My husband and I attended a very fun birthday party on Saturday night. The food was delicious and the company was merry. There was plenty of laughter which, if you believe everything you read online, helps with digestion.
After the evening, when Mark and I got in the car, I noticed that my belly was a little fuller than I prefer. Please don’t read this as boastful, but the reason I never, ever get overly stuffed is because I have learned to loathe that feeling. Since I never want to feel how I feel when I gorge on too much food, I simply gave up that habit a long time ago. If you are struggling with portion control, let me help you right here.
Eating too much food causes:
- Difficulty in taking a full breath
- An uncomfortable stretch to your stomach and abdominal region. (In my body this registered as a stomach ache, which was one of the first things I learned to avoid.)
- Clothing that is too tight
- Possible gas, bloating, excess acid
- Dulled senses, mental acuity, and lessened ability to focus
- Extreme loss of energy, possibly lethargy
- Frequently a feeling of remorse or regret
On a zero to ten fullness scale, I prefer to finish my meals at about a seven or eight. I used to go to unimaginable levels beyond ten, but that’s another story. And fortunately, that habit?now lives in the past where it belongs. What you might consider in reading this is to lead yourself to loathe the feeling of a stomach that feels like it might explode. More about that shortly.
I practice and recommend a simple technique after a full meal called Correction Mode. It is a self-loving and self-honoring way to get back on track, while skipping any of the self-castigation that has no place in a nurturing relationship with your body. It’s uncomplicated. Simply employ good habits to compensate for something you did that did not meet your ideal standards. For example, not exercising is a perfect
catalyst to inspire you to get moving. Drinking too much wine is the impetus to take in more water the following day. Use the downturn to create an upswing.
On Saturday night, I decided I would go into Correction Mode (C.M.) starting Sunday morning. I asked myself, What is the simplest way to compensate for the fullness I feel in my belly?? The answer came like a flash: Focus on quality and quantity. Michael Pollen’s In Defense of Food, says it like this, Eat [whole] foods, mostly plants, not too much. I added the word whole because it goes with quality. This can be your mantra for a get-healthy-and-lean sustainable approach to how you want to look and feel.
Veggies are in, and they are better for you than a bag of chips and a candy bar for a meal. But wait? you already know that. A salad for lunch or dinner is better than four pieces of pizza. Upgrade your choices to match your health goals. If you go to a restaurant, select food that is closer to nature and skip the overly sweet sauces and deep-fried options. Better yet, cook at home where you can be in control of the ingredients.
Here’s what I ate on Sunday after deciding to go into C.M. Notice how simple this is.
Breakfast: I had a meal replacement shake that was out of this world. I selected chocolate and blended it with a mug of steaming organic coffee. That, plus a half of grapefruit and I was all set.
Lunch: One organic Fuji apple with a few slices of goat milk cheddar cheese.
Late afternoon snack: A handful of mixed dry roasted nuts and a cup of hot homemade chai tea. (I halved the coconut sugar that the recipe called for because the chai tastes just as good. This is doable with many recipes that are often overly sweet.)
Dinner: Edamame pasta (only ingredient is soybeans) with saut?ed mushrooms, baby kale, basil pesto, some drained sardines, and olives. Dessert was a small piece of dark chocolate.
So simple! Today was day two of C. M. and I am still paying attention to quality and quantity. We had a delicious breakfast this morning: one hard-boiled egg, with a yogurt concoction. I take Greek yogurt and mix it with chia and flax seeds, pomegranate seeds, blueberries, vanilla extract, a spoonful of pure maple syrup, and a few nuts. I served it in a very small bowl, which really helps for quantity. So simple, yet delicious. These are some examples of quality. Veggies and whole foods are in, ditch the junk.
It is incredibly useful to have a variety of strategies at your disposal when cutting back on your portion size. Here are some for you to use:
- Eat more slowly. Chew your food. This will also calm you, which alleviates the need to use food to quell stress.
- Use smaller plates.
- Pause, put your fork down, and take deep breaths.
- Look at your food. Assess the volume and ask yourself if it is a reasonable amount of food. Don’t take more in than is necessary. If you are at risk for not being able to leave food on your plate, be sure to start off with smaller portions.
- Feel your body. Sense your belly. Experience your increasing fullness. Stay in touch with your physical sensations. Pausing here helps again because you are actually paying attention to the gradual changes in your stomach.
Quantity and quality. Don’t eat too much, and eat mostly food that is good for you. Don’t even think about dieting because it is unsustainable and does not a loving approach to your body make. Be devoted to your body by helping yourself stay on this side of overly stuffed. Find ways to relax and stay calm so that the flame of stress remains extinguished.
How do you want to feel For example, if you want to feel energetic and full of vitality, then pigging out is simply not an option. If you want to feel confident and look beautiful, then that bowl of ice cream before going to bed no longer beckons you.
Experiment with these ideas. Find ones that work for you.
With love and encouragement,
Board Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
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