Portion control has always been a big issue for me as I tend to eat with my eyes rather than my stomach. How easy is it to look at the combo plate that you get from your local Chinese restaurant and convince yourself that you can eat every last bit of that food? Or how often do you get carried away because you want to try everything at the buffet and while that chicken breast doesn’t look that big, you can’t believe that a serving size is less than half of that.
I love to eat. I love food. I’m a picky eater but I have always been a food lover. And with that, came a love of big portions, especially of my favorite foods – macaroni and cheese, pizza, General Tso’s chicken, wings. Name it and I ate it in mass quantities. This proved to be my downfall. All that eating and no exercising got me where I am today: overweight, sluggish and uncomfortable in my own skin.
Then I found Weight Watchers. WW is the epitome of portion control. You can eat whatever you want on the plan, just be sure to remain accountable and you will quickly see how those portions add up. Cheese pizza? 4 slices of thin crust from Papa Murphy’s? over 30 points. That’s as many points as some people get in a day. And how do you feel after eating those 4 slices? Stuffed. Uncomfortable. Lethargic. Was it worth it? Nope.
How do you keep portions under control?
The first thing is to understand how big your stomach actually is. Here’s a comparison:
Starbucks has 4 drink sizes:
– Tall (354 ml)
– Grande (473 ml)
– Venti (591 ml)
– Trenta (916 ml)
The human stomach has an average capacity of about 900 ml. (http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/01/17/graphic-how-big-exactly-is-starbucks-new-trenta-size/). That’s 16 ml less than Starbucks’ largest size of drink! One Trenta drink from Starbucks will fill your entire stomach and then cause it to begin to stretch! Do we really need a size Trenta???
With that being said, let’s look at individual foods and the recommended portion sizes. WebMD has a super handy guide that gives you an idea of these sizes.
– 1 small baked/sweet potato should be the size of a computer’s mouse;
– 1/2 cup of frozen yogurt/ice cream is the size of a lightbulb;
– 1 bagel is about the size of a can of tuna;
– 1/2 cup of cooked rice is the size of a lightbulb;
– 1 cookie is the size of 2 poker chips
– 3 ounces of grilled chicken is about the size of a deck of cards.
(http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthtool-portion-size-plate (this can be printed in a handy to-go wallet size)).
What do I do if portions get out of hand?
Eat slowly to give your brain a chance to realize your stomach is full.
Split your food with a friend.
Take half of it home in a doggy bag.
If portions get out of control and you end up binging, here’s what you do:
– Drink lots of water to flush your system and reduce bloating;
– Eat clean foods;
– Don’t get deterred from your final goal. One day of binging will not kill you!
– Remember how the binge made you feel! That will be the best way to keep you from binging again in the future.
Portions are an important component of weight loss and getting fit and it’s one of the things that we can easily control. Keep an eye on your portions and you will see progress!