Even if you work out regularly and eat pretty well, weight loss can still be a huge struggle. What are you doing wrong? It’s more about what you don’t even know you should be doing. What’s the magic ingredient to losing weight, getting in shape and getting healthy?
Portion control. And it’s much easier than you think.
YOU WERE TRAINED TO EAT BIGGER PORTIONS
Think about it. Every restaurant you’ve ever been to has likely put more food in front of you than you’d care to eat in one sitting. But you eat it anyway. Why? Because it’s there. Because it looks good and smells amazing and, yes, it probably tastes better than anything you’ve ever tried to make yourself.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying your food. But even at home, it can be hard to figure out what the “right” amount of food is when you have an empty plate to fill. Portion control isn’t just about what’s on your plate, though. How many times have you grabbed the potato chip bag from the cabinet, carried it into the next room and proceeded to eat the entire thing? We’ve all done it. It’s a habit. Thankfully, it’s a habit you can break, if you want to.
WEIGHT LOSS: (FEWER) CALORIES IN
There are three components to effective weight loss: exercising regularly, eating good food, and eating less food. Sometimes we can even go a little overboard on healthy food, which honestly isn’t much better than filling up on junk. Pretty much the only way to lose weight is to follow a simple rule: calories out should exceed calories in.
It’s not enough to just work out more and keep eating the same amount and types of food. Even worse, don’t eat more food just because you’re exercising and burning more calories than usual. First, exercise. You have to burn off the energy you’re taking in, because what you don’t use throughout the day gets stored away, often as fat. Second, eat more healthy foods and fewer unhealthy foods. Third, eat less overall. Experts say reducing your usual calorie intake by 500 works, but if math isn’t your thing, portion control is your key to weight loss success.
HOW TO CONTROL YOUR PORTIONS
Portion control is all about paying more attention not just to what you eat, but how you eat. Changing the setting, atmosphere and parameters of your meals can change your eating habits significantly. Try these quick tips for better portion control.
Eat from a smaller plate.
Serve yourself less food than you think you will eat. You can always go back for more.
Clean your plate and wait. Don’t grab seconds until you’re sure you’re still hungry.
Keep your phone in your pocket. Distracted eating usually leads to unintentional overeating.
Don’t snack out of boredom.
If you do snack, pick something you have to shell or peel. This forces you to eat slower.
Never eat straight from a package, bag or box. If you need to indulge in some potato chips, grab a handful and use a bowl. Put the bag out of sight.
Eat less food. It’s something you don’t always think about, when everyone’s telling you to eat “better” or “healthier.” Part of healthy eating is trying not to eat quite as much as usual. It’s something your body gets used to, because once your weight shifts, your calorie needs change to compensate. Just stick with it. Keep up your fitness training, find foods you like and keep an eye on how much you’re eating. You got this.