If you have decided to lose weight, then you need to rethink your eating habits, and especially your usual portion sizes. Cutting your portions will help you get effective, sustainable results that you will be proud of. But how exactly are you supposed to cut your usual portions without starving yourself? Maybe our nine tips will help you!
Why Cutting Your Portions is Important for Weight Loss?
Over the years, there have been many different opinions regarding weight loss. A lot of different approaches and weight loss plans have been developed, but one thing has remained and will always remain the same – if we want to lose weight, then we have to eat less. It is that combination of a calorie deficit and regular physical activity that allows us to lose the excess body pounds (1).
But it is the same “eating less” approach that has been most difficult for many people. Changing our eating habits with a focus on lowering the amount of food that we usually eat daily can be quite a challenge. However, what most people fail to understand is that eating less does not have to mean to starve yourself to lose weight. Any diet plan that instructs you to do so should be avoided at all times.
At times like these, we need to create the opportunity for our bodies to burn more calories than we intake. And according to a paper published in 2015, cutting the portions would address the issue in a simple, yet effective way (2). That is how portion control has become an important part of any weight loss journey.
With the proper portion control techniques, we will be able to cut our portions accordingly, while still being able to intake the much-needed nutrients that allow our body to function properly. With portion control, we get the best of both worlds – a proper calorie deficit and an opportunity to intake all of the nutrients without having to starve ourselves.
9 Ways to Efficiently Cut Your Portions and Still Not Feel Hungry
Luckily, there have been many different strategies developed that have been found helpful in the fight against weight gain, making it possible to cut our portions without feeling hungry all day long. In the following, we will share our favorite and most effective portion cutting strategies that we highly recommend to all of our readers out there.
1. Start your meal with a salad or soup
You might wonder how you are supposed to be losing weight if you are adding to your usual courses for lunch and/or dinner. But as usual, when it comes to losing weight, as much as it matters how much you are eating, it also matters what exactly you are eating. And so, we highly recommend adding a soup or a salad at the beginning of your lunch and/or dinner.
Not to worry – it just so happens for researchers to back up this strategy by offering real scientific results from studies that they have done over the years. For example, a 2007 study showed that when the participants have been given soup before the main meal, they were able to cut 20% of their entire meal (3). Promising results have delivered a study published in 2004, which showed that eating a salad before the main meal can also help reduce their overall calorie intake from the following meal (4).
A small and light salad and/or soup will do the trick since both of them contain a lot of water that will help to satisfy your hunger and keep you full. But both salad and soup are filled with a lot of nutrients, especially fiber when it comes to salads, and are both low in calories. It seems that the secret is exactly in this low-calorie, high-fiber, and high-water combo that works wonders for our weight loss process (5). Just make sure that you stay away from any high-calorie salad dressings and, instead, make your own using simple ingredients such as olive oil and lemon juice to give that salad a great taste.
2. Eat a small breakfast
One of the biggest mistakes that many of us do is skipping a meal, with that being breakfast in most cases. Starving yourself and skipping meals will not get you faster weight loss results, nor will those results be sustainable. Weight loss is about establishing good, clean eating habits – ones that will stick with your forever, allowing you to maintain a healthy weight throughout the years.
But we would recommend eating a small rather than a big breakfast within the first two hours after you wake up. You would think that eating a bigger breakfast will keep you fuller for a long time, but that is just not the truth. According to researchers, eating a small breakfast is much helpful as compared to a large breakfast, making it possible to eat fewer calories throughout the day (6, 7).
Our suggestion is to always start your morning with a small, nutrient-rich breakfast. A protein and fiber-rich breakfast is the best option. Greek yogurt with some berries, whole-grain toast with banana and peanut butter, and some overnight oats are great examples of how a healthy and filling breakfast should look like (8).
3. Fill half of your plate with veggies
Vegetables are the perfect weight loss food that you should always remember to eat enough of. They are filled with nutrients, water, and, most importantly – are low in calories, thus being great weight-loss food. Veggies are quite filling as you can eat a lot of veggies and not even notice that you have not touched the rest of your meal while still feeling full.
