What you’ll learn in this blog…
Keeping an eye on portion sizes is one of the most effective – and sustainable – ways to lose weight and keep it off.
You’ll know it’s too easy to cook too much food or overload your plate and the buffet. And eating larger portion sizes is one of the easiest ways to stunt your weight loss journey.
Controlling your portions doesn’t mean you need to eat tiny amounts or measure out precisely the number of peas on your plate. But if we’re overeating, we may need to retrain our brains to see a smaller-than-normal portion as satisfying enough.
This blog explores tips on controlling your portion sizes to reach your weight loss goals.
Is portion control effective for weight loss?
Portion control can be a great way to lose weight, especially if you don’t want to count calories.
To lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit, which means not overconsuming. Big portion size is one way to accidentally break your diet by eating way more calories than you should.
Research has shown that people who consistently consume more food are offered larger portions. So eating smaller portions can become a crucial part of your weight loss plan.
It’s good to develop the skill of “eyeballing” portion sizes because it’s not always practical to weigh, track, and calorie counts your food.
This doesn’t mean that you have to start yourself (not at all). But maintaining your weight loss and portion control is the most sustainable approach.
The best methods for portion control…
If portion control is something you struggle with, then you might need to put in place some coping mechanisms to help you limit your food intake in one sitting.
Here are some of our top tips…
1. Eat from a smaller plate…
It might sound a little woo-woo, but Psychology says that eating off a small plate tricks our brain into thinking the portion is bigger. Science!
It will help you feel emotionally more satisfied from eating and physically stop you from overloading the plate.
A straightforward way to keep your portion sizes smaller.
2. Stay away from seconds…
You know how it is; you make tonnes of extra food just in case everyone is hungry, then serve yourself a reasonable amount.
But you don’t want any of it to go to waste, so you load a little more on your plate after your first serving. It’s easy, but you can double your portion without thinking.
If you’ve made too much food, pack it away and save it for lunch or dinner the next day. It reduces food waste, and stops you from having an extra portion.
3. Don’t pick at your leftovers…
You're full! But the food is sitting on your plate, and you keep picking away. It happens to the best of us, but a couple of ways to avoid it is to:
- Only make/serve the amount of food you need
- Clear your plate away as soon as you’ve finished
Resist the temptation to eat more, and stop eating when you are feeling comfortably full (not when you are bursting).
4. Measure your food…
No! You don’t need to crack out the scales, but figure out ways to measure the correct portions for you and your family.
This will help avoid a couple of the above problems - you’ll not have food for leftovers or extra food to pick once you are full.
How to control your portions at different social occasions…
Have you heard of social facilitation?
Social facilitation is when people eat more with friends and family than when dining alone.
It’s one of the factors at play during social situations that can make it a little more tricky to keep on top of portion control at social gatherings.
Here are some ways to tackle some of the most common social situations and keep your portions under control.
Remember: overeating very occasionally is not the end of the world. So don’t get too stressed about it; just ensure it’s not a regular occurrence.
How to control your portions at family parties…
Family events can be complex!
If food is a key part of your family culture, attempting portion control might not go down well. Plus, if other people are eating, it’s easy to have bigger portions or help yourself to seconds.
You have a few options (and only you will know what to do).
Perhaps you could tell the host in confidence, adopt a wing woman, say no to dessert, or accept that this is one time when portion control has to fall by the wayside.
How to control your portion when someone else is cooking…
Remember, people who are offered bigger portions generally eat more…so this means that someone cooking for you can create a perfect storm. We all know those people who eat HUGE portions, which might not work for your weight loss journey.
It’s lovely when someone finally cooks for you, but it can make portion control a challenge.
If it’s a friend or a partner, why not explain to them that you are trying not to overeat?
They can serve you a little less, or you can gain a partner on your weight loss journey to help keep you accountable.
If more diplomacy is needed, remember there’s no rule to say you have to clear your plate. Of course, it’s better not to waste food, so we recommend speaking to them first if you can.
How to control portions at a buffet…
Who doesn’t love a buffet?
We’re right there with you! But they can be a minefield of calories and extra helpings.
Use the one-plate approach with buffets. Assess everything on offer, and only take what you know you’ll enjoy. Move away from the food to eat, put your plate away and get on with something else.
How to control portions when you are with a partner…
Did you know on average, couples put on a stone in the first year of a new relationship?
Because behavior is contagious, eating more with a partner is too easy.
Unless you’re the same height and weight, with the same amount of muscle and just as active as them, you’re probably overeating.
Serve the right amount for each person, which will control your portion.
Portion control when you’re home alone
This one’s easy peasy! The only thing that could stand in your way is willpower, especially if you’ve made enough for leftovers.
Put any extra straight into a container so you can’t be tempted back for second helpings.
Ready to take control of your portions
Don’t worry! Overeating every so often is not the end of the world - so don’t worry if you have an extra helping at a part of when eating out.
But, if you consistently have larger portions, you may find it difficult to lose weight or even see your weight creeping up.
These tips will help you control your portions, whether every day or during special occasions (when it’s easy to go off track).
If you want to help manage your weight and reduce your cravings, then you can do this using PhenQ; find out more here.
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