Here in the United States, everything is super-sized. From the cars we drive to the food served at restaurants, Americans tend to go big or go home! It’s important to be aware that our reality is being skewed and that serving sizes have gotten way out of control.
If you want to lose a few pounds, a quick way to do so is to better manage your servings sizes. I would bet that you are stashing extra calories that you didn’t even realize. So, in this “super-sized world” that we live in, how do we control our portions and succeed in eating less and losing more? Here are a few pointers to help you control your portions. These few tips have helped me and I hope they help you too…
1. Purchase A Food Scale
Do you know what 4oz looks like? Scales are a great idea when you are learning what a typical serving size should be. While I would suggest using a food scale initially, you don’t have to use one for life. After a month or so, you’ll be able to estimate without the scale.
2. Use Your Hands
You can use visuals as measuring tools, once you conquer the scale. A good rule of thumb is that 4 oz (one serving) is the size of the palm of your hand or a deck of cards. A tablespoon is the size of a golf ball, and a half cup of grains is the size of a tennis ball.
3. Take Home Half
Most restaurants serve large portions. Hence the reason Cheesecake Factory is an American favorite! If you are ordering directly off of the menu, I suggest you immediately set aside half of the dish to take home for another meal. Another option is to modify the menu so you immediately shed 50% of the calories. By ordering a green salad and/or veggies with a lean protein, all steamed or grilled with no butter and dressings on the side, you can eat the full portion completely guilt-free.
On a related note, before you go out, pull up the menu online and make a plan. Know what you are going to order and how you are going to modify it before you arrive. Finally, eat a little something before you head out. This way, you won’t arrive to the restaurant ravenous and want to devour the basket of bread. Sounds funny to eat before you go out to eat, but it actually makes perfect sense. By the time you get there, get your table and order your food, two to three hours have passed and it’s mealtime once again!
4. Pack A Cooler
When heading out for work or errands, have all your meals prepared and packed in a cooler. This helps you to avoid eating out and to know that you are eating the proper portions. Make sure to always pack extras. There is nothing worse than being hungry and stuck in traffic without food.
5. Mini-size it
Make smaller, bite-sized portions and/or cut your food into tiny pieces to trick yourself into eating less. When I make my protein pancakes or muffins, I always make as many small ones as possible rather than making fewer larger ones. Being able to have a few small muffins is just more satisfying than having just one big muffin.
6. Use Smaller Utensils
Revert back to your baby days, and eat with a tiny spoon. I really love my baby spoon. I use it to eat my oatmeal, protein shakes and lots of other things. The more bites you get, the more food it feels like. Similarly, I love to use chopsticks. They force you to eat slower so it feels like you are eating more food than you actually are. Give these a try!
7. Make Your Seconds Green.
If you feel hungry after eating your meal, allow ten minutes to pass before you decide whether to have another portion. Often the sensation to eat again will disappear, as it takes time for you to digest your food and for your brain to acknowledge you are full. If you are still hungry after waiting a bit, go for the greens! Veggies will fill you up, but won’t set your weight loss efforts back.
8. Drink Water
Thirst can be disguised as hunger so make sure you are incorporating lots of water in your day. When working out, make sure to drink water before, during and after your sessions. Often we think we are hungry, but we are actually dehydrated!
9. Veggies Are Your Friend
Eat plenty of veggies. On my plans, veggies are unlimited! I eat tons of veggies. Veggies keep you full, satisfied and less likely to overfill your tummy with dangerous foods. And, the high fiber content revs up your metabolism, which allows you to burn calories!