Downsizing. No, I am not talking about the 2017 movie with Matt Damon where humans downsize themselves in order to contribute to a more sustainable world where we consume fewer resources, produce less waste and take up less space.
Although, an argument could be made that by downsizing our attitude towards how and what we consume we can contribute to a few of those things.
You see one of the biggest causes of weight issues in the western world is how much we consume. Everything we eat is super-sized portions. Be it at home, fast food, or restaurant food the portions are always very large.
And as a result of these large portions, we either consume the entire thing because we don’t want to waste food, or we do waste food – neither is a good outcome though.
We finish a large meal, sit back, run our stomach and say “I am so full”. But do we need to always eat until we are busting at the seems? Sure, it can be good to indulge in a large meal for a social occasion with family and friends. An Australia day barbeque or a birthday gathering at a restaurant.
This in itself is not a problem. The problem is when we begin to eat with this attitude every day of our lives.
So what is the solution to this problem? Downsizing.
Downsizing can be applied to many aspects of our food behaviour rituals all ending with the final goal of downsizing our portions.
Simply downsizing our portions isn’t enough though, sometimes we need some psychological help to get there. Our mind will interject with stories like “That portion is so small. It barely fills up the plate. You’ll starve to death.”
But will we really starve to death from eating reasonably sized, healthy portions of food throughout the day? It is highly unlikely. It is just another mind story.
First and foremost we can downsize our attitude towards food. We can stop thinking of things in terms of “quantity equals value”.
Getting a chicken burger, extra chicken, a dinner roll, potato and gravy, a box of chips and a bottle of soft drink sure seems like great value for $10-12 but do we really need to eat this much food?
Maybe if we were intending to sustain ourselves for 16 hours on that quantity, but for one meal we need to recognise that is far too much food.
Then we can look at our eating utensils at home – that is our plates, bowls and drinkware. If your breakfast bowl is quite large them filling it with a 34gram sachet of Quick Oats is going to look tiny. Even worst, if you are using your own judgement for filling you will often overfill the bowl.
The same goes for plates and drinkware. Try eating from smaller plates, and drinking from smaller glasses. This will help give the illusion that the meal is larger than it is in relation to the plate size.
If you still indulge in the store-bought soft drinks then use smaller glasses, or purchase smaller bottles and cans when out and about. Of course, water would be better but we are human and all have our indulges.
Purchase 300ml bottles instead of 600ml, or even better 250ml cans. If you can halve the serving size then you are halving the amount of “bad stuff” being put into the body too which goes a long way towards moderation.
And finally, don’t eat until you are full. Learn to anticipate the feelings of fullness and stop before reaching the point of overindulgence. Learn to recognise when you are 90, 80, 75% full which will help increase the feeling of satiety.
It may take a little self-control and practice, but over time our body learns to respond to these new cues. While we often think our eating behaviour is purely a mind game – it is actually hormones that first send the signals to our brain, and thus mind and these hormones can be “trained”.