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Feel Your Fullness: Portion Control Part 3

11.15.2011 / Blog Posts Health and Wellness

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Welcome back to the WOW nutrition corner! Below is the last post of a three part series on portion control from the Redskins team nutritionist, Jane Jakubczak (Click here for a review of the three principles of a healthy diet). With Thanksgiving right around the corner, these tips may come in handy!

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Our final blog on the Second Principle of a Healthy Diet focuses on our Fullness Signal. Last week, we worked on identifying non-hunger eating. This week, we will bring our attention to our level of fullness. This is often the more difficult exercise for my clients. Many of us eat until we are “stuffed” and it is painful to eat anymore – this is way beyond our body’s needs.

Remember if we are eating beyond our body’s energy (calorie) needs then the body will store the extra calories as fat. It is important to learn to listen to your body’s signal to stop eating. We each have an inborn weight regulator, hunger and full signals. Learning to identify these signals and honoring them is the secret to lifelong weight management.

Downloadable Scale and Food Records can be found at: http://www.nourishingconnections.com/stay_attuned_tools.htm

To begin the path to lifelong weight management, review your food record and identify anytime your FULLNESS rating is an 8 or higher at the END of your meal or snack. This means you are eating beyond your needs and again, these extra calories will be stored. (Click here for more on keeping a food record.)

Some strategies to combat this issue include:

- Put less food on your plate. Humans are “visual eaters” meaning when we see food we tend to eat it all (an instinct from our caveman days.) We also tend to have the “finish the project” or “clean plate club” mentality – all these will trump our full signal leading to overeating.

- Take a break halfway through your meal or snack. Put the fork down and breathe! A lot of our eating is out of momentum – break that momentum and give your stomach a chance to signal your brain.

A hormone is released from our stomach when we have reached fullness – it takes approximately 20 minutes for this message to be received by our brain. Slow down your eating pace and honor your fullness!

As a side note: something I observe time and time again is that people who are “slow eaters” never seem to have a weight problem, including my brother. Growing up we teased him about how slowly he ate. But he has never had a weight problem and can enjoy whatever foods he wants, when he wants it! I notice this with the Redskins players as well; the players who struggle to keep weight on are the slowest eaters on the team. Take home message – eat slowly!

- Avoid eating straight out of the bag, box or carton. Take a portion out of the container and put the container away. If you want more you will have to make an effort to get it, often enough of decision moments to decide you don’t “need” it.

- Use smaller plates, bowls and glasses. This strategy really works! It forces you to take smaller portions and it “tricks” your eyes and stomach to “think” you are eating more than you are.

- Purchase food in single serving sizes. For example, buy ice cream sandwiches instead of a gallon of ice cream. I’m a big fan of the mini-snack size zip-lock bags. When I purchase a large bag of nuts, pretzels, etc., I portion them out into individual bags. I throw the zip lock bags back into the large bag so that I can just grab an appropriate size portion quickly.

These are a few of my tips on identifying and honoring your fullness, but I would love to hear how WOW members practice portion control! Please share in the comment section below or on our Facebook page.

For more information on working with hunger/full signals visit the following sites:
- http://www.nourishingconnections.com/006_quit_when_full.htm
- Resource list: http://www.nourishingconnections.com/Links.htm
- Mindful Eating: http://www.tcme.org/
- http://www.intuitiveeating.org/

Honor your hunger and full signals this week – the body truly knows what is best!

- Jane

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