Focus on portion size, consider a doggy-bag

How many of us grew up hearing “finish what’s on your plate”?

Ultimately, it kills our ability to stop when we’re full.

If my son takes something on his plate, I’ve suggested he finish it, but it’s more about learning to take a small amount first and then deciding if you’re really hungry before you take more.

I would prefer he doesn’t waste the food.

We are always happy to put it in single-serving containers, label it with masking tape and sharpies and freeze it for convenient leftover meals.

I grew up having to finish entire restaurant meals as well because it was a waste of money and food to leave it on the plate.

I’m not sure why we didn’t ask for a container and take the rest home.

Now, I love huge restaurant meals because I know I’ll get to eat it for lunch and dinner the next day.

Or, I can share it with someone and actually have room for a shared treat — if it’s a special occasion.

It’s the worst feeling to walk away stuffed, knowing that I’ve completely overdone it and probably consumed twice the recommended calories for the day.

The other thing I’ve changed is not forcing myself to eat something I don’t like.

We’ve all ordered something and been less-than excited about the flavour.

Or, maybe I like part of the plate and not something else.

It’s rare. I usually know what I will like, so I don’t feel bad if the odd time I leave something for the garbage that just wasn’t worth the calories.

It comes down to listening to my body, being intuitive and contemplating before I shift to autopilot and consume an entire plate of something I don’t enjoy.

It’s something I have to constantly remind myself.

Even if it relates to sets and reps for exercise.

It doesn’t matter what it is. Just because someone suggests it doesn’t mean it’s best for me. I make my own decisions.

As a fitness instructor, I see participants who don’t listen to their bodies.

How many times have I said that in a class?

“Listen to your body.

“Keep your core engaged.”

Sometimes, I even stop listening to myself.

But, next time an instructor tells you to listen to your body and gives you alternatives to the hardest-possible version of the exercise, don’t assume you have to do the hardest option.

Listen to what your back is telling you.

Maybe your hips are protesting. Maybe your shoulders.

So many things are intuitive if we just take note.

Whether we’re paying attention to how certain foods make us feel or how we feel when we don’t get enough sleep or hydration, our bodies will tell us what works.

We just have to force our minds to take note.

Shawn Wenger is a BCRPA-registered personal trainer and weight-training and group-fitness instructor. She runs Fitness For Mortals. E-mail for information.



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