Perspective on Portion Control


You’ve probably heard this before, but I’ll re-iterate; your stomach is about the size of your fist.  Clench your first, hold it up in front of your face, take a nice, long, hard look at it.  That is the size of your stomach.  Now, take a look at this.  That is of course, a Chipotle burrito.  While not even the largest burrito I’ve ever seen, it’s still massive.  Now, we all know we can of course fit more than a fist-worth of food into our stomach.  What happens when you stuff down an entire burrito and a side of chips and salsa?  Our stomachs expand.  Constant overeating like this will eventually cause our stomachs to stretch larger than it should be.  This is the key concept behind competitive eaters like Kobiyashi or Joey Chestnut.  They consume extremely large amounts of lettuce and other food items that help expand the stomach.  Over time, their stomach expands so far that they are able to put down 50+ hot dogs in a single sitting.

Now, unless you are a competitive eater, you may want to avoid that stretched out stomach.  Having a stretched out stomach will cause you to eat more calories because you don’t feel full when eating a normal portion.  Obviously, the other downsides to eating a lot of calories in one sitting is that your insulin and blood sugar levels will rise, thereby causing you to hold on to more fat.  The excess sugar in your blood will be transported to fat cells as stored energy.  This means you’re getting bigger. 

Now, a 1,000 calorie burrito would take about 2.5 hours of continuous biking at a moderate to strenuous pace to completely burn off.  Ask yourself, when was the last time you did 150 minutes of straight cardio?  Probably not recently.  Everything you put in your body has a consequence; some good, some bad.  The consequences of over-eating are the rise in blood sugar, fat retention, and the ungodly amount of time you need to work out to burn those ingested calories.

The good news is your stomach will slowly return back to its normal size over time.  By abstaining from overeating, you are getting one step closer to getting back to your original stomach size.  After having stretched your stomach out, it is certainly a struggle to avoid overeating, but each time you abstain, the next time will be slightly easier.  Keep that in mind as you sit down to your next meal.  Each positive day is progress made towards getting yourself back on track.  Each negative day is a step further away from your goals.  Don’t ever be afraid to eat half of your meal and save the rest for later.  By avoiding a stretched out stomach, your healthy diet will be that much easier to live with.

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3 thoughts on “Perspective on Portion Control”

  1. Portion control is so hard when eating at restaurants! I studied abroad for a semester and it was so hard to order only one meal and get full, but as time progressed it got easier. There were a few hungry nights, but I did lose 10 pounds by the time I got back to the states.

  2. Good point!!! Its crazy how out of control the portions in the USA has become!!! our entire culture has to retrain how to eat correct amounts of food. Great post =)

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