Portion Distortion – How Mindful Eating Works

Dishing Out the Perfect Portion Every Time

“How much should I be eating?”

It’s a common question that seems like it should have a straightforward answer, but doesn’t.

That’s because that answer depends on many factors and is different for each of us. We believe that learning what amount is the “right” amount is something that is best discovered rather than dictated.

Portion Sizes Are Relative To What We’re Used To

Our perception of how much food we actually need to fuel our bodies and meet our needs is sometimes altered by the portions we’ve come to recognize as “normal” in American culture.

It’s no secret that portion sizes in restaurants have increased – a single meal will often contain 2-3 times as much food as most of us actually need to satisfy hunger and meet fuel needs. Even the capacity of modern dishware has increased substantially, allowing more space for the larger portions we’ve grown used to serving ourselves.

NEED HELP reconnecting to your body’s hunger and fullness cues?

Green Mountain at Fox Run can help. Join us this summer in scenic Vermont to re-learn to trust your internal ability to self-regulate when and how much you eat. Our nutrition and eating behavior curriculum will empower you to eat what you want in a way that feels good. Contact us to speak with a Program Advisor about how we can help.

Experimenting with Eating Less Volume

All that said, here at Green Mountain at Fox Run, we don’t believe in “limiting” portion sizes as a means to intentionally restrict food intake.

However, we do find that when our participants are able to tune into their hunger and fullness cues they often find they are more satisfied with less food than they expected.

As portion sizes have increased, many of us have also developed an altered sense of what “full” feels like. It may not be until we feel a significant stretch in our stomachs, what we would define here as extreme fullness, that we recognize our body has had enough.

So, sometimes it may be helpful to experiment with starting with less volume at meals to re-learn how to identify “gentle fullness.” This is different from limiting or restricting portion size because we aren’t telling ourselves we aren’t allowed to have more food if we decide we are truly still hungry (or simply just want to eat it), but it does build in a speedbump, which gives us an opportunity to check in and notice how our body feels before making the conscious and intentional decision to have more.

How Much Should I Eat?

What’s interesting is that within a week or two of experimenting with smaller portions, people often notice they have a better sense of what comfortable fullness feels like. Over time and with practice and experimentation, we learn how much we need to make for the perfect portion (almost) every time. And I say almost because overeating is part of normal eating and happens to even the most mindful and attuned of eaters.

Portion Size Consistency

We try to stay consistent with the portions of the meals in our culinary program at Green Mountain, so as not to confuse this process of identifying a comfortable feeling of fullness. That said, because we know that the “right” amount is different for everyone, we describe our portions as a reasonable starting place for experimentation.

But, we don’t deprive our participants. If they need more to eat, we always make sure they can access more food.

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?

Learn more about identifying internal hunger and fullness cues.

At Green Mountain at Fox Run, we are committed to helping women re-learn how to connect with their internal hunger and fullness cues and trust their innate ability to self-regulate their food intake. Through our nutrition and eating behavior curriculum, expert-guided and self-guided mindful eating experiences, and food exposure activities, participants have the opportunity to learn and experiment in a safe and supportive environment.

Contact us today and let us help you learn how to dish out your perfect portion every time.

2 responses to “Portion Distortion – How Mindful Eating Works”

  1. Lorraine Matthews-Antosiewicz says:

    I like the term, “comfortable fullness”. This puts the eater in charge of how much is the right amount to eat at any given time.

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