Portion size obsessions: Stop focusing on meal size

Portion size obsessions: Stop focusing on meal size

Portion Size Obsessions: Stop Focusing on Meal Size

Last updated date : March 30, 2022

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There are many diets out there. Most of them will tell you to either use some metabolic process or change your mindset about eating. However, nutritionists will usually tell you it’s about portioning what you eat. Because of this, many people have grown portion size obsessions. This means that they focus on meal size often. This may sound reasonable until it becomes a problem in practice. Rather than enjoying meals, people tend to read labels often, and track the calories of whatever they eat.

Yes, portioning is part of dieting. However, there is such a thing as too much. this article will aim to help bring balance between being careful towards and enjoying meals. We’ll talk about why we should read labels and watch what we eat, but also how it can be a problem. Then, we’ll talk about how you can start not only a healthier diet, but a more enjoyable one. After all, one of the many pleasures in life is food.

Many people believe that health is all about balance or eating less food. The reality is that being healthy depends on a multitude of factors. How much you sleep, what you eat, whether you exercise or not, and even what you do everyday affects your health. We think it’s as simple as picking diets, when we see someone succeeds in changing their weight. Actually, there’s no perfect lifestyle that fits everyone. This article will help you get at least a first step towards finding a lifestyle that works for you.

Two young people stretching in a park to distract from food portion size obsession, cyclist background

Chapter 1:
What Are Meal Sizes?

Ever since we were young, we’ve always been told to watch what we eat. Although this may have started as a warning to eat healthier, many of us are more concerned about body image. Our body image is partly influenced by how we eat. If we eat too much or too little, it can change how we see ourselves. As such, we think that if we eat less, we’ll look thinner. So, we start dieting in a sense that we eat less or skip meals altogether. These are diets that focus on meal size. Meanwhile, you have diets that talk about balancing what you eat.

Of course, the healthier diets are those that focus on the latter. Skipping meals and not eating enough will only make you tired and even gain weight. So, why is it that many people still cut down on their food intake to ease the anxiety caused by their portion size obsessions? Well, most of it comes from a big misunderstanding of how food and metabolism works.

So why can't I just focus on meal size and eat less?

We know that we eat to “grow strong,” but what does this mean? Well, when we eat food, we either use it for energy or store it for energy later. The food that we eat is made of different things. Some foods are high in protein, others are high in sugar, others are high in fat. Don’t let the words “sugar” and “fat” scare you. Many people tell us to avoid food that’s high in sugar or high in fat. However, without sugar or fat, you will find yourself having no energy to work at all. That’s because sugar and fat are two of the main sources of energy for our body. They are what we burn first when we do anything.

So, what is metabolism? This is basically breaking down the food you eat into other things you body will need. Everything else it doesn’t need, the body sends out in feces and urine. In other words, you “burn” it as calories (the energy we get from food). Any excess energy sources, the body stores as fats. When we do anything, sugar will burn first, then fat, then protein. So, don’t focus on meal size. It’s not something as simple as cutting down your food intake.

Why not just eat more protein instead of carbs and fats?

We don’t want to end up burning protein. Why? This is because protein is an essential component for every cell of our body. Breaking down protein is our body’s last resort. In fact, there are several harmful things that can happen when you try high-protein diets.

In short, you need all kinds of food to keep you going. Eating too little will only deprive you of essential nutrients and energy sources. Watching your calories and skipping meals is an oversimplification of what a healthy diet should be.

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Chapter 2:
What Are Portion Size Obsessions?

This happens when you tend to pay a lot of attention to how much you eat. Many people use portion control as a weight loss strategy. It seems simple enough to do, at first, especially with the many phone applications there are to watch how much we eat. Some of us may not have noticed, but it’s something that deeply ingrained into society. As an example, imagine walking through the grocery store and looking at the shelves.

In the grocery, you can see foods labeled as “zero calories,” “low fat,” or “low sugar.” Many people take the time to read the label at the back of the packages. Sometimes it even says 0 grams of sugar, or 0 calories. In reality, only water has zero calories. Pretty much all the food you eat has calories. Apart from people who focus on meal size and decrease their overall food intake, portion size obsessions can show in people who always need to watch and calculate how much they eat. Even if they’re just snacks, they’re things that they feel the need to track. Otherwise, they’ll feel “fat,” guilty about it, or worse, anxious.

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Chapter 3:
When Is Portion Size Obsessions a Problem?

This becomes a problem when it affects how you eat and enjoy your food. There is no accurate way to measure how much calories are in your meal. There is no perfect diet that is as simple as keeping track of your calories and amounts of food you eat. So, when someone does this excessively, it can be a problem.

