Gram’s Wisdom 11: Eat a little of everything in moderation
My Gram never counted a calorie in her life. She didn’t look at labels for the salt, sugar or fat content in the food she ate. It never became necessary. Healthy foods, eaten moderately is what she preached to anyone who would listen.
She was a firm believer in eating a balanced diet from all the food groups. Don’t deprive yourself of food you enjoy. Instead, eat something of everything in moderation so you don’t crave and binge on the wrong foods.
This method for eating carried her through a life of health and wellness for more than a hundred years. I have sensibly followed my Gram’s example of eating everything moderately all my life with good results, but in a way that suits me.
Focused on the wrong thing
Many people go crazy counting calories, checking serving sizes, and ingredients. This behavior has driven everyone a bit insane. And instead of helping with weight loss, it has pushed many people closer and closer to the brink of an epidemic which is known in the medical world as obesity.
Young and old, obesity has infiltrated your life in one way or another; affecting you personally or your loved ones. And it isn’t just about the numbers seen on the scale. Obesity increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, and many other types of chronic illnesses.
Serving size vs. Portion
A serving is what can be found on a food product’s food label, or Nutrition Facts, on the side of the package. It’s a suggestion of how much you should eat from that particular food product. Each product has different serving sizes and uses various measurements, such as cups, grams, ounces, slices, or pieces. There’s also a serving per container on the label which gives you an idea of how many servings are in the entire package.
A portion is the amount of food you eat per meal. It could be directly from the box, or how much food is on your plate at home or at a restaurant. More often, the portion of food you decide to consume won’t match the serving size provided for you on the food label.
Do you eat too much?
You all know what’s good for you and what isn’t; or what you should eat 80% of the time and what you can indulge in 20% of the time without feelings of guilt. The problem now, however, has become not what to eat, but how much should I eat? Even healthy foods should be eaten in moderation.
How much food you can consume at each meal is different from one person to the next based on age, gender, weight, metabolism and how active that person is. If you work out regularly, you’ll need more calories than someone who leads a sedentary lifestyle. Or if you’re in your twenties, your metabolism will be working faster than someone in their fifties, which means you can eat larger portions without worrying as much.
Here are a few tips to help you quickly figure out your portion sizes both at home and on the go:
Use smaller dishes. It may sound simple, but you’ll be amazed at how easily your brain accepts that you’re eating less. And you won’t even feel you’re doing it.
Use your plate as a measuring tool. For example, if you’re eating salad, that should take up ½ your plate. Protein and complex carbs should take about a quarter of your plate. And if you’re eating foods high in fats, that should only be ½ a tablespoon.
Use your hands. It’s not an exact science, but the size of your hands usually corresponds to the size of your body. So, protein should be roughly the size of 1 palm for women and 2 palms for men; vegetables and foods rich in carbs should be about a fistful for women and 2 fistfuls for men; high-fat foods should be about the size of a thumb for women and 2 thumbs for men.
Avoid eating straight from the container. Measure out the serving size in a bowl instead.
Always start each meal with a glass of water.
Avoid eating while standing up or while you’re being distracted by something, as a phone call or the TV
Stop eating when you notice you feel full
Always focus on how your food looks, smells, tastes as you purposefully chew each bite. Practicing mindfulness will help you reevaluate your relationship with food. It will also feel full quicker, and most importantly, satiated and content.
The bottom line is that it’s important to have a healthy relationship with food. Just like in any relationship, neither side should have the upper hand. There should be a sense of balance and respect without that negative hold that food can sometimes have on you.
I adhere to an eating window that falls between 12:00 PM and 7:00 PM most of the time.
Long before I ever knew there was a term for it, I had been intermittent fasting. I began this process as a rebellious teen who just hated eating breakfast food, at the acceptable breakfast hour. By the time I was 16 both Gram and my Mother had given up fighting the breakfast battle, and I was on my way to skipping lunch as well, most days.
Little did either of them know, but that was the beginning of a pattern of eating that I thought of as a lifestyle choice. Now that it has its own name, it’s much easier for me to describe to people and I receive fewer eye rolls and more questions about how to do it long term.
There are benefits to intermittent fasting, like weight loss and cellular repair, that make it popular. What I have always found beneficial was not having to plan, shop, cook, or clean-up after an extra meal or two every day.
Just like any other eating regimen, intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone. But it is simple, and it usually only takes a week or two to make the transition from how you eat now. After a few short weeks, you should begin to see physical changes, greater focus, and more time in your schedule. Depending on your overall health you may want to clear this with your doctor first.
I hope you find this post beneficial and will share it with your family and friends.
For additional information, you may want to check out this post by Mayo Oshin.