When it comes to losing weight or even maintaining a healthy weight portion control is one of the biggest factors.
In our society we have become accustomed to the idea that bigger is better. Over the past 20 years, American portion sizes have increased dramatically and our portion sizes are generally much larger than other countries around the world.
When it comes to keeping our bodies healthy we need to remember that quality is more important than quantity. When you watch what you eat you will probably notice that you are eating way more than you actually need to and probably not the right foods to give you the energy and fuel you need!
Two years ago when my family decided we really wanted to learn more about our eating habits and improve them I realized that our portion sizes were way out of control. We were passively eating way more than we needed and it was affecting our health and daily performance.
Here are some tips for getting back to an recommended portion size:
1. Use salad plates instead dinner plates. We naturally feel the need to fill our plate. So this actually makes a huge difference! You can still fill your salad plate, and satisfy the need for a full plate! But now you will probably have just the right amount! In order to make sure you have the right amounts, don't be afraid to measure out your portion sizes at first to help you get the feel for how much grains, protein, fruits and veggies you really need.
2. Drink a glass of water right before your meal. Most people don't realize how essential water is for your health. It's hard to get enough water anyway so this is great habit to get into! This will help you feel full faster and recognize that full feeling.
3. No seconds! Just make this a rule. Take enough to eat the first time around! It's that simple! When I was really needing help, I would serve us up and then put the food away so that it was too hard to get seconds. Eventually it just became a habit and I didn't need or even want more food once I cleaned my plate.
4. Get educated! Knowing what foods are essential and in what amounts helps you make good choices. Sometimes knowing why you need them will help you be motivated to fuel your body properly! You can't really practice portion control if you don't know what an optimal portion size is! Apps like MyFitnessPal are great for letting you know where you are on your daily goals and give you a good idea about what you are eating! A good rule of thumb is to fill half your plate with fruits and veggies!
5. Eat slowly and stop when you are full! Sometimes our body doesn't recognize we are full right away. But if we eat slowly it gives our brain time to receive that message. Plus, eating slowly is better for you too! The stopping part is actually the hard part... when I am enjoying a delicious meal I have a very hard time stopping, even if I am full! I love food. If it's in front of me, I will probably eat it. That's why I make an effort to use salad plates and get the right portion size the first time with a glass of water! It helps me successfully stop when I need to!
Good luck on your journey to a healthier you!