Tuesday, January 26, 2010 | 06:07 AM
Why Paying Attention to Portion Size Matters
One of the main components to losing weight is portion control. Unfortunately it might be the hardest component to keep up with. With our busy lifestyles, we don't have time to weigh and every element of our every meal. Even if we do have time, the thought of measuring out each serving of pasta before boiling it just seems tedious. However, not paying attention to our portion sizes can lead to us gaining weight over time without even knowing that we're overeating. "We often overeat in 100-or 200-calorie increments, which over time adds up to a weight gain that seems a mystery to the eater, a CookingLight.com story reads. According to Cornell University food psychologist Brian Wansink, Ph.D., our conscious, thinking brain and our instinctive, emotional brain often fail to communicate with each other and our instinctive brain can lead us down the wrong track. "Two brain systems govern the decision to snack on an apple versus a big bag of cheese curls. The limbic system is subconscious, emotional, and more likely to bet on present opportunity than weigh future consequences; it does the evolutionary job of protecting us against the future unknown. The analytic system weighs courses of action more consciously. Most of us know there's a good chance we'll have enough to eat next month, but rational thought is frequently overruled by the limbic system's "me, now" imperative. We are products of both systems, plus all sorts of cultural influences to boot," the article reads. Wansink conducts a number of experiments to prove that we can't rely on our brains to always steer us in the right direction when it comes to what to eat and how much of it to eat. The best ways to curb your inclinations to overeat, are to change where you store your food--place it out of view instead of leaving it out on a desk or counter--and to use smaller plates and bowls. Here are seven other cues to take for a healthier lifestyle. Find out about the foods that can either improve your mood or depress you.