Regular, small meals are the best way to give your body the nutrients it needs. Large, heavy meals can overload your digestive system and liver, preventing your natural detoxification processes from working optimally.
Choosing extra-large portion sizes will sabotage a healthy eating regime faster than you can say deep-fried. One of the keys to a healthy weight and a healthy lifestyle is moderation. And when it comes to portion size, this rule is no exception – small portions are the best way to keep your body going all day.
People often complain that they are following a healthy eating plan and doing regular exercise, but still are unable to lose any weight. But many people make the mistake of evaluating a portion size with their appetite, emotions and mood at the same time. Stressed people don’t tend to dish up extra helpings of salad – they head for the mash potatoes and a second helping of dessert instead.
Eating large portions puts your liver under unnecessary stress and prevents it from eliminating toxins efficiently. So it is important – most especially if you are new to portion control – to weigh and measure the food you are putting on your plate before you eat it, so that you can make sure that you are sticking to small portion sizes.
Tips for reducing your portion size
Pulling out a digital scale isn’t always practical, so here are some quick portion tips for sizing your food items when it is not possible to measure.
At a quick glance your meat serving should be the size of roughly a pack of cards – for one serving or portion. Resist the urge to dish up a crispy piece of the skin off the chicken and always go for the white meat. Remove any excess fat from the meat and pick a piece that is as lean as possible. Excellent choices are lean steak, free range skinless chicken breast and fish.
Whether it is rice, potatoes, pasta, couscous, mashed potatoes, a baked potato or quinoa, the portion size should be roughly the size of your closed fist. Choose a baked potato in its jacket that is a medium size, or four small baby potatoes as one serving.
There is no restriction on portion size for fresh, raw, grilled or baked vegetables; as long as they are not covered in salad dressing, cheese sauce, olive oil, feta cheese or any other topping. Be careful of starchy veggies like pumpkin, butternut and potatoes – they should fall under the banner of carbs. Sweet potatoes can fall under vegetables as they are a low GI choice.
Fruit servings are extremely high in natural sugar, so should not be consumed in too many portions on a daily basis.
One small banana has enough raw glucose energy to provide your body with the fuel it needs to work hard during an hour long hard core cardio session. So if you are eating a big portion of bananas every day you may need to re-examine your fruit intake.
Why your metabolism is like a log fire
Eating regular and small portions helps to keep your metabolism fired up and ready to go. If you have ever lit a log fire, you will know that if you feed it three pieces of wood every 30 minutes or so, you will have a steady flow of heat and flame right throughout the time you require the fire to be lit.
If you build a massive bonfire, light it up and then only feed the fire four hours later, you will have to rebuild the fire from scratch again. And you can be sure that the first hour of your bonfire was extremely hot, the last hour you would need a blanket to keep warm as well.
Your metabolism is very much the same. You need to be providing your body with fuel in about five to six meals or snacks a day. This way your bloody sugar won’t spike, you won’t feel hungry, you won’t have mood swings and you definitely won’t be suffering from that awful 3pm fatigue where all you want to do is fall asleep on your desk.
Choosing to eat small portions means that you will never feel stuffed and sleepy like you do after a large meal, and that your metabolism can keep on firing on all cylinders throughout the day. But remember that snacking on unhealthy food isn’t quite the same as eating small, healthy portions on a regular basis.
Always eat a good breakfast; the small portions should be packed with protein to get you through to your next mid-morning meal. A smoothie is a great way to get everything your body needs without overloading your system and starting the day with an overwhelmed digestive and lymphatic system. Aim to refuel again at mid-morning, lunch time, mid-afternoon, dinner time and two hours after dinner with a protein shake or milk and a few nuts.
When you think about food as fuel, you will find it much easier to keep your small portions going on a regular basis – and will find in the long run that you are much happier for the physical and physiological changes.