Wednesday, March 7, 2012


This soon-to-be-released book is apparently set to reveal the secret to many a Manhattanite's slender frame. Some of the tricks author Eileen Daspin and her friends rely on include: eating with chopsticks (smaller mouthfuls means you eat less before fullness registers), buying pre-portioned snacks, planning meals in advance and allowing oneself to have a mouthful of indulgent foods but not indulging in a whole plate.

Like most books in this genre (French Women Don't Get Fat etc), it's teaching us portion control and moderation. As we are well aware, portion sizes are increasing and therefore what we perceive as being a regular square meal is likely to be two or three times what we should be consuming.

I'm not criticising Daspin's book, in fact I think anything that reminds us about moderation and portion control is actually a useful thing - 'portion distortion' is a huge problem and a major reason why people have trouble maintaining a healthy weight.

Right now there is a global obsession with food. We're bombarded with so much contradictory information on what we should eat and what we should avoid. There's a saturation of cooking shows, recipe books or "must-try" restaurants - the consequence being that we're all literally running marathons trying to stay in shape! I've been there before, eating and drinking the best of everything, forgetting that good food doesn't mean "good" food... Jogging 3 or 4 days a week was just burning it off and my weight was sitting, seemingly unshiftable, at a few kilos more than I wanted to be. I was frustrated!

We could save ourselves a lot of stress if we kept reminding ourselves of this:

1. Our stomachs are around about the size of our fist and expand to accommodate the food we eat - up to ten times it's size. We don't need a lot to satisfy hunger.

2. It takes up to 20 minutes for the chemicals in our bodies that tell us we are hungry to be replaced by those that tell us we are full. Therefore: eat slowly, and stop when you are just satiated.

3. If you continue to stretch your stomach by eating past the point of fullness, you're going to end up training your stomach to need more food to feel full. This is why competitive eaters can eat the amount they do! 

Depending on your energy needs, you should be aiming for anywhere between 1200-2000 calories per day (calculate your energy needs here). Bearing that in mind, here's a small sample of images from a Wisegeek article from way back in '07 called 'What does 200 calories look like?' (Click for larger image):

And here's a bit of inspiration I picked up from the blogosphere:

1. Portion control lasagna cupcakes from The Girl Who Ate Everything
2. Portion Control Plate - buy it here
3. Perfect portion control using the Portion Control Plate
4. Banana Split Bites (good portion control if you stop at one or two), from Baker's Royale

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