Portion Sizes & Overeating

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Today I’m answering a common question asked about overeating. “I struggle with portion sizes (even with healthy food). I always end up overeating).

  • Do you find it hard to stop eating when you satisfied (and instead you eat until full/stuffed)?
  • Maybe you have the urge to eat everything that’s on your plate because that was expected as a child?
  • Or maybe you don’t know what it feels like to leave a meal without feeling full or stuffed?

I struggled with those questions above as I transitioned from dieting for years to eating intuitively. It’s not easy I’ll tell ya that! (But it can be done.)

Diets control what we eat, when we eat, and how much. Sometimes we might eat all the food “we’re allowed” without even taking into consideration how we feel before (are you hungry?) or how we want to feel after the meal (light, satisfied, content?).


One of the main reasons you can maintain a healthy, fit body while eating intuitively is because you’ll eat until you’re satisfied (most of the time). That feeling of satisfaction & skill of listening to your body becomes your natural portion control.

So, how do you find the feeling of satisfaction when eating?

  1. Let’s define “satisfaction” when it comes to eating. In my opinion, it means that you feel content or neutral when you’re done eating. You’re no longer hungry or wanting anything else. You’re just “good” or “okay.”
  2. To GET to the point of satisfaction while eating, you’ve got to describe how you feel (most of the time) currently when you’re done eating. Are you full? Relaxed? Uncomfortable? Wanting more? Still hungry? Bloated? Tired?
  3. What would you PREFER to feel like? The words that come to mind for me are: light, energized, content, peaceful, easy, okay, good, normal, satisfied, neutral.
  4. You’ve got to PRACTICE eating until you feel the way you’ve listed in #3. You can’t just snap your fingers and expect to start eating in that way! You’ve got to work on it consistently just like any other skill you want to learn. 🙂

This week I challenge you to pick ONE meal (yup, just one!) to eat until you feel satisfied. That sweet spot can be hard to find, so you might find yourself thinking:

  • Wait is this it?
  • Do I feel “light”?
  • I can’t tell?
  • Maybe I should stop here?
  • Does the food still taste good? I think so?

As with ANY new task or habit, there’s going to be some confusion or gray area. Let it happen! Who cares! You’re learning. Once you hit that place of satisfaction, you’ll know!

This morning I walked through the exercise I’m about to share. This exercise will help you practice feeling content during the meal you pick this week. I picked my “one meal” as my breakfast. I’m going to share what I did and how it felt, so all you have to do to practice this week is follow what I did below:

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  1. Pick out your meal to practice. I chose my breakfast; toast with peanut butter and fruit, and coffee with coconut oil.
  2. Sit down without any distractions (phones away, tv’s off!).
  3. I took a slow bite. Asked myself, how does it taste?
  4. Put my fork/food down in between bites.
  5. Repeat #’s 3 & 4 as many times as it takes to get about halfway through the meal.
  6. Check in with myself – does it still taste as good? How do I feel?
  7. If I’m not hungry anymore and I feel “okay” go ahead and stop eating (knowing that if I’m hungry in a little bit I can eat again)! If I AM still hungry then continue eating slowly and checking in with myself!
  8. Reflect on how it went! That’s it!

I know, 8 steps seems ridiculous right?! It’s not! And it shouldn’t take too long either. For # 8, when you reflect – just check in to see how it went and what you notice (judgement free). Continue working on these steps with as many meals as you want until you understand what “content” feels like for you!

Other quick tips with portion sizes:

  • Take half of what you would normally take (and check in with yourself when done to see if you’re still hungry).
  • Tell yourself you can always have the food later if you start to feel satisfied.
  • Ask yourself how you want to feel when you’re done.

I can’t wait to hear how this goes for you! Feel free to comment below & let me know how this goes for you.


P.S. Make sure you’re signed up for my free, weekly emails for in depth info & tips. Put your email in the righthand side of this post!



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About Eat Work Play Balanced

Abby is a certified health coach who knows how difficult it can be to get out of the diet cycle and mindset. On the Eat Work Play Balanced blog you'll find tips, strategies, and info that can help you transform your relationship with food to find balance! *Disclaimer-I am not a doctor, and do not treat or diagnose women with eating disorders.