Almost everyone on a health and fitness routine has heard the platitude: calories in vs. calories out. It might be a cliché, but it’s also very true. The best way to control your weight is to control your calories. The best way, in turn, to control your calories besides making healthy food choices, is to control your portion sizes. How much you eat has every bit as much an effect on you as what you eat.
You may have noticed that our society is built on “go big or go home.” Restaurants offer gigantic portions, and most of us were raised on the “clean your plate” philosophy. Unfortunately, that results in the obesity epidemic we now face. Here are some great and easy ways to practice portion control so you eat less, and improve your chances at not just maintaining your weight, but your health.
Portion control is a major key to keeping yourself healthy and sticking to your diet. While it may seem like controlling portion sizes is a tricky thing when everyone is heaping food on giant plates, it’s actually just a factor of using your eyes and wits, and if done properly, it can even sometimes be a fun and social thing!
Too many websites tell you to use body parts like your hand to measure sizes. This is a bad idea. Consider the difference in hand size between a 4’10” dancer and a 6’5” body builder and you’ll see the problem. Instead, consider that a deck of cards is roughly to a 3-ounce portion of meat, a tennis ball is about a cup of pasta, and a golf ball is roughly 2 tablespoons.
Use Smaller Plates and Silverware
We tend to estimate our portions by the amount of space they take up on a plate. If you use smaller plates, you’ll naturally fill them up faster with smaller portion sizes. Likewise, if you use smaller silverware, you’ll take smaller bites, and you’ll be surprised at how your brain convinces you that you’re full after the same number of smaller bites.
When you buy a box of cereal or the like, pre-portion it into individual serving bags or containers using zipper bags or other containers. That way you’ll know exactly what you’re eating, and you won’t be tempted to add just that little bit extra.
Your body actually needs time to catch up with you, and if you shovel food in until you feel fool, you might find that 30 minutes later you feel bloated and overfull. Yes, we live in a fast-paced society, but eating is one time you should take it slow. You’ll fill up faster and eat less.
Share Your Food!
When you’re out at a restaurant with friends and family, share your food! Ask for extra plates and scoop some off for others to try. Even better; order one meal for two people and just split it. You’ll be just as satisfied in the end.
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