Portion Well Challenge Support

Click here to access and print the 4-week Portion Well Challenge

Right-sizing your portions when eating at home and eating out is a key component of weight management.

 

In recent decades:

 

  • Portion sizes at fast-food restaurants, sit down restaurants, and food concessions have increased substantially.

  • Plate sizes at home are 33% larger than in 1960.

  • In our busy lives, we eat too fast without stopping to feel full.

  • Food is often used as “treats” and “rewards” rather than nourishment.

  • Many of us can’t tell the physical differences between hunger, thirst, and emotional or stress eating.

 

Free yourself from overeating by right-sizing your portions, pacing your eating, and finding new ways to treat yourself and others.

During the Challenge you will access resources from the employee well-being portal in the Wellness Initiatives 

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Week 1: Just 3 Things

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“We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink.” Anonymous

3 Things You Can Do Today to Manage Portion Sizes:

1. Slow down

It takes about 20 minutes before the brain can register that the stomach is satisfied. Slow your eating to let your brain catch up to your stomach. In a recent study it was found that slow eaters were 42% less likely to be overweight.

2. Eat regular meals

Eating regularly keeps the body’s blood sugar levels steady and eliminates spikes and dips which can cause excessive hunger and cravings.

 

3. Eat with others

Eating with others slows down the speed you eat…you will be talking and sharing. People who eat with others tend to make healthier choices

 

Studies have shown that the gap between intended and actual food intake is largest in people who succumb to emotional and stress-eating. Learn to identify the stressors and emotions that may lead to stress eating.

Consider different strategies to manage your portions: Slow down and pace your meals and snacks, right-size your portions, develop methods to manage your portions when eating out, and identify and use non-food rewards that you can enjoy. Use your Challenge Sheet to record your efforts in these areas to Portion Well.

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“The last bite tastes the same as the first bite.” Anonymous

Week 2: "Right-Size" Your Portions

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“KEEP CALM and CONTROL PORTiON SIZE.” Anonymous

"Super-sized portions at restaurants have distorted what Americans consider a normal portion size, and that affects how much we eat at home as well," according to Dr. Elizabeth G. Nabel, director of NIH's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Additionally, plate sizes have grown from 9” to 12” since 1960. That’s 33% more plate…and 33% more food! Today, we eat an average of 200 calories more food per day than we did 10 years ago. Larger portions mean more calories, which can easily add up to extra weight.

 

Why is Managing Healthy Portions Important?

  • Reduces your risk of chronic diseases

  • Helps you feel better

  • You can’t out-exercise too much food on your plate

  • Helps with weight management

 

It’s easy for the marketing gimmicks to trick us into larger portion sizes and eating more frequently than necessary. Learn to decode the nutrition facts on food labels and consider a food diary to help you keep track of what you eat and why by tracking how you are feeling when you eat.

Consider different strategies to manage your portions: Slow down and pace your meals and snacks, right-size your portions, develop methods to manage your portions when eating out, and identify and use non-food rewards that you can enjoy. Use your Challenge Sheet to record your efforts in these areas to Portion Well.

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“It doesn’t matter how hard you work at the gym if you don’t control what you put on your plate.” Anonymous

Week 3: Plan Ahead to "Right-Size Portions

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“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” Alan Lakein

There are many things can do to manage your portions outside of the home — or outside of your direct control. Whether it’s packing healthy and fulfilling snacks, checking the label for portion sizes, asking for a to-go container to bring extra food home from a restaurant, planning a walking or hiking date as a non-food reward, or confronting and managing stress-eating habits — advance planning help us Portion Well.

 

What are you doing to help you plan ahead for both the expected and unexpected and Portion Well?

 

  1. Do you plan to eat with others? The conversation helps moderate the pace of eating.

  2. Do you plan to eat regular meals and snacks?

  3. Do you have healthy snacks that you like on hand at work, in the car, when traveling…wherever you go regularly?

  4. Do you plan to have a piece of fruit for dessert?

  5. Do you look up healthy restaurants that are nearby on your phone or computer?

  6. When you travel, do you make an effort to eat healthfully?

Consider different strategies to manage your portions: Slow down and pace your meals and snacks, right-size your portions, develop methods to manage your portions when eating out, and identify and use non-food rewards that you can enjoy. Use your Challenge Sheet to record your efforts in these areas to Portion Well.

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“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin

Week 4: Non-Food Rewards

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“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up somewhere else.” Yogi Berra

We could easily rewrite the quote above to “If you don’t plan what you are eating, you’ll end up eating anything…for any reason.”

  • Many of us automatically think about food as a reward or as an enhancer.

  • We eat and drink to celebrate, or to commiserate.

  • We stop by the concession stand at the movie theater, or ball game even when we are not hungry.

  • We reward our children and family members with food too often.

  • A good first step is to create a healthy food environment at home.

Remember food is for nourishment. Reduce eating opportunities by discovering new ways to celebrate success, events, and enjoy the many relationships in your life with non-food rewards.

  • Go for walk together

  • Play frisbee or game a of catch

  • Play a game with your children

  • Plan a weekend outing

 

Consider different strategies to manage your portions: Slow down and pace your meals and snacks, right-size your portions, develop methods to manage your portions when eating out, and identify and use non-food rewards that you can enjoy. Use your Challenge Sheet to record your efforts in these areas to Portion Well.

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Congratulations!

 

You have discovered new ways to pace your eating, right-size your portions at home and when eating out, and enjoy non-food rewards. You are putting into practice new approaches to Portion Well. We hope that you have learned from the Virtual Exhibit, examined your habits, read the articles and watched the videos from the employee well-being portal, and found ways to Portion Well. Keep up the momentum by continuing to use the Challenge Sheet to make your new habits part of everyday living.

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"How you eat is as important as what you eat. If I eat mindlessly while watching television, I get all of the calories and none of the pleasure. Instead, if I eat mindfully, paying attention and savoring what I'm eating, smaller portions of food can be exquisitely satisfying." Dean Ornish

Click here to access and print the 4-week Portion Well Challenge.

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