Portion Distortion – How Mindful Eating Works


Takeru Kobayashi Competitive EatingMonday morning, while my husband was flipping TV channels, I caught a glimpse of champion competitive eater, Takeru Kobayashi being arrested for crashing an eating contest he was not supposed to participate in.

I by no means follow the “sport” of competitive eating; however it got me wondering how a person could eat so much in such a short period of time.  Although some people may not train for this type of event, I bet many competitive eaters do practice a bit so they can get used to eating large portions.

Portion Sizes Are Relative To What We’re Used To

This year’s winner of the Coney Island hot dog eating contest that Kobayashi crashed ate 54 hot dogs.  I can’t even imagine eating 3 without feeling ill (partly because I really hate hot dogs in the first place).  However, it got me thinking about how the quantity we can eat in 1 sitting is relative to what we are used to.

Adjusting To Eating Less Volume

Here at Green Mountain at Fox Run, I find that during the first week someone is here, they may need to adjust to eating less volume than they are used to.  It may at first create a sense of dissatisfaction after a meal, not because it wasn’t a balance meal, or because it was too low calorie, or because it lacked anything in flavor or texture, but because the person may be used to a more extreme stretch to the stomach when a meal is over.  Being used to always having large portions may stand in the way of us reaching our weight loss goals.

How Much Should I Eat?

What’s interesting to me is that within a week or two, people often notice they have a better sense of what a comfortable feeling of fullness feels like.  They are satisfied with less food since they’ve been working with more moderate portions.  This doesn’t mean that their stomach shrunk, just their idea of fullness shrunk/changed.

Portion Size Consistency

For this reason, we try to stay consistent with the portions of the meals here, so as not to confuse this process of identifying a comfortable feeling of fullness.  For a description of the difference between comfortably full versus overeating, see our version of a Hunger and Satisfaction Scale.

At what stage do you wrap up eating?  Are you usually comfortably full or too full?  Does the quantity you eat in one sitting change throughout the day?

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