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Change The Way You Serve Yourself

Change The Way You Serve Yourself

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? If you don’t serve yourself large and calorie-laden portions, you’re bound to lose weight. But our society doesn’t run on tiny portions. Even the dishes we use now are twice as large as those our grandparents ate from.

As a society, we’re consuming more food than ever – and exercising less. As a result, we’ve become a society of obese people who yo-yo back and forth on diet and exercise plans which render our bodies and minds confused and make losing weight even more difficult.


Changing the way you serve yourself is part of the mindful eating concept that advocates you being aware of everything you put in your mouth and everything around you as you’re eating.


Mindful eating is a lifestyle change that you’ll eventually enjoy because not only will you lose unwanted pounds – you’ll become much more aware of how your body and mind work together when you eat.


Knowledge is power and with mindful eating techniques you can make a real and significant lifestyle change. There is much more to how you serve yourself than watching your portion size.


And, you may choose a small portion of something that has a much higher impact in calories than a double serving of something else. This chapter of New Eating habits for Effortless Weight Loss will show you the importance of other aspects of how you serve yourself, such as color, aroma, size of dishes and a quick way to measure some foods without using a scale.


Serving Techniques for Weight Loss


Serving size is important to any weight loss plan, including Mindful Eating. Rather than taking the time and effort to memorize how much is in an ounce, cup and various measuring spoons, try comparing them to other items you’re familiar with.


For example, a serving of pasta is roughly the size of a normal scoop of ice cream. If you’re eating a single serving of a vegetable or fruit, visualize it as the size of your fist. A serving of fish, poultry or meat would fit in the palm of your hand and if you’re having a snack of pretzels, use a handful as your measuring device.


One serving of a bagel is about the size of a hockey puck and the radius of a CD should be used for one serving of pancakes. The point is that you don’t have to be exact when doling out food servings – a good estimate should get you to where you need to be.


If you have trouble discerning a cup versus a cup and a half of rice, put the cooked rice in a measuring cup and then empty it onto the plate for a while until you get used to the how the portion looks.


After you’ve eaten your meal, don’t go back for seconds. When you learn and practice the mindful eating techniques mentioned in Chapter 1: Get Rid of Distractions, you should feel more satisfied after the meal.


Serve yourself from the counter or stove and immediately put away all the leftovers in their proper portions – freezing them if you aren’t likely to eat them right away. Out of sight – out of mind.


Always eat from the plate or bowl rather than from a carton or bag. It’s easy to miscalculate portions when digging into a container. Use smaller dishes to eat from rather than the dinner plates we’re more used to now.


If you’re at a restaurant, prepare to receive huge portions of food. Ask for smaller portions if possible or eat what you estimate is a portion and put the remainder in a doggie bag.


It’s okay to order dessert, but be sure to share or take part of it home for another time. When food shopping, be aware of food labeled as “mini-snacks” which come in small containers but carry a truckload of calories.


You’ll likely eat more than you planned – especially if you’re eating from the bag. If you can, shop for individual-sized servings – at least until you become more familiar with portion sizes.


Eating ice cream from the carton is a real, diet-deal-breaker. It makes you more mindful of how much you’re eating to choose individual ice cream servings such as ice-cream sandwiches or ice cream bars.


For an easy route to learning portion size servings, check out the new dishes which are specially designed for helping people learn and execute new eating habits involving smaller portions for weight loss.


Serving Yourself Sensibly


There are so many ways to trick yourself into being satisfied with less food. It’s a known fact that portion size has increased to abominable heights. A recent study in Australia pursued the reality of our dishes and portion size to the fact we’re becoming a society of obese people.


This study even analyzed plate types (cone-shaped or flat) for calorie density and compared those findings to the daily, recommended calorie allowance. The results proved that even a small increase in the size of the dishes can cause an enormous increase in consumed calories.


So, dishware size is a definite consideration when using mindful eating techniques to lose and maintain weight. Other factors besides the size of the dishware were whether a bowl or plate was chosen, how the dish was filled and how calorie-dense the food was.


Interestingly enough, the plate or bowl filling and the shape of the plate also depends on the individuals serving themselves. Some people fill up the dishes to the maximum capacity and others were more mindful of the portions.


Ambiance Is Everything


Dish size is important, but the ambiance of where you eat is essential if you’re going to take full advantage of the mindful eating concept. We can’t all eat in the atmosphere of Downton Abby each night, being served by butlers and servants.


But, you can take what you have and make it into a place of serenity and peace to eat your meals. The fact is that most people now take their meals in front of the television, computer, in bed, standing up on a commuter train or in casual restaurants that serve huge portions of deep-fried foods on plastic trays.


At home, meals are sometimes taken on the run like a marathon you have to finish so you can get to the next appointment or practice session. Most of the time, one family member at a time serves him or herself and disappears with a plateful of food to consume it in front of the television or while on the phone in their rooms.


