The next thing you have heard consistently when it comes to weight loss, is to, “eat in moderation.” But again, what the heck is moderation? What does it mean?? What if my interpretation of moderation is different than yours is, then what? It is safe to say that any good changes you make will create a positive impact. You need to know what your goals are, what your plan is to get there (again that plan comes in to play) and most importantly, how you will make it last. Small changes will lead to success! When you do not try to drastically change and alter your current life all at once, but instead, learn how to make what you love fit into your life in a healthier way, your small changes will last. What happens when that 3-day “master cleanse” of only drinking water or eating grapefruits ends? Some people say they feel rejuvenated post-detox and then eat very healthy for the long run; if that is you, you are very lucky.
Moderation and baby steps are the goals and the purpose of this post, so I think awareness can go hand in hand with this and of course simplifying anything also really helps. So, lets start by being aware of just how much our bodies need, in terms of portion sizes.
I like to tell my patients or friends or family members who have asked me for advice, that our hands can truly tell us a lot about what our bodies need. Let your hands guide you into what portions are right for you. There are many portion size guides that use common kitchen or household items as references, but I don’t know about you, but I do not have a baseball or a set of dice laying around my apartment to help guide me when needed.
· Your Palms: This is the size of your proteins. The width of your protein choice should mimick the width of your palm. If you are a very active person, you may need to have two palm sizes at your biggest meal. The only time I don’t think this rule is as accurate (this is my opinion), is with many lean fish. With fish you may be able to have maybe a palm and a half. When it comes to eggs, see how many shelled eggs can comfortably fit in one hand, that should be the right amount to use for your omelet or scrambled eggs.
- A Fist: A tight fist is your carbohydrate portion size. This is your whole wheat pasta, your brown rice, the size of a sweet potato (preferably) that is right for you.
- Your Thumb: This is your fats, 1 thumb (length) should be your serving of oils or your peanut butter or your almonds (or nuts of choice).
- The Cup of your Hand: Your piece of hand fruit should fit comfortably into your hand without your fingers being stretched out (so that extra large honey crisp apple that fits into your hand when your fingers are really, really stretched out, is more than one serving). Same goes for your grapes or fruit cup, the amount of fruit in the fruit cup should fit into that cup you make out of your hand.
- Two Palms: This is your veggies. Here I am going to allow you to be a little more lenient as your veggies are many times considered, “free foods,” (the non starchy ones). When you cook your veggies however, remember the portion size of your fats.
Your plate can also help you control your portions. Do you remember as a kid the princess (or power ranger) plates that were plastic and pre-portioned? Buy them again! But instead of the carbs being on that big side of the plate, make that your veggie portion. When you eat from smaller plates, you have less in front of you at once, and there fore you will likely eat less, but enough. The same goes for eating from a bag versus a pre-portioned snack. When you only have a certain amount, you will likely only eat that amount.
Still interested in a detox? Focus on eating your colors. Like we have discussed before, the more colors the more nutrients and each color can play a role in detoxifying and nourishing your body. Avoid processesed and refined foods, cutting these out of your diet and replacing them with naturally colorful fruits and veggies may be a detox enough for some.
- Instead of ice cubes, add frozen fruits. Frozen mangoes, strawberries, blueberries etc. These will add natural flavors to your water.
- Add lemon and lime together.
- Add lemon and lime and mint.
- Add fruit and mint.
- Cucumbers and fruits.
- Orange slices.
- Try cucumbers and mint or cucumbers, mint and the lemon and lime.
Learn to love water and carry it with you all day long. This can be one of those small changes for you.
So after all of this, are you ready to commit to yourself? Are you ready to start by making some changes to your portion sizes and really being aware of what you are eating? The purpose of this post is to make you realize that the things you love you do not have to give up, but in the right portion, everything can be enjoyed. That is moderation.
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-Jenna A. Stock, RDN