On Your Health

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Do You Struggle with Portion Sizes?

by Stephanie Wagner, registered dietitian with the INTEGRIS Weight Loss Center

If you struggle with portion sizes when eating, you might need to look at how long it takes to eat your meal. Stephanie Wagner, a registered dietitian with the INTEGRIS Weight Loss Center, offers tips on how to slow down when eating to allow your brain time to tell you when you're full, helping you to eat less.
Hi, I'm Stephanie Wagner, registered dietitian at the INTEGRIS Weight Loss Center. If you've been trying to cut back on your portion sizes, you may need to look to how long you take to eat your meal in the first place. Oftentimes, eating too quickly is really the culprit for eating too much. So I want to give you a couple of tips on how to slow down at your meals because it does take your brain about 20 minutes to identify fullness. That's why if you're starving and you scarf down a bowl of chili, you go and get seconds and realize that you're overly-full; your brain just didn't get a chance to catch up, whereas if you take time and put your fork down and pause in between your bites, you might realize the first bowl was just enough when you took at least 20 minutes. So first, what I would recommend is to not go too long without eating in the first place. Oftentimes if you have lunch at noon and it's 7 o'clock before you're eating dinner, it's going to be very difficult to slow down and keep your portions controlled because you're ravenous. Instead, I would recommend not going longer than four hours without eating something to keep your hunger better controlled. This will help you slow down and keep your portions smaller. Secondly, I would recommend not allowing distractions in during your mealtime. If you're someone that's usually on your phone playing a game or talking on the phone or watching TV, oftentimes you look down and realize your food is gone and you don't remember when that happened, so I would recommend turning off the distractions and sitting down at the table with family or on your own to slow down and take your time. And finally, I would turn to your phone for a really handy app called Eat Slower. This app has both a free and a paid version and it's pretty simple. It's called Eat Slower and that's because it helps you to pace out your bites. You put 20 seconds on the timer, or 30 seconds, or however long, and the app will ding at you when it's time to take a bite, helping you to stay on course with slowing down at your meals. Twenty minutes, three times a day for a good meal - it sounds like a lot, but at the end of the day, an hour is worth your overall health.

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