Growing up, the idea of portion sizes was never something that was even discussed in our house. As kids, we ate till we were full and then some more. Therefore, as we grew up, we never consciously controlled our portion sizes. Needless to say, overweight and related issues followed soon after.
However, this April I finally decided to consult a nutritionist and see how I could possibly lose weight. Being diagnosed as insulin resistant, it was also crucial that I not just watch what I eat but also how much I eat and when I eat it.
And so, for the first time in my life, I began actually being conscious of my portion sizes and meal timings.
I would have my first meal at about 9.30 am and my last meal no later than 7.30 pm. While this sounds like a wide window – and indeed it is – it took some getting used to.
To be clear, I did no decide on what the ideal portion sizes for someone my height and weight should be, I let my nutritionist come up with that number.
Here’s what happened to my body when I started eating on time and began controlling portion sizes:
1. I felt very hungry for the first two days
Even though my nutritionist had considered my body weight and my general eating patterns, my food intake had dropped drastically overnight. As a result, my body went into a shock and began demanding more food. In particular, the first day was extremely difficult. I kept getting hunger pangs and it took me everything to not to open the shelf and eat some junk food. But this was just my body getting used to the new eating habit. I also suffered from a bad headache on the first day so I spent the day in bed resting. However, by the third day, I was able to overcome my hunger pangs and get back to my work full time.
2. I began feeling a lot lighter
What I was essentially doing was stomach stapling by controlling the amount of food I ate. As a result, even though I didn’t lose a lot of weight by the end of 15 days, I was able to feel lighter and more energetic. I was afraid I wouldn’t be as energetic as I used to be but because my meals were balanced – protein, carbs, fibre – they were giving me all the energy I needed.
3. I began sleeping better
For a greater part of the last decade, I’ve struggled with insomnia. However, since I was not just controlling my portion sizes but also the timing of my meals, I would end up eating no later than 7.30 pm. Typically, I hit the bed around 10.30 pm which gives my body three good hours to digest what I’d eaten. This, I believe, led me to sleep better too. There were days when I woke up feeling refreshed and energetic, something I’ve not felt in a long time.
4. I struggled with post-dinner hunger pangs
Throughout the day, I was having meals every couple of hours. However the longest I would go without a meal was post dinner. Technically, I wasn’t eating for nearly 14 hours. Of these, I was awake for four to five hours. As a result, my post-dinner hunger pangs were a real challenge. To avoid binge eating, I would eat a fruit or have a glass of buttermilk. Invariably this would fill me up and help me get through the evening.
5. I began feeling a lot more confident
To be clear, I didn’t lose a lot of weight in the first couple of weeks. In fact I still haven’t lost of lot of weight since I began my diet. But this is due to my insulin resistance. It did however gave me a lot of confidence. For the first time in my life I felt that I could indeed lose weight. Importantly, for the first time, I felt that I could actually control my portion sizes, something I’ve never done in my life. It gave me a renewed sense of confidence which is helping me get through the week after and the one after that.