Meals are seldom planned, much less served in an environment that’s conducive of calm rather than chaos. Does it really matter whether we’re on the run, eating in the ambiance of an elegant restaurant or in front of the television? Science says it does.


Any restaurant that goes to the trouble to put together a 5-Star menu is likely to go to the trouble of making the ambiance match the food. That doesn’t mean white tablecloths and flowers on the table, but it should match the type of food.


For example, a barbeque restaurant may have checkered tablecloths, paper towels for napkins and lots of country music playing in the background.  Chefs know that the eating experience comprises both the psychological and physiological needs and wants of the diner and the body and mind respond to the surroundings.


While you may not be able to recreate the atmosphere of a five-star restaurant at home, you can use color, candles and a warm and inviting atmosphere to make your family want to dine rather than eat on the run.


For breakfast, you may want to create a light and airy atmosphere that’s conducive to eating a hearty and healthy meal before going off to school and work. Lunch can be casual if you eat at home, but be sure you don’t eat in front of the television or computer. Eat at the table and eat slowly.


Also keep in mind that if you consistently eat with a book in hand or in front of the television, you’re setting up cues for hunger (or it makes you think you’re hungry). When you reach for a book or turn on the television, you’ll likely begin to crave certain foods that you associate with that activity.


The Joy of Eating


The mindful eating concept must also incorporate a joy of eating. Meals have historically been a time to enjoy family and friends and take part in the bounty that the earth has provided.


Today, the joy of eating seems to have lost its sheen and brought down to foods we crave rather than savor. Consumed on the run or while being entertained, food has lost the original happiness and celebratory mood that it used to bring to the table.


There is a movement to get back to mindful and joyful eating and to improve the relationship that many now have with food. Rather than being seen as a path to health and energy, it’s now an addiction for some and a reason to turn on television or play a computer game for others.


Mindful eating is designed to bring a new way to look at the consumption of food – as sustaining and health-motivating as well as a fun and interesting way to join family and friends for a well-thought out and tasteful meal.


Food brings joy to celebrations and each meal should be a celebration of being able to eat nutritious and tasteful food – rather than how much you can consume in a short amount of time.


How you think about the food you eat and learning to meet the various needs you have without hoarding and consuming too much food is part of the mindful eating concept. Food can be interesting and fun and the more you learn about it, the more you’ll appreciate it.


You’ll eat for satisfaction and to get the most nutrition as possible from what you choose to eat. You’ll also learn to prepare the food for the utmost nutritional value and choose portions and dishware according to what you know is an acceptable limit.


Mindful eating is a sort of revolution of changing the way people think about food. It’s full of strategies and techniques to bring joy and mindfulness to every meal you make and every bite you take.


It’s not as much a diet plan as it is a way to gain power over your relationship with food. Food is treated as an ally rather than an enemy and the old habits of eating without thinking are replaced with habits that promote a complete understanding and evaluation in what and how we’re eating.


It may take a while to change the old habits and you may miss sitting in front of the television while mindlessly eating a pizza, but your new lifestyle will put you much more in the present moment.


A Lifestyle Change is Necessary


If you’re going to embark on a mindful eating journey, you’ve got to make a commitment to a drastic lifestyle change. Learning to recognize hunger cues is also important to the mindful eating journey.


When you’re aware of what and how you’re eating, you recognize those cues and act accordingly. From the dishes you choose to the food you purchase and the way you prepare and present it, mindful eating can’t be accomplished fully without a complete lifestyle change.


You can begin small, with one meal a week, but eventually, the entire concept of mindful eating will be a choice you’ll gladly make. We live in such a fast-paced society that slowing down to enjoy meals with family and loved ones may feel that you’ve gone back in time for a while.


You’ll choose food differently, even if you’re forced to choose it from a vending machine or cafeteria. Focusing your thoughts on healthy food choices will also serve to help you make good choices in other areas of your life. You may take extra time and exploration to think through every issue that comes your way.


With mindful eating, you’ll make choices made on the issues of health and portions rather than immediate gratification. You won’t wonder anymore where the plate of pasta went – you’ll know exactly, because you’ll savor every bite as you eat.


Although part of the joy of mindful eating comes from sharing meals with friends and family, be aware of how others are eating and don’t try to match their speed or intensity. Others may choose huge portions, but you will know instinctively how much to dole out on your plate or bowl.


The busier you get in your life, the more you may be tempted to combine a meal or snack with a chance to watch television or get some work done. Guard against that habit, although times may occur when it’s necessary.


Don’t blame yourself or feel guilty if you do experience a period where you’re totally unmindful of what you eat or where you eat it. Old habits die hard – or circumstances may get in the way of what you know you should be doing and what time or other problems dictate you must be doing.


After you know what’s expected of your mindful eating experience, you’ll know instinctively when and how to serve portions, how to make the presentation of food a delight to the senses and exactly the foods you should be eating for the maximum benefit and the most weight loss.


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