Actually, an obsession in itself is a problem. Obsessions are repeated and unwanted thoughts that drive people to feel anxiety. This alone can cause people to focus on meal size to the point they eat a lot less or they spend too much time calculating their intake. Maybe someone has told you that you spend too much time fussing over how much food they’ll serve in a restaurant. Maybe you’ve taken more than a couple minutes reading the food labels on every package you grab in the grocery. If you spend more time than others worrying over how much food you’re eating or how many calories you’re eating, it might be a sign you focus on meal size too much.

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Chapter 4:
How to Deal With Portion Size Obsessions

Portion size obsessions are a common problem with people trying to lose weight or be healthier. How do you know how much is too much or too little? What can you do for your current diet to make it healthier? Is your focus on meal size too much? There are lot of questions that can’t be done in one article. Not all experts will agree on a diet that “works” for everyone. However, there are guidelines that can help you with choosing the healthiest diet for you.

How should you portion your food?

First, of all, we need to establish that there’s a difference between portion sizes and serving sizes. Serving sizes is the amount of food you see at the back of food packaging. Portions are specific to what you eat at a time. Many people mistake one for the other. So, next time you can read the food labels, remember that serving sizes are different from how much is actually in the package. These misconceptions are common among those with portion size obsessions because they don’t really know how to size their meals.

Despite how complicated the food label is, you don’t always have spend too much time wondering how much of it you should eat. Portioning your food doesn’t have to be a tedious process. In fact, you shouldn’t think too hard about it or obsess over it. Here’s how you can portion your food in different settings that can save you some worries if you focus on meal size too much:

When eating outside

Many restaurants have different portion sizes per person. Many people with portion size obsessions tend to overlook this. This is especially in Western settings where food is given in larger portions than Eastern countries. So, keep this in mind when you eat out. To make things easier, you can try eating with others. It’s a lot easier to control your food intake when you eat with others. Why? That’s because when you eat alone, you feel pressured to eat your money’s worth and finish your food. However, when you eat with other people, you get to share the food. The food doesn’t go to waste, and you get to control how much you eat once you finally see the food.

Also, don’t feel pressured to eat while your table-mates are still eating. You’re allowed to put your glass and utensils down, and simply enjoy the company you have. If you’re alone, you can enjoy the ambiance of the place you’re in. It also helps you not obsess over how much food you should be eating. Let your body tell you when to stop eating.

When eating at home

While we encourage you to eat until you feel full, it can be tempting to have second or third servings if the food is just that good. Try making sure that you avoid placing a whole serving plate on the dinner table. Instead, place the food on your individual plate so that you don’t overeat. You can even have plates of a particular size so that you get used to eating a certain amount of food at a time. So that even when outside of the house, you have an idea of what portion sizes you’re comfortable with.

Also, try to focus on what you’re eating. Don’t focus on meal size too much when you can focus on the smell and taste instead. Give your stomach time to feel full so that you don’t overeat. Chew your food well and focus on that instead. If you don’t take your time to eat, you will tend to overeat.

When snacking

When you’re snacking at home, avoid eating from the package of the food. Place the food you want to eat into a bowl and keep the packaging somewhere else. Overeating is easier when you’re idly eating something because you don’t notice time passing or how much food you’ve eaten. Make sure that when you buy from groceries, you buy snacks in small packages. This is so that you don’t eat too much at home, and you’ll feel full if you finish the package contents.

Many people tell us not to snack in between meals because it makes us less hungry for the next meal. However, you’ll learn that if you starve yourself before a meal, you might overeat. Why is that? Well, when we eat food, our body sends signals to our brains that we’re full. When we’re really hungry before we eat, we actually eat food faster than our body can tell our brain that we’ve eaten enough. Next thing we know, we’ve eaten too much and we didn’t notice at all! Instead, eat a small, healthy snack. The best signal to eat and not to eat is your body. Learn to listen to your body instead of your portion size obsessions to avoid eating too much or too little.

More tips for a healthier diet

Of course, dieting isn’t as simple as just eating at home, outside, or small meals. It’s also a lot more than just lessening your meal size. If you have a diet plan, but haven’t been seeing any results after a while, there might be something you’re missing. Here are a few things that can help you get the most out of your diet that you probably haven’t thought had any connection to weight loss:

  • Supplement it with exercise. there’s more to health than just restricting what you eat. You also need to get your body fit and strong. In fact, having diet and exercise together is a more effective way to lose weight than one or the other alone.
  • Get enough sleep. Sleeping seems like it has no place with what you do with your food. However, it does help your body breakdown food better so it doesn’t get stored as fat later on. Another is to sleep early and rise early since late bed times are associated with weight gain.
  • Be careful when you eat while on your phone or watching TV. When your focus is on anything that isn’t the food, you might start overeating. Take a break from your gadgets and enjoy your meal and company to the fullest. You’ll find it easier to watch what you’re eating that way.
  • Avoid stress. Even at a subconscious level, we tend to stress eat. It leads your brain into thinking you need a lot of energy so it will make you feel hungry more often.