In a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers have discovered that eating a high amount of veggies has resulted in eating a lower amount of calories (9). This is exactly why we would highly recommend starting filling up half of your plate with delicious veggies of your choice. Adding arugula, broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, and asparagus is a great way to start.
4. Add protein to every meal and possible even snack
There have been plenty of studies that have confirmed protein as being one of the most weight-loss-friendly foods on Earth. The fact that they are more filling as compared to fats and carbs makes protein a vital nutrient that you need to include in every meal, and preferably even a snack, whenever possible (10).
Eating lots of protein will allow you to fill full in both the short and long term (11). We already discussed the importance of eating a high-protein breakfast to jump-start your day. But it is also important to add as much protein as possible to the rest of your meals as well. Rely on lean protein sources such as eggs, skinless poultry, seafood, fish, and dairy products, and if you want to focus on plant-based protein sources, then do include tofu, beans, nut butter, and kimchi instead.
5. Sip on the water during your meal
If you want to lose weight, then it is time to say goodbye to the sugary juices and sodas that do not keep you full, are filled with artificial sweeteners and empty calories, and only add to your extra body weight (12). Instead, focus on drinking as much as water as possible throughout the day, aiming for at least 7 to 8 glasses a day.
But when you drink your water matters as well. One great weight loss technique is to drink two glasses of water before the main meal and keep on sipping on water during the meal as well. As research has suggested, individuals that drank 500 ml of water before breakfast have managed to eat approximately 13% less as compared to those who did not drink any water before their breakfast (13). Water, unsweetened tea, and black coffee are all great options that will efficiently soothe your thirst and help you to eat less.
6. Use smaller plates
One of the best tips that we can give you in terms of portion control is to change your usual plates and bowls that you serve your meals in. It might sound strange and unbelievable, but using smaller plates and bowls can help lower the amount of food that you eat.
A lot of us tend to serve ourselves way more food than we could eat. Even when we do notice that we are getting full, we tend to continue eating until there is no food left on our plate. Know that this has been actually scientifically proven and supported, as much as you find it hard to believe (14). Exchange your usual plates for smaller ones and do the same to your utensils if possible as well, and you will see as your body is changing in no time for sure.
7. Eat small yet filling snacks between your meals
Snacking is an inevitable part of your diet. But it does not necessarily need to be a bad thing. Snacking on healthy, filling foods can serve as quite the effective weight loss technique that you better take advantage of.
Make sure to include one to two snacks in between your meals according to your individual preferences. There are some great 100 calorie snacks that you can snack on, allowing yourself to eat less when it is time for lunch or dinner. Three cups of air-popped popcorn, a cup of mixed berries, one medium banana, one hard-boiled egg, an apple, and half a cucumber with some cottage cheese are all great and tasty options (15).
8. Use measuring caps
A great thing that you could invest in is some measuring cups. Often, we are not aware of the exact amount of food that we are eating. Eat too much of sugary cereal or your favorite trail mix, and there you have it – you just ate a lot of extra calories without thinking twice about it.
That is how measuring cups are supposed to help you. Using them, you can determine the approximate amount of food that you are eating, snacks included, which can come in handy, especially if you are using a tracking app or a food journal to track your daily calorie intake (16).
9. Add carbs on the top instead of the base of your meal
Carbs are in no way meant to represent the base of your meal. If you remember earlier, we mentioned that it is a great hack to fill your plate with veggies first. Another quarter is reserved for some lean protein, which is a must, and only a small amount is to be divided between carbs and fats.
The same applies to your usual breakfast parfait, for example. First, add your Greek yogurt, berries, and seeds, only to then add some tasty granola to get that crunchy feeling. Making a stir-fry? No problem – first add the veggies, then the protein, and then and only then, will you add some brown rice for extra taste and the needed carbs.
Weight loss does not have to be hard and nor does portion control either. Keeping a close watch to your usual serving sizes and help you identify where all those extra calories are coming from, harming your weight loss results. Today, we shared nine effective ways that are meant to help you reduce your daily calorie intake without leading to any discomfort or abdominal cramps due to hunger.