Your portions will change from one meal to the next, and from day to day.
It’s not just important that you understand how to listen to your body Signs of hunger and fullness, But it is also important that you understand why your portion sizes change from one meal to the next, so you can use those little thoughts about yourself to feel more confident in how to better nourish your unique body.
There are many different factors that can affect how much you eat, and if you are not aware of these factors, this may cause you to eat portions that are not in line with your body’s needs.
Increase awareness of why You feel you need a larger or smaller portion that will guide you to find the right amount of food that you need.
Read on to see what to keep in mind as you choose your portion sizes so you can boost your ability to use hunger and fullness as a guide.
Why might your portion sizes change?
Keep these things in mind when checking your hunger and determining your portion sizes.
1. What you actually ate (or didn’t)
One of the common factors that are likely to affect your portions is what you actually ate or did not eat and how nourishing the food you ate was like.
For example, if you intentionally or unintentionally binge eat throughout the day, it can cause your body to feel very hungry which may lead to larger portions. Often these large portions cause you to overeat because you are too hungry.
In addition, when we eat for a long period of time and then consume a really large amount of food due to exceptional hunger, it can lead to High blood sugar. This can lead us to a feeling of overall contentment and fulfillment, thus perpetuating the cycle.
On the other hand, let’s say you have a big dinner and now want to enjoy dessert. This portion of dessert is often, of course, on the smaller side due to your adequate eating at dinner. Eating a very small dinner before dessert often results in a larger portion of dessert because our hunger cues weren’t completely satisfied.
It’s also important to think about how nutritious the foods you choose to eat and how you balance those foods are during your meals. If you have eaten a balanced diet The five foundational You will feel more full between meals, but if your meal is not balanced, you are likely to find yourself hungry soon after.
2. Activity levels
Our activity levels can also affect our food portions.
On the days when you are most active, you will likely notice that you need a greater portion of food to support the level of activity that you are involved in. To accommodate this, aim for healthy carbohydrates and fats that will provide your body with: the sustainable energy it needs, along with some proteins that will help rebuild muscle tissue.
When you notice that you are more energetic than usual, keep this in mind so you can ensure your servings are adjusted to meet your needs.
On the other hand, if you are usually very active and you are resting or taking a rest, your body will not need the same amount of nutrition, so you will want to pay attention to how your hunger has changed in your less active days. .
3. Environmental factors
One of the common factors that could unintentionally affect your portion size are environmental triggers. This is anything in your environment that prompts you to eat something or eat a certain amount.
Some environmental triggers can be very supportive, like having more nutritious food options at eye level in the fridge, rather than in the product drawers below. This can remind you to choose larger portions of vegetables and greens as they are first on your mind.
However, some environmental triggers may not support the type of eating habits you want to try on your own. For example, a member of Mindful Nutrition Method ™ noticed that she often consumed chips or crackers in the afternoon. After some exploration, she realized this was because she had always walked past the office kitchen to go to meetings or refill tea, and was simply snacking because she was outside and available.
Your notice Eating patterns Knowing when it might be affected by your environment can help you determine if and when it is affecting your portion sizes.
4. Stress levels
Stress can affect portions in two different ways.
- Smaller portions
When stress first starts, your appetite is likely to decrease because your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) puts your body in a “fight-or-flight” mode in response to a stressful situation. Your brain tells your adrenal glands to release adrenaline which increases your heart rate, and it sends blood to your muscles and heart so you can take action, and temporarily suspend your hunger (1). When the stressful situation passes, the SNS returns to baseline.
If you are not aware that your hunger is being suppressed by stress, you may notice that you are under eating. As we use hunger cues to guide our food choices, it is important to realize when these cues may not be working (i.e. due to stress) and nourish yourself well anyway.
- Larger parts
The second way stress can affect your food intake is when you are under chronic stress. If the stress is not managed or alleviated, the SNS will still be stimulated and respond to this stress.
