If not, chances are you eat more than you think.
Or, so says Dr Brian Wansink of Cornell University.
In his fascinating book Mindless Eating, Wansink research shows how normal weight people underestimate their food intake by about 20 per cent.
But get this – people who are overweight – underestimate the amount they eat by more than 50 per cent.
Yup, read that correctly – 50 per cent!
It seems that many of us are accidentally supersizing ourselves, without even realising.
Rather appropriately, he describes the gap between what you think you eat and what you actually eat as the “mindless margin”.
“Portion creep” is a huge trap. It’s the relentless upsizing of portions which has occurred over the last several decades.
For example, you might tell yourself, “Oh, I only had a muffin for lunch” or “I only had a bowl of cereal for breakfast”.
But research shows there’s a huge variation in what a ‘portion’ is these days.
These days, one muffin can feed a small nation and pack in nearly as many calories as an entire meal did in our parent’s generation.
A bowl of cereal could contain anything from the standard half-cup to two cups, depending on the size of your bowl and your appetite.
But in our minds, it’s still just one serve. Our brains focus on the number of serves – not the amount – which is where we lead ourselves up the weight-gain-garden-path.
You can see how fast food outlets have rather cleverly taken advantage of this.
In the 1970s, McDonald’s had one size of fries – what’s now known as “small”. The rationale was that if people wanted more, they could always order a second portion. But people didn’t because they felt greedy asking for two portions.
However, when the McDonalds marketing team introduced the bigger portion of fries, it suddenly became psychologically easier for us to order and eat way more.
Portion creep has become very popular. You don’t need to look far to see that enormous portions are now the new ‘normal’ – from cafes to pubs to our homes.
So what can we do?
The good news is we can resist the portion creep with a little bit of awareness.
A little bit of mindfulness goes a long way…
1. Use a smaller bowl or plate. You’ll eat less, without feeling deprived, because you will still have a “full” plate.
2. Cut muffins, slices and cakes in half, and share the ‘em, or leave what you don’t want on the plate.
3. Also, don’t be fooled by “value” deals. Only buy what you really want to eat. While you might feel that you need a huge portion to get good value – it’s erroneous. Value deals and upsizing have an enormous cost – it’s just that we just pay with our bodies and health, instead of our wallets.
So why not start listening to your own body and use these tips to become more mindful aware of how you might be accidentally super sizing yourself?
Love etc, Avril
PS: If you’ve forgotten what that “full” feeling feels like, hypnotherapy can help. Why not give me a call, c’mon over….