Portion Control for Weight Loss – Why is it so Important?
When trying to lose weight, there are so many things to consider. It can be difficult to know where to start. Trying to implement every weight-losing tactic at once can be overwhelming and cause you to give up before you lose your first few pounds. It’s best to take it one step at a time. Portion control for weight loss is a great way to start. However, it’s not without its challenges.
According to an article by the National Institute of Health, the portions served in America’s restaurants have doubled or tripled over the last 20 years. So many eating establishments sell their fare by promoting the size of their meals. At burger joints, you can “supersize” with large fries and an extra-large drink. At restaurants, there’s soup or salad, bread, and appetizers, all before your main course. That’s a lot of food!
While you may or may not eat this way at home, the temptation to eat everything when you dine out is strong for many people. Research has shown that when presented with larger portions, people generally tend to eat more. Over time, these portions are considered normal, and this perception carries over to eating habits at home. Consistently being presented with and expecting larger portions is a significant factor in America’s obesity problem. So, yes, portion control for weight loss is important. However, how do you know what the proper portions are?
What is Portion Control?
Serving size and portions are often considered the same, but they are two different things. Serving size is the amount of a specific food. The portion is the total amount of food on your plate. So, how do you determine the appropriate serving size?
The easiest way to start is by reading the suggested serving size on food labels. These are often much smaller than you would think. Often, food and beverages are sold in what appears to be one serving but are actually two. On multiple serving size packages, the serving size on the label can be extremely enlightening.
You might be surprised that the cereal you eat every morning is two or three suggested servings. For most cereals, a suggested serving is a cup or less. Measure your favorite cereal out one morning and dump it into your bowl. It will certainly be less than what you normally eat.
For fresh foods that don’t have a label, there are numerous diet and calorie counting apps. These can tell you what the recommended serving size is for different foods. Many weight loss programs offer pre-portioned meals made up of the proper serving size for each of the food items it contains. Sticking to the appropriate serving size will help ensure portion control for weight loss. At first, you may not feel full with a portion-controlled meal, but in time, you will find that you are comfortably satisfied after finishing your meal.
Implementing Portion Control
Reading labels and weighing your food to get the recommended serving is great for implementing portion control for weight loss. However, there are often no labels or a scale handy when you sit down to a meal. Here are a few tips to help you incorporate portion control for weight loss into your busy lifestyle.
Put Food on Smaller Plates
As previously mentioned, portion size has increased over the years. To accommodate the larger portions, plates have also gotten larger. A nine-inch plate is appropriate for adults and a seven-inch plate for children. Using a smaller plate gives your brain the perception that you have more food because your plate is full.
Out of Sight – Out of Mind
When dining out, ask your server to bring you a bag or box when they serve your meal. Immediately divide your meal in half and put one half in the container to take home. This will remove the temptation to overeat.
Share a Meal
Not every food translates into leftovers well. Sharing a meal with one of your dining partners will not only help you control how much you eat, but will eliminate the opportunity to snack on the leftovers when you get home.
Portion Controlled Leftovers
When we cook at home, there are often leftovers. Storing those leftovers in pre-measured serving sizes will keep you from dishing out a larger than recommended serving size when eating them later.
Additional Benefits Of Portion Control for Weight Loss
While reducing your food intake and facilitating weight loss are the primary reasons for portion control, there are other benefits.
Overeating often results in bloating, cramping, or indigestion. Portion control will prevent your digestive system from becoming overloaded and allow it to work properly, thus avoiding any discomfort.
Balanced Blood Sugar
Overeating can knock your blood sugar out of balance. It’s not a big deal if it is a one-time or occasional occurrence. However, consistent overeating and weight gain will lead to insulin resistance and eventually diabetes. Smaller, balanced meals will keep your blood sugar at the proper levels.
Whether you’re sharing a meal when dining out or buying less at the grocery store, eating smaller meals will save you money. It will also reduce the amount of money spent on doctor visits and prescription medications needed to address the issues stemming from overeating or obesity.
Ready to Start Your Weight Loss Journey…
But need a little help? Portion control is just part of the battle. If you’ve been struggling with your weight and haven’t had any weight loss success on your own, it might be time to consult with your doctor. Self-supervised weight loss plans don’t work for everyone. Your doctor can determine if a medical weight loss plan is right for you.
Long-term success will depend on permanent changes in your day-to-day life. The hardest part, however, is the first step. Getting started on your weight loss journey must begin somewhere. At Vive Aesthetics and Wellness, that first step is your consultation. Dr. Pinto’s philosophy is to give you the jumpstart you need to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. After all, isn’t that what you want? Why wait? Schedule your consultation today.