When this happens, your body releases cortisol, which is why it is often referred to as the stress hormone. Unlike adrenaline that can stop your hunger, cortisol can increase your appetite (2). If your stress response continues to “turn on”, your cortisol levels may still be high.
If you suffer from this chronic stress, you are not only more likely to experience physical hunger, but you are also likely to experience more relief or cravings for carbohydrates or sugary foods.
Sugar can release dopamine – the happy chemical that activates the brain’s pleasure centers (3).
this is Eating stress It can lead you to reach larger portions of these foods.
5. Distraction or hasty eating
Distracted or rushed eating is just that – eating while you are distracted or rushing to eat a meal. This usually looks like eating in front of the TV, at your desk, scrolling through social media, or anything else that distracts you from sitting and enjoying food.
When you get distracted or rushed, it can be very difficult to use the cues of hunger and fullness as a guideline of how much you eat. This may lead you to either eat more or less of what your body needs because you do not care about your body’s cues and are in tune with them.
6. Lack of sleep can affect your food rations
Research has shown that the poor asleep Quality leads to Increased cravings For processed or sugary foods, overeating throughout the day, and not eating a lot of fruits and vegetables.
Try eating meals full of protein and fats when you are tired, so you get sustainable energy throughout the day!
7. Your period
Approximately 30 percent of premenopausal women are iron deficient (4), and if you are vegan, vegetarian, or have heavy menstrual flow, you are more likely to develop iron deficiency. Additionally, the menstrual cycle alone reduces the amount of iron in your body (5).
Because of this, you may feel more tired during menstruation, which indicates your body that it needs energy. Carbohydrates are the fast-acting form of energy in the body, so you may notice that you are craving carbohydrate-rich foods or feel that you need a larger portion to obtain this energy source.
Make sure to eat a lot of Iron-rich foodsEspecially during your period to support your body’s needs and energy levels.
8. How hydrated you are
Water is responsible for every process in your body, including your metabolism. By drinking enough water every day, you help keep your digestion going, while supporting an effective metabolism, and much more (1) (2).
If you are dehydrated, you may feel hungry when you feel really thirsty. Staying hydrated will help you keep hunger cues more accurate.
When you feel hungry, drink 1 cup of water, wait 10-15 minutes and reassess hunger cues. If you are still hungry, you may be experiencing real hunger, and if your hunger has reduced, you may try drinking more water to see if you are just feeling thirsty.
How can you strengthen your ability to find the right parts
Finding the right parts takes patience and practice. It takes your ability to control your body, discover how hunger and physical fullness feels for you, and then have the appropriate knowledge to learn how to use this information in a supportive way. This is what we support for our members within the Mindful Nutrition Method ™ program.
You can Sign up here for our free workshop We share a workout to help you better tune in with your unique cues of hunger and fullness and guide you through the Mindfulness ™ Method.
- Pharmacology of appetite suppression: implications for obesity treatment. Halford JC. Curr Drug Targets. 2001;2: 353-370.
- Stress, cortisol, and other hormones related to appetite: a possible prediction of 6-month changes in food cravings and weight. Obesity (silver spring). 2017; 25 (4): 713–720. Doi: 10.1002 / oby.21790
- Rada P, Avena NM, Hoebel BG. Excessive intake of sugar daily triggers the frequent release of dopamine in the cortex accumbens. Neurology. 2005; 134 (3): 737-744. Doi: 10.1016 / j.neuroscience.2005.04.043
- Camaschella, C. (2015). Iron deficiency anemia. The Angel J MedAnd the 2015(372), 1832-1843.
- Blanco-Rojo, R., Toxqui, L., López-Parra, AM, Baeza-Richer, C., Pérez-Granados, AM, Arroyo-Pardo, E., & Vaquero, MP (2014). The effect of diet, menstruation, and genetic factors on iron status: a cross-sectional study in Spanish women of childbearing age. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 15(3), 4077-4087.