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Portion Sizes - What’s Right For You?


I’m in the midst of re-writing a handout on portion sizes, and am interested to see that my perspective has changed significantly since compiling the first version some five years ago.  What jumped out was who actually influences the amount of food we eat?


Plate and cutlery size, colour and material play a role.  Food availability, quality and our environment plays an even larger role, and then what?  


I have handouts showing divided plates, portion sizes and what is a portion of fruit or veg.  But is it really that simple?


Digging a bit deeper, where did we learn what a portion size is - or should be?  Is it the same when we visit places where food is not as readily available?  How does this resonate with us in our lives today?  Large? Upsize? Bigger is Better? Or Small? Skinny? Lo/Light?  How much of an influence do our family, friends, supermarkets and Big Food have over what we feel is enough, or when we feel satisfied?


With this in mind, what might I ethically be suggesting to clients about how much they eat?  


Therefore, in order for us to regain control of our own health we need to stop and ask or assess a number of questions (see below).


Once we have this as a guideline we can start looking at portion sizes and what they might ideally want to be for us on a given day.  Some days I can eat like a horse, but not always (hahaha for anyone who knows me, that might be hard to believe!)


Our needs change as we do.  

For instance as we grow from a child to a teenager; depending on our exercise levels; and how we deal with stress.  

For women, our appetite and thus portion sizes changes with our menstrual cycle.


For women, our appetite and thus portion sizes changes with

our menstrual cycle.


So, coming back to the handout,  I’ve gone back to the beginning! 


My aim is that when clients finish a session with me they feel empowered and more aware of who may be influencing their ideas of portion sizes and then what steps can be taken to reassess what might actually be right for them.


Here are some questions to start with:


1) What were you brought up believing about portion sizes?


2) How much influence do these people/organisations have over your portion sizes?






Big Food (think of fizzy drinks, confectionary, crisps etc.)


Start with a scale of:

"no influence at all” to

“some influence”  to

"oh yes complete control”.  


Next you may like to note down why you have answered as you have.


3) How does this affect the amount you eat or drink? 


4) What other external factors trigger the amount of food you eat (or drinks you drink)?  This could be the smell of bread, walking past a specific store or the sight of a packet of biscuits etc.


5) What internal factors affect your portion sizes?  This could be feelings of sadness, loneliness, stress or wanting to please etc.




From this exercise what three points have you learnt about yourself and portion sizes, that you’d like to address?


I hope this helps in some way with working out what might be right for you.   


Here’s to real food and vibrant health!


If you like what you’ve read please feel free to share.


#NutritionWithin #realfood #healthy


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Nutritional Therapist * Scientist * Restorative Body Movement and Meditation Facilitator.  

Member of The Institute for Functional Medicine.

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