Measuring Portion Sizes : Should you or should you not?

My Weight Loss Journey – Chapter 3

We were taught early in life – Eat small and frequent meals. But who listens to the age-old advice. They are age-old for a reason, right?

So how does one quantify how much is to be eaten at a time. Ideally, when one enjoys a meal with a relaxed mindset as opposed to hush-hush chit chatty meals, there is a faster communication between body and brain and one gets to know if you are 80% full or 100% full or more than that. However, the ideal situation never happens, as we mostly have our meals watching the idiot box or its millennial sibling YouTube. Therefore, we overeat. Moreover, my observation of my eating patterns and of my husband’s, tells me that even if we keep these myriad distractions away, our mind is always pre-occupied in one or the other thing. Such is the modern living! So eventually, we eat until we are breathless.

There is only one way to limit your portion size and that is to do mindful eating. Be mindfully present when you are eating food. We talk a lot; we think a lot and we glorify multitasking. We have the whole day to do all of that and more. Food-on-the-go is doing so much harm than it would save you few minutes of the day. When you are trying to lose weight, anyways you eat lesser than usual; then why just gulp it down in a heedless manner.

There are many theories and anti-theories around how one should approach the concept of – limiting portion sizes. The ideal way of doing it is of course “Mindful Eating”. Which in my opinion comes only by practice, it just cannot happen in a day. I am going to share with you how I inculcated this brilliant habit, which not just helped me reduce weight but did a bigger good, holistic good to me.

I bought a kitchen weighing scale. Yes! And before you punch me on with Rujuta’s lessons (you are probably living in a cave if you don’t know Rujuta Diwekar!), allow me to explain. I started weighing my meals and mostly used it only for vegetables and meats. For breads, I reduced the count to 1-2 per meal. I measured 150-200 Gms (weight before cooking) of vegetable or meat for each meal. For lentils, I kept the measurement as one bowl of cooked lentils. I did this for roughly 3-4 months before I got used to having that portion size. In those 3-4 months, with only a limited quantity to eat for each meal, it brought so much discipline into my eating habits. I also gradually developed the sense of eating slow and mindfully, relishing each bite to the fullest.

With the limited portion size, I would intentionally want to sit down in a quiet place and enjoy my meals, knowing that there is only so much to eat. More often than not, I would prefer having a quiet meal, even if that means eating alone. The same portion of food fills me up so much more when I eat mindfully; rather than when I am eating in a large group indulged in conversations. I totally love gupshups, but I love indulging in my lunchbox more. I cannot recommend a better way to start practicing mindful eating. It started with a weighing scale to bring discipline but brought me so much more!

Follow the below basic steps

–          Measure meals on weighing scale, to begin with. Once you get a hang of how much is the right quantity, stop measuring. Measuring is definitely a bit time consuming and one looks like a health maniac, but you gota do what you gota do! I measured all my meals for 3-4 months before I became completely aware of my appetite and the right portion size.

–          No mealtime distractions. Preferably, meals should be had in a quiet and relaxed environment.

–          Try to portion your meals in a way that carbs are the sides instead of the main dish. Chicken breast with one bread, or Stir fried paneer with tossed veggies accompanied with one bread.

–          Mindful eating. This cannot come to you in a day. It has to be consciously practiced. Relish your food. Try to listen to your body while eating. If you are engrossed in conversations or idiot box, how will you listen to your body!

Once you master the art of mindful eating, you would not have the need to measure your meals.

Portion size and mindful eating are so much interlinked and thrive on each other mutually.

Hope this lesson is helpful. Don’t get overwhelmed by the jargon “Mindful Eating” and “Portion Control”. You have to make a start and be disciplined about your eating habits. Good habits, just like weight loss, require patience and determination.





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