if you’ve hit a wall in your mindful eating journey.

If you’re trying to lose or gain weight and have stalled, you may find your portion sizes are off. Yes, writing down what you’re eating takes a bit of effort, but it will give you a better understanding of your habits, which will empower you to make healthier choices in the future.

Start by simply writing down everything you eat for a week, including the portion size, to gain a good baseline of your starting point.

At the end of the week, you can evaluate your entries and begin pinpointing areas where you can make healthier choices.

Every few months, it’s good to journal your eating for a week to check in on yourself and see if there are any changes you can make to keep on track and meet your healthy living goals. 

7. Wait Before Getting Seconds

This tip piggybacks on eating more slowly since you are giving your brain and stomach enough time to communicate your hunger levels to each other.

If you’ve finished your plate and are still feeling hungry, waiting a few minutes before getting seconds will help you determine if you’re experiencing true hunger or if you ate too quickly.

If you’re still hungry after about ten minutes, go ahead and get a bit more so you can feel satisfied. 

8. Plan Meals Ahead Of Time

Meal planning is an excellent way to keep yourself from giving in to cravings and making poor food choices when you’re hungry.

Additionally, it allows you to create a shopping list so you don’t end up buying unnecessary junk food at the grocery store.

You can take it a step further and make your meals once a week, storing them in individual containers so all you have to do is heat them up when you’re hungry.

You’ll have your portions already determined, so you don’t have to think about it, which is perfect when you’re tired and hungry, and the last thing you want to do is worry about eating.

Whether you’re just starting out on your mindful eating journey or are a seasoned pro, everyone can benefit from meal planning! 

9. Avoid The Temptation of Overeating

As you begin controlling your portions, you may find it challenging to avoid the temptation to overeat.

The sad truth is that many foods we eat contain chemicals that make them addictive, causing us to overeat.

The good news is that this sensation will pass in about a week as your body adjusts to eating less. I

f you find you’re still hungry, it’s ok to eat some more; just listen to your body and don’t overdo it!

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day, incorporating high-fiber fruits and veggies, and limiting sugary, processed foods will make it easier to control your portions and feel satisfied after each meal.

What Is Portion Control, And Why Do You Need It?

You’ve probably heard nutritionists talk about portion control before, but what exactly does it mean?

Simply put, portion control is controlling the amount of food you put on your plate and eat.

A good example would be taking and eating one hot dog instead of two or three.

When it comes to mindful eating, portion control is a game changer. But why should you focus on mindful eating instead of fad diets?

Serving Size Vs. Portion Size

One common mistake people make is confusing serving size with portion size.

Serving size is the amount of food you are recommended to eat, while portion size is how much you actually eat.

While there are times when serving size and portion size are the same, that isn’t always the case.

People are generally unaware of the serving sizes for their favorite foods, which is why we often overeat and consume more calories than expected.

While portion control may still allow for more than the recommended serving size, it prevents excessive overeating and caloric consumption.

The Benefits Of Mindful Eating

When you are mindful of your portion size, you’ll naturally begin eating less and feeling more satisfied with smaller amounts of food, two key benefits that can help you achieve your healthy lifestyle goals.

You’ll also enjoy the foods you eat more, learning to value their role as fuel for your body while savoring their tastes and textures.

Mindful eating sets you free from the chains of dieting, empowering you to eat smarter and feel better.

In Conclusion

Mindful eating through portion control is one of the best ways to begin your healthy living lifestyle.

It’s not about giving up the foods you love, but rather listening to your body and providing it with the proper amount of nutrients it needs to thrive.

These nine tips will empower you to implement portion control into your daily life, one bite at a time! 

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