How many times have you heard that the key to weight loss is portion control? Yes, it really is; portion control for weight loss is one of the best ideas that exist.
The problem is that many of us do not know the difference between a portion and a serving. To start with controlling your portion for weight loss, you need to know what really is portion and serving.
Let us start with an overview of portion control for weight loss.
Overview of Portion Control for Weight Loss:
Studies show that we will eat what’s put in front of us. And so much has “been put in front of us” that we perceive over-sized meals as normal.
Many of us have lost the ability to “eyeball” a true serving size. This is why portion control is so important in your weight loss and maintenance phase.
Calories do count so when making your meal choices and practicing portion control – Choose lower calorie foods more often than higher calorie foods.
My dad used to always say “I live to eat”. If this describes you, learn to “Eat to Live”. Learn proper portion control. Obtain and maintain your ideal weight. You’ll live a longer healthier life and will truly be able to enjoy life!
What’s the Difference between a Portion and a Serving?
Portion: A portion is how much food you eat at a meal or a snack.
Serving: A serving is a standard amount set by the U.S. Government or the amount of food listed on a product nutritional label.
So portion control actually means how many servings you eat at a meal or snack. A portion can be one serving or four. It all depends on how much you decide to eat – this is where the idea of eating schedule comes into existence.
A serving on a food product may or may not correspond with the standard amount. Servings on product labels are not recommendations of how much you should eat. It is simply a way of letting you know the nutritional values in a certain amount of food.
Packaged foods and restaurant foods are usually two to three times a normal serving size.
If you look on a box of macaroni and cheese, the label lists a serving as 1 cup. However according to the USDA a serving of macaroni is 1/2 cup.
The USDA recommends 6-11 servings bread, cereal, rice and pasta. So if you eat one cup of macaroni and cheese and count it as one serving, you are doubling your food intake. It’s worse if you eat the whole box of macaroni and cheese.
Learn to “eyeball” standard portion sizes. Once you’ve mastered this simple technique, portion control for losing weight will be easy at home and when dining out.
Tip: Many overweight people eat too fast. Often times it’s like we are trying to be the first one to finish eating. When I was a little girl, I tried to eat as fast as my mom. It’s really silly when I think back on it. Why not try the opposite? try to be the last one to finish eating. By eating slower, you’ll enjoy your food more and get full on less – which makes portion control easier. You should know how to eat to lose weight.
Portion Control for Weight Loss through Serving Sizes:
An easy way to recognize a serving of food is to compare them to common objects.
Another way to determine serving size is by using your hands.
- A salad should be about the size of two fists.
- A medium baked potato about the size of a fist.
- ½ cup of potatoes, pasta or rice is the size of a clenched fist.
- 1 cup cereal flakes is the size of a fist.
- 3 ounces lean meat, fish or poultry should be the size of the palm of your hand.
- 1 ounce of cheese is about the size of your thumb.
- 1 teaspoon of oil is about the size of the tip of your thumb.
I don’t like using the hand method for portions simply because our hands are all different sizes. Think of an average woman’s hand when using this method. My husband’s hand is literally twice the size of mine – so if he used his hand, he’d be eating double the amount that he should be.
As you continue to practice proper portion control for weight loss with the correct serving sizes, it will all become second nature to you.