Portion control is one of the most effective ways to lose weight. Over the years, the portion sizes have grown tremendously. Burgers have 2-3 patties, pop bottles are triple the size of the original glass ones, and restaurant entrees often provide enough food for two meals. We also eat large cuts of meat, such as an entire rib steak, not realizing it’s far too much. Plate sizes have also increased significantly, encouraging us to load them up with more food than ever. So when we’re being set up for failure, how do we win? With the strategies below!
Before you eat:
- Stay hydrated. We often think we’re hungry when we’re dehydrated. Be sure to sip water throughout the entire day to prevent dehydration and unnecessary cravings.
- Package up excess food right away so you aren’t as tempted to reach for seconds.
- Pay attention to your hunger cues. We often eat because we’re bored, or because we know a food tastes good and we’re craving it. The entire purpose of food is to nourish us and provide energy, so we need to recognize what true hunger feels like, versus cravings or emotional eating.
- Portion your snacks. This is important whether you’re eating something healthy (grapes),or something indulgent (chips). If you’re eating right out of the package, you’re going to eat more, so place one serving in a bowl and put the package away!
- When making your plate, take 3/4 or 1/2 of what you normally would. Portion sizes are often habitual, so we put the same amount of food on our plates as we always do. Unfortunately, that means if we overeat, we probably do it consistently, and that’s a recipe for weight gain.
- Choose more vegetables and fruits, which are lower in calories and add bulk and nutrition to your food. You’ll feel full and nourished, helping you eat less of the bad stuff. Your plate should be half filled with veggies!
At the table:
- Use a salad plate for meals. Visually, it will look like you have plenty of food, but it’ll be just the right amount! This can help you cut back on hundreds of excess calories per day.
- Wait 20 minutes before you get seconds, which is how long it takes for your brain to fully recognize that you’re full.
- Eat slowly; you’ll enjoy the food more and will almost always eat less.
- Don’t eat everything on your platejust because you feel you should. At a restaurant, ask for a takeout container right away. In someone’s home, let them know the food is delicious but you are watching your portions, or you had a late lunch.
- Be conscious! If you’re busy or distracted while eating, it’s easy for portions to slip out of control. Eat sitting down at a table whenever possible, rather than on the go or in front of the TV. Oh, and put your phone away!
Don’t feel as though you have to punish and restrict yourself here; I want you to eat plenty of food, you just need to learn how much is enough. Smaller portions can take some getting used to if you’re overeating, so ease into it and you’ll adapt gradually. Soon, you won’t believe how much you used to eat, and you’ll have great results!
Nutritionist & Health Coach Healthy Trucker