Too big? Too small? Or, Just right? – Mentally accepting realistic portion-sizes

3 delicious fruit smoothiesYou’ve heard the tricks of portion control, right? Like…eating off of a smaller plate or piling on the veggies so that your meal looks bigger. It might seem like these are cute little ways to eat fewer calories, but would you believe that these tips, and a lot of others, can really make you feel more satisfied with your meal? Believe it!

Researchers at the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior put portion size and satiety to the test. Here’s how they did it:

One group of participants was shown a small smoothie and the other group was shown a large smoothie. The participants told the researchers how full they expected the smoothie to make them feel. Then, the researchers pulled a switch on the participants and gave them all the small amount of smoothie. The participants who thought that they got the large version (even though they really only drank the small version) reported feeling fuller after drinking the smoothie than those who expected the small amount. So, just the expectation that the smoothie would be filling was enough to make the participants feel fuller.

You’ve probably experienced this phenomenon yourself. Have you ever packed yourself  what you would consider a “small” lunch and after eating it, found yourself looking for a snack mid-afternoon?  This research suggests that  expecting a meal to be filling can help you to feel more satisfied with the meal itself. This satiety might help you fight the urge to go for an unplanned snack between meals.

That’s the same idea behind using a smaller plate…you can actually trick yourself into thinking you’re getting a bigger meal than you are.

Changing your perception of portion-sizes can help you lose (and keep off) weight. Work on your old-beliefs that are no longer helping you to be healthy and within your Body Mass Index (BMI). Those are the ones that likely have gotten you into trouble in the first place. Your thoughts lead to how you act, so out with the old; in with the new!

[Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (2010, July 14). Could our minds be tricked into satisfying our stomachs? ScienceDaily. Retrieved Sept 1, 2010, from /releases/2010/07/100713011039.htm]