Portion Control: The Secret to Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Increasing portion sizes over the last several decades is one of the greatest factors contributing factors to the dramatic rise in obesity and obesity-related health problems. However, you don’t need crash diets or fasting to lose weight. Those methods often don’t work. Furthermore, you can end up hurting your health by depriving your body of the vital nutrients that it needs. Instead, you can maintain a healthy weight by practicing portion control when eating.
Find the Correct Serving Sizes
One thing that makes portion control so tough is that many people tend to overestimate the correct serving sizes when cooking and eating. For example, most servings are based on consuming either 2,000 or 2,500 calories per day. When you overestimate the size of a serving, you end up consuming a lot more calories. Therefore, when you eat meals, portion control depends heavily on knowing the correct servings for each food group that you are eating. You can do that by looking up serving sizes for respective meals online. Furthermore, there are dieting apps that can also let you know the right portion sizes for meals. Most prepackaged meals will tell you the amount in each serving as well on their dietary label.
Use Smaller Plates
Another factor that can influence portion control is the size of your dinnerware. For example, when you use a bigger plate, you are often tempted to eat more – since a bigger plate can hold more food! Therefore, you can remove the temptation of overeating by using smaller dinnerware at mealtime. However, you will still need the self-control to keep yourself from going back for more food if you are trying to lose weight.
Let Your Plate Be Your Portion Guide
Speaking of dinnerware, your plate can actually serve as a portion guide for your food servings. Here is one idea of how you could use your plate to get the correct serving amounts for each recommended food group:
- 50% of your plate should hold fruits and vegetables.
- 25% of your plate should contain carbohydrates.
- 25% of your plate should have protein.
You can find many other examples of how to use your plate as a portion control guide online.
Order Half Portions When Dining Out
If you want to maintain a healthy weight, you also need to practice portion control when eating out at restaurants. However, most people have trouble leaving food on their plates after paying for a meal. Luckily, many restaurants give diners the option of ordering a half meal. For example, you might be able to order half a sandwich or a half serving of a meat entree. Not only will you save money, but you will save calories too!
Drink Water Before Your Meals
Drinking a glass of water before eating is another good portion control hack. Since water makes your stomach feel full, you won’t feel like eating as much food. Plus, drinking water is healthier than sugary drinks like soda that are often high in calories.
Keep a Food Journal
Lastly, portion control is about keeping track of how many calories that you have already consumed during the day to help you keep from overeating. One of the best ways to track your calories is with a food journal. You can record your food and calorie entries the old fashion way by writing them down in a paper journal. However, you can also download a calorie counter app that will digitally keep track of your calories. It just depends on your preference.
In short, the secret to maintaining a healthy weight is to stop yourself from overeating and consuming too many calories. However, instead of trying to deprive yourself of all the food that you love, just limit how much you eat by using portion control. That often means learning to eat smaller servings, as well as saying “no thanks” when someone offers you extra food. It just takes good self-control.
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