Portion distortion: lost track of how much to eat?

How does our portion control affect our diet?

Portion distortion: lost track of how much to eat?

A resurgence of talk shows presenting the need to control the volume of food going down our food pipe suggests we have lost track of how much to eat! Browse You Tube, search the term portion control and you will be inundated with tips about how much one ought to eat.

Obesity[1] is an epidemic and experts are passionately pleading with us to be more focussed on the amount of food we are eating. The food industry over decades has been slowly increasing portion size. If we were to buy a packet of chips/crisps from the 1950s, I bet most people would feel ripped off. The size of salad plates we see in restaurants today were actually the size of dinner plates in the 1920s! Human physiology hasn’t changed over this time, and we are certainly not moving more, yet we are eating far more.

These attempts to bring an understanding to serving sizes in order to keep control over our waistlines include:

  • not ordering supersized
  • asking your waiter to halve the meal
  • ‘doggy bag’ one half of the meal
  • share a meal
  • abstain from seconds
  • choose a smaller plate to fit less
  • eat only a handful of carbs but two handful of veggies
  • use your fingers and hands as a guide for serving size

and so on . . .

The stark reality is we, including self-proclaimed ‘healthy eaters’, eat way more than we truly need.

Our average, portion sizes[2] have expanded so much that our perception of what’s considered a ‘nor-mal’ serve has gone pear-shaped (pun intended). Terms like ‘Portion Distortion’ and ‘Food portion control’ have made their high rankings into Google searches, and judging by the very titles the state of affairs appears self-explanatory – dire.

And whilst the US Food Administration’s introduction to the Clean Plate Club[3] might have had its place in the early 20th century (promoting zero wastage of food), nowadays and in general, with no food rationing in sight in this 24/7 food parlour western world of ours, are we not clinging onto an outdated mantra – clean your plate because you never know when or where the next bite might be coming from?

We are indoctrinated to finish all that is on our plate and totally over-ride the feeling of satiety or even ‘totally stuffed’. Let’s be honest, it can be really hard for us to let this mantra go, that intense pressure to finish all your food. So perhaps we need to think about how much we are putting on our plates!

There is no doubt that overeating leads to obesity and diabetes with a massive impact on our wellbeing and vitality, however the truth is that focussing on portion control is working on fixing the symptom but not scratching the surface of the cause.

It’s time to collectively put the brakes on and ask of ourselves the all important question:

Why do we eat way more food than we need for optimal nourishment and nutrition?

Clearly, we are not focussing on optimal nourishment or what our body needs when scoffing down an entire box of biscuits, packet of crisps or tub of ice cream. The issue isn’t only at the extreme end of the scale in our most indulgent or decadent moments though, as consuming more of a ‘healthy’ meal or food than we need is doing our body no service either.

We need to take a step back in the analysis of this global issue and seek truth in what leads to overeating. What is propelling us in these moments of body assault? Why is obesity an ever-growing problem when allegedly we know more about our bodies, diets and nutrition than ever before?

Is it possible that we have an extremely powerful numbing agent in food?

Overeating makes our bodies not just heavier but also denser, both physically and energetically, and perhaps this is why we use it to numb and not feel.

Are we way more sensitive than we let ourselves accept? Is the dinner table a coming together of the day’s stresses and events that are just too much to process?

As Serge Benhayon clearly describes in this audio, "How eating affects our awareness", if we eat to numb then we are not getting the messages from the body, thus the mind can be in control and over-ride the innate wisdom of the body telling us to stop eating.

The catalyst for overeating will vary from person to person. It may be that we use food to soothe the build-up of anxiety, fear, inner tension, or stress. We may eat to comfort un-met needs or feelings, or If we can’t or don’t want to recognise our feelings for fear of becoming too vulnerable. We may feel afraid that we can’t handle our feelings or choose to suppress them because we don’t want to experience isolation when others don’t acknowledge them, or we may eat in reaction to frustration and overwhelm.

These sticky emotions and many more are essentially reactions to hurts we carry from life experiences and relationships, but by avoiding them, not expressing and dealing with them, they then impact on our everyday living.

All the diets and tricks in the world won’t work until we have acknowledged and dealt with our hurts. So if our portions are not supporting us to live healthy, vital lives it is a great opportunity to stop and ask, "What is going on for me right now? What emotions or feelings are coming up for me that I want to bury with food?"

Do we stop, connect and feel before we eat?

Give it a go tonight at dinner; take stop moments during the meal, connect with how you are feeling before eating, don’t let emotions direct your eating and avoid being the ‘stuffed turkey’.


  • [1]

    Murray, CJL & Ng, Marie. IHME (Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation). Nearly one-third of the world’s population is obese or overweight, new data show. Retrieved 10th March 2017 from: http://www.healthdata.org/news-release/nearly-one-third-world’s-population-obese-or-overweight-new-data-show

  • [2]

    Spencer, B. Take portion sizes back to the 1950s to beat obesity, says scientists who warn servings have ballooned. The Daily Mail UK. Published 3rd Dec 2015. Retrieved 10th March 2017 from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3343129/Take-portion-sizes-1950s-beat-obesity-say-scientists-warn-portions-20-years-ballooned.html

  • [3]

    Charitywire. Concerned Health Experts Investigate Roots of "The Clean Plate Club". American Institute for Cancer Research. Published 12th September 2003. Retrieved 29th Oct from: http://www.charitywire.com/charity10/04303.html

Filed under

ObesityWeight-lossWell-beingBody awarenessEating disorder

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