In order to achieve a healthy weight loss, you need to burn more calories. That means one thing – watching over your calorie intake. And what is a better and more effective method to do that than proper portion control? In today's article, we will share 10 of the best tips that will help you gain a better portion control and finally take the necessary steps towards a healthy weight loss journey.
Why is portion control important?
A simple question as – Why portion control is important, only deserves a simple answer – Because we are all human. It has, it does, and it will always happen even to the best of us to simply lose control while we are eating and more or less end up eating more than our body actually requires. You might think that you do not need to have control over your portions, and that should be left to someone who is on a diet, struggling to lose some extra weight, but you would be wrong. Portion control plays a big part in the weight loss process and that we cannot deny, however, that does not make it any less important for the rest of us.
Without controlling your portions, you risk ending up eating more calories than your body is capable of burning for the day, according to your daily physical activity. Over time, this would likely lead to weight gain, resulting in overweight and, ultimately – obesity. Now we would like to believe that all of you out there are aware of the many health risks that obesity is known to bring into your life. Unfortunately, that is not always the case, thus resulting in the high obesity rate worldwide. Portion control, although a small step to take, can help you prevent obesity from happening but also help you get rid of that extra couple of pounds in a healthy and controlled way.
The ten best tips for effective portion control
In the following, we will share ten best ways that you can easily incorporate in your life and help you gain better control over your eating habits, specifically over your portion servings. You will find out how easy weight loss can actually be when something as simple as portion control has been applied.
Science suggests that the size of your plates, and even of your spoons and glasses, has a certain influence on how much you actually eat. If you are using larger plates, they can cause the food to appear a lot smaller, thus leading to you filling up the plate with more and more food, resulting in overeating. And with time, overeating will surely lead to overweight and obesity (1).
Swap your usual plates, bowels, and spoons for a smaller version. Glasses you can leave out from this process since we encourage you to fill on the water before and during your meals – a tip that we will discuss in a little while. Choose smaller alternatives for your plates and bowls as a way to allow yourself to gain better control of how much you are actually eating.
This might be the most popular tip used to provide an appropriate portion size. All that it requires are your hands. And since your hands correspond to your body size, they can perfectly measure the appropriate amount of food that your body requires on a daily basis (2).
Women require the one-palm sized serving of high-protein foods such as chicken, fish, beans, etc. whereas men require two-palm sized servings. For veggies and fruits, for women, one-fist sized serving is recommended. For men, a two-fist sized serving is suggested. As for foods that are high in carbs, only one-cupped hand for women, and two-cupped hand portions for men are enough. Oils, butter, nuts, and anything that is high in fats should be served in one thumb-sized portion for women, and two thumb-sized portions for men (3).
Veggies are recommended to be a part of each of your meals, although we mostly include them in our lunches and dinners. And that is alright, but you have to do that properly.
To prevent leaving out your veggies, a good tip is to serve your veggies first. Make sure that you fill at least half of your plate or bowl with veggies and use the part that has left for your main course. This way, you will have to eat your veggies as well, without making an excuse that you are already full from eating the main course first.
Talking about filling half of your plate with veggies, this leads to the next tip. It is always a good idea to use your plate as a portion guide, as well.
So we already mentioned that you need to fill half of the plate with veggies, but what about the rest of the plate? A quarter of the plate is to be filled with high-protein foods that we mentioned earlier. Another quarter of the plate is supposed to be filled with complex carbs, whereas high-fat foods are only allowed to be represented by half a tablespoon. However, this is a rough guide of what your plate is supposed to look like. This is simply because not all people are the same. Depending on their age, sex, physical activity, etc. every human being has different dietary needs (4).
Sipping on the water all day long is a highly recommended health tip. Drinking water will not only help hydrate your body, improve your skin, hair, and nails, and shield you from the harmful effects of dehydration, but it will help you with your weight loss process as well.
You should always carry a water bottle with you wherever you go. This will allow you to keep sipping on water all throughout the day. But one very important tip is to drink a full glass of water around 30 minutes before your meal. This will help you reduce your hunger, and with that, reduce the number of calories that you are about to intake during your meal (5).
It has happened to all of us – eating, and suddenly noticing that we have wiped our plate clean, but the feelings of hunger seem not to leave our side. What are we supposed to do? Should we reach out for a second serving of food, or is that against the rules of weight loss?
Not to worry – we have your back! If you are done and still feel a bit hungry, imply the 20-minutes rule. The 20-minutes rule is fairly simple. All that you have to do is wait around 20 minutes before you reach for a second serving of food. During this time, you can allow your food to digest, and your brain to get the information on whether or not your body requires more food. Yes, it takes a bit for your brain to acknowledge whether or not you are still hungry. During those 20 minutes, you can sip on your water and feel what your body has been telling you. If you are still hungry after 20 minutes, we recommend filling on a bit more veggies to finish your meal strong (6).
While we are on the topic of debating whether or not you need a second serving of food, we can discuss another excellent method that will help you prevent overeating. Surely you have heard the exerts telling us how important it is to chew our food slowly. Do you know why that is?
Chewing your food slowly equals longer eating time. This results in enough time for your brain to get informed whether or not you are actually full before you finish your meal. By chewing slowly, you can prevent overeating from happening. It will also allow you to burn more calories since chewing involves many facial muscles. In addition, you can practice mindful eating, which is always a good idea, and it can actually help you taste your food better and enjoy the act of eating for a change rather than doing it for the sole purpose of survival. You would be surprised to find out that experts advise us to chew each bite at least five to six times before swallowing (7, 8).
When you are watching over your diet, eating out can be a bit tricky. Sometimes, it is hard to say no to eating at a restaurant or grabbing a bite with your friends at your lunch break and to be honest, and you do not always have to say no. You just have to be smart about the decisions that you are making.
One of the best ways to avoid temptation, especially when it comes to food, is by not creating one in the first place. It is hard to say no to food that is not on your plate to begin with. While eating out, look for the smaller portions of food. You can also share a portion of food with your friend, or you can simply ask the waiter to pack half of the portion before he/she brings it to you. That way, you will have a delicious lunch or dinner to take home with you. Do not forget to look for the healthiest options possible while eating out. It is not about allowing yourself a cheat day – it is about maintaining a healthy diet for a healthy body and mind (9, 10).
How often do you remember to eat homemade soup? Soups are a great addition to our meals, but we rarely lean on them for their support in the battle against an unhealthy diet and obesity.
For better portion control, we would highly recommend including a warm soup at the start of your meal. Eating soup before lunch and dinner can help you reduce your hunger and reduce the calorie intake throughout the meal course that follows. Soup, like water, helps hydrate your body and can provide multiple nutrients depending on what you decide to cook your homemade soup (11, 12).
One of the unhealthiest eating habits that many of us have is eating their food right from a bag or a box, usually in front of the TV, while binge-watching our favorite TV show. Yes, we can be lazy and forget about proper serving when it is so easy to eat the food right from the bag, without understanding how much damage we are doing to our diet.
Next time that you get some food that came either in a bag or in a box make sure to serve it on a proper plate or in a bowl first. This will help you to apply all of the previously mentioned tips and decide whether or not it would be right to eat the whole bag or box of food (13, 14).
Today we got to discuss a rather important, and yet often forgotten about, aspect of our diet – portion control. With the tips that we got to share, we believe that anyone is capable of putting the time and energy to gain a better portion control, and with that, prevent overeating and obesity, as they are becoming the better version of themselves.