This week I am continuing our 9 week Blue Zones Series. For 9 weeks we are covering the 9 different patterns that help centenarians live and thrive longer. We have two weeks left!
If you missed last week's blog on the Power Of Healthy Consumption, go check it out!
>>Read It Here<<
This week and next week are both on food! If you're interested in eating a Blue Zones diet I highly recommend checking out the Blue Zones Kitchen cookbook.
1. Portion control
2. Plant-based (or mostly) diet
Today we're discussing portion control.
This is an important topic because even with eating just fruits, veggies, grains and legumes you can overdo it.
Now I'm not going to give you exact information on how to eat a portion-controlled diet. I'm not an expert on nutrition and so cannot give this type of information but I will do my best to cover the basics!
I have tried doing portion control programs and have found as a plant-based person the programs aren't exactly made for it. I even had one that had a "vegan" version and it really missed the mark, taking away one container of fruit to substitute for another category and other weird tweaks that didn't make sense for a plant-based program.
I do, however, like the idea of portion control.
Have you ever noticed that when you go to regular restuarants they give you a heaping plate? Do you find you feel like you just can't let it go to waste and sometimes there isn't enough to put in a to-go container so you just force yourself to finish (just my husband?)?
But then we get used to eating that amount and we cook plates of food that are piled high and we often just overeat.
When we look at people in the Blue Zones, they don't overeat the way many of us do in places like North American, Europe, etc.
While what we eat is important, I feel it is less important than how much we eat. It is possible to eat too many strawberries! Your stomach will tell you that's the case. So this is why I thought starting with portion control was important.
Now how much you eat should depend on your size and how active you are. If you're a 6'1 210lbs male who is at the gym every day, naturally you'll want (and should) to eat more than a 5'2 130lbs woman who doesn't exercise. So the way you control your meals will be up to you.
But the idea is to not overeat. If you finish a meal and think "man, I'm so full" chances are you've probably eaten too much. If your intention is weight loss then you'll want to burn more calories than you consume. But weight loss isn't the main goal when you are trying to live past 100 (maintaining a healthy weight is).
BUT, when you control how much you're eating and eat less you may find you naturally lose weight or maintain a healthy weight (this is the key!).
Most people think of portion control as a type of diet but that doesn't have to be the case. When we look at the Blue Zones they don't sit there with little containers and portion out all their meals. They simply make enough for them to eat in that moment and no extra. When they feel satisfied they stop eating. They have learned to be in tune with their body.
Interested in getting a healthy portion of fruits and vegetables into your body each day? Download my free resources How To Add More Plants To Your Day right here!
When you overeat your body starts to get used to eating that quantity of food. Over time that becomes the norm. When you overeat generally it means you're eating more calories than your body can burn off in a day, which causes weight gain.
Obesity lowers your longevity, which makes portion control a good rule of thumb.
When your body doesn't feel like it has to eat large amounts you can begin to really tune in to how you're feeling, what foods your body is truly asking for (not the same as cravings, your body asks for the nutrients it feels depleted in) and how much your need.
Eventually, you won't need to look at particular programs to tell you what you "should" eat, you'll intuitively know because you'll know how to listen to your body.
This is something I have struggled with for a long time. I get really anxious in larger groups of people so, to try to make myself feel less awkward, I fill my mouth with food. I sit by the food all night and keep eating.
When you focus on controlling the size of your plate and potentially eating less you have a good idea of how much food you've had and want to have and you're less inclined to eat in emotional situations. Your body will crave this type of coping mechanism less.
If you are aiming to lose weight there are some good portion control programs you can follow. But what's great about simply learning to decrease your plate and controlling the amount of food you eat is that you may naturally lose weight without having to track and weigh your food.
If you're already a healthy weight you can also maintain a healthy weight by controlling how much you eat.
Controlling your portions can have so many benefits (aside from just weight loss). When it comes to longevity things like intuitive eating and getting all the right nutrients can be critical.
Again, you don't need to be on a portion control program where you measure and track your food to see the results. Simply changing up a few habits and being mindful of how much and what you eat in your day can make a huge difference.
After a while, this will become second nature and your body will love it!
What do you think? Are you going to try some portion control? Let me know at [email protected].
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