Right-Sizing Your Meals
Portion control is a key factor in successful weight loss efforts. Learning how much is just enough without overdoing it may take some practice, but is well worth any effort.
It is not about deprivation, restriction or elimination. It is about listening to your body and knowing when it’s satisfied with the amount of food you’ve eaten. We tend to eat more than we need if it is already on our plate, whereas we can always go back for more if still hungry. Thus it is better to start your meal with too little versus too much on your plate.
8 effective tips for improving portion control.
1: Focus on eating whole foods (avoiding pre-packaged food-like substances as much as possible) including protein, healthy fats and vegetables, until you are satiated – that feeling where you are about 80% full. Don’t deprive yourself since this always backfires, causing you to eat more food later in the day. Most processed foods have chemical additives that make it difficult for us to limit consumption.
2: If portion control is more of an issue when you go out to eat, have a healthy snack before you leave so the bread or chip basket is less tempting, better yet ask that the waiter not bring the rolls or chips to your table. Plan on taking part of your meal home for leftovers since most restaurants give you huge portions. You can ask for an extra plate or take home container right away and put 1/4 – 1/2 your meal aside to take home for an another meal.
3: Include healthy fats in your diet. Fats will help you feel satiated longer (and allow your body to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins your body needs). Ideas include avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, and ghee. Having a salad? You’ll feel full longer and absorb more nutrients if you add some fresh avocado or a dressing that includes healthy fat, like olive oil.
4: Using smaller plates can be helpful. When you put food on a large plate, you almost automatically want to try to fill it up and then feel like you need to finish it all. By using smaller plates (and bowls), you may find that you eat less but still feel comfortably full.
5: Don’t skip meals. This is one of the biggest mistakes people make. Start your day with a healthy balanced breakfast. Including some protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to help you feel full longer. Plan ahead for lunch. It’s also a good idea to bring a healthy snack with you to get you through the afternoon before dinner. Portion control is challenging when you’re starving!
6: When snacking, place the snack on a plate or bowl rather than eating right out of the bag or container. This allows you to be more aware of how much you are eating thus enabling you to better manage your portions.
7: If you’re out at dinner and you feel like having dessert, just plan ahead. Order a smaller dinner (or healthy appetizers) and skip the alcohol, to enjoy a little dessert. It’s all about moderation and choices. Don’t feel like you ‘can’t have it,’ just decide what you would enjoy more and make a choice and enjoy.
8: Slow down. By slowing down and enjoying our food more, we end up eating less and still feeling satisfied. It helps decrease bloating because now you’re chewing and digesting your food better. Eating slowly aids you in paying more attention to what you’re eating and how. Chew each bite more, set down your food or utensil between bites, relax and enjoy.
Experiment with these tips and discover what works best for you. Pick one, such as eating more slowly, and start today – add others in coming days. Over time you’ll learn to make better food choices, quickly and effortlessly.