Portion Control: Don’t Supersize Me

written by Holli McCormick

The first stop on our 10 ways to control your weight is: Portion Control!

When the researchers who started the NWCR, they found that portion control was the #1 way people lost weight but more importantly – kept it off.  Portions have been increasing over the last 20 years – as indicative of many fast food restaurants who want you to “Super Size” your order – giving them more money and you more calories.  Here is a fun link to test your knowledge on portion size.

In order to help you figure out what portions you do need and of what, there is a new “food pyramid” in town found at ChooseMyPlate.gov.  Here is a link to a great article to give you more tips on how to establish your portion sizes as well as maintain them.  “Decrease Portion Sizes

If you want my take, here are the things I have learned over the years to keep this easy:

1) Ask yourself, “Am I hungry right now?”  A lot of times we start moving towards food as an automatic action based on our emotions or just the time of day.  Deciding whether or not you actually need food is a good first step.

2) Start with the vegetables. Instead of leaving salads and vegetables to the end, start off with them…and as many as you want.  If you start filling up on veggies, you are less likely to eat as many calories from the other foods we tend to over eat …so go ahead and get your veggies on!  (NOTE: This does NOT work for fruit since there is sugar – and sometimes lots – in fruit.  Sugar is sugar.)

3) Take LESS than what you think you need & play the waiting game. Once you get to the other parts of your meal, start off with just a little less than what you would normally take.  If you normally eat a full sandwich, cut it in half and bag it for tomorrow.  At a restaurant, ask the waiter to put half of your meal in a to-go box even before it comes out.  Once you have eaten your smaller portion, set a time to wait before you go back for more.  Often times, it takes a few minutes up to a half hour before our tummies register that they have had enough.  I find that if I continue to ASK myself – and yes even out loud – if I really need more, I will be able to answer no.

4) Cut the carbs in half!  Eat only half of the hamburger bun, half of the sandwich, half of the amount of rice and bean you are given….you get the idea.  The body LOVES carbs as its primary energy source.  However, when we have consumed enough calories for the body to run, the rest get stored…as fat.  The other interesting note on carbs, the more you eat the better it gets at storing them…again as fat.  Our bodies are better able to break down protein and fat than they are the excess amounts of carbs and sugars we generally eat.

If you have more questions about portion control or how to help modify your eating behaviors – feel free to contact us here at Elementus.