One of the keys to sustaining improvements in the way we eat is the ability to practice moderation in our diets. In order to lose weight we should eat less, right? Start with smaller plates.
As a society, we tend to take an all or nothing approach to food, eating too much of something or trying to eliminate that food or category of foods all together. We stuff ourselves in all sort of goodies and then some more. Afterwards we feel guilty, sick and we decide to go on a diet. Stick to it to maybe 2 weeks and then fall of the wagon.
That tendency towards extremes becomes even more obvious when we look at what’s happened to the food on the shelves of our local supermarkets.
On the one hand, we’ve super sized everything, and on the other hand, we see claims like fat free and sugar free everywhere in the supermarket, and these claims attract us because they’re absolute.
But, if we can master the skill of eating with moderation, then no single food needs to be forbidden. We can eat the foods we enjoy as long as we don’t consume too much of them.
How Much We Eat Is a Very Important Question
How to regulate our appetite, or moderate our appetites is very hard for people.
We are taught to eat until we’re full. That’s not a natural thing. And it’s not a universal thing.
In France when you’re hungry you say: “I have hunger.”.
And at the end of the meal you don’t say “I’m full” and you don’t ask your children “Are you full?”. You say: “I am no longer hungry.”.
That’s very different from being stuffed.
The moment at which you’re no longer hungry is many bites before the time when you’re stuffed. And we ask ourselves and our kids the wrong questions.
We ask the wrong questions.
We say: “Are you full?”
When we should say: “Are you satisfied? Are you still hungry?”
There are cultural ways and mores and manners that help us deal with quantity in food. And so we have to look at things like portion size.
We have to look at things like the way we talk about food. Are we really looking for lots of calories and overfilled plates when we eat?
I think we’re looking for lots of food experience, an intense satisfying food experience.
And if you look at the French, and many other cultures as well, they get more food experience with less food. They do that by eating more slowly, eating socially and eating better quality food.
There is a trade off between quality and quantity, and the American food system is very much organized around quantity.
One of the biggest contributors to the obesity epidemic has been our tendency
to consume enormous quantities of low quality food.
This doesn’t mean that the foods we eat need to be expensive. But we need to spend our food budget wisely on the foods that will support both good health and enjoyment.
Less is More Approach
You’ll notice, everyone will notice, that whenever you’re sitting down to eat the first bite is the best. So let’s focus on those first few bites. Smaller portions of better quality food.
Many cultures have a rule that basically says stop eating before you’re full.
Japanese eat until you’re 80% full. That’s such a foreign concept to us, but you find this across the board.
The Chinese eat until they’re 75% full, and in the Quran it says you should eat until you’re two-thirds full.
Everything but a 100%, which is what most of us do.
Next time you’re going to eat something, ask yourself a few questions about it.
Will this food bring me pleasure or am I eating is because I can?
Eating food that don’t bring you any pleasure is another form of taking in empty calories, because they’re empty of enjoyment.
The very next question to ask about a food you’re considering eating is this.
Is this food worthy of me?
And by this I mean, will this food support me in achieving all the things I want to achieve in the long run, including good health?
If the answer to this question is yes, then the very next question is:
How much of this food do I really need to eat to feel satisfied? I can have it again tomorrow or later this week.
Each day should include moderate amounts of food that bring us pleasure. A block of chocolate here and there are allowed and welcome treat at the end of the day. When you master moderation, little treats don’t ruin your healthy relationship with food.
Moderation allows us to live at peace with our food.
A healthy meal begins with putting together a healthy plate.
Since we’re talking about eating less, it might be worthwhile to buy a set of smaller dinner plates cups and glasses.
One of the reasons we like to obsess about nutrients and diet this, diet that is to distract ourselves. “I’m taking multivitamin supplements to promote my health, drink diet Coke to cut down on my sugar, I only eat burger with whole grain bun and still nothing changes.”
The industry helps big time as well. With 17,000 new products coming to our supermarkets each year, is the way of distracting us from the quantities of food. And we are eating more.
The supersizing made plate sizes bigger. Soda sizes are bigger, and the portions, from when I was a kid, have been nearly doubled.
The bigger the portion, the more you will eat.
So buying yourself a small set of plates is a really simple trick that works.
We tend to fill up our plates but with smaller plates our space in limited. This, itself reminds you not to over eat.
Size matters when it comes to your plate.
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
If you want to read more about how different cultures deal with moderation, there’s a book I strongly recommend.
If you find yourself in thing I write, then you will definitely find yourself in Michael Pollan’s books. Because his books are my Bible and a lot of my knowledge comes from his research.
The book is a guide for anyone who wants to lose weight and still eat. It explains how and why our relationship with food is as bad as it is and how to fix it.
Just by following his mantra: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” you can change the game.
If you check Amazon’s reviews you can see that people lost a lot of weight and improved their health in the long run..and that’s what really matters.
Anyways, it’s a very interesting read with everyday applicable knowledge. Thumbs up!
I hope you found the information that is useful to you. If you have any questions, want to share your experience or just chat on this topic, write a comment below. I’d love to hear your point of view!
Till next time,