Portion Control

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!

Get Fit Tools

Getting fit isn’t something that’s easy to do. Trust me, I’ve been trying for the last few years and only now have I gotten to a point where I feel like I will be successful. There were things missing from my life that last times I tried to get fit and once I recognized what they were, I was able to add them to my routine to aid my success.

1. Information

There’s a TON of information available when it comes to weight loss and getting fit. Books, websites, blogs, magazines. You name it. But you have to be sure that the information you’re getting is accurate. There’s information then there’s INFORMATION. I have a few different sources for my info.

I subscribe to Clean Eating magazine which is a great source of healthy recipes and information about maintaining a healthy diet. I also follow a lot of “fitblr” blogs on Tumblr. A Fitblr is a blog that focuses on getting fit the right way (through a healthy diet and exercise).

Another great blog is Blogilates. She’s the cutest thing! She posts great workouts and videos, recipes and she has a YouTube channel. LOVE her!

2. A good support system

Sometimes it’s difficult to find a good support system. We all have friends and loved ones but they may not understand why we’re on this journey. Or, they may already be fit and might feel like you’re a lost cause (that’s the worst). Even worse, they may support you but do it the wrong way (negative motivation).

One of my biggest support systems comes from My Fitness Pal. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a social network for people on Get Fit missions. You make friends, track your food and chat about your journey and any questions you may have in the forums. Best of all, it’s FREE.

3. Nike+ FuelBand (or any other accountability device)

My FuelBand is a constant visual reminder of what I need to do. It tracks my steps taken, calories burned, Nike Fuel earned and it’s a watch! There’s also a corresponding website that you can use to track your progress and set goals for yourself. It syncs with iPhones via Bluetooth so the app is always available for you.

What I really love is that when you hit your goals, the app cheers you on with these super cute animations and graphics. Look!

Cheers from Nike+ FuelBand!

Check out the video about the FuelBand here. At $150, a FuelBand can be a little pricey. If that’s outside your budget, there are a ton of other similar devices on the market.

4. A plan

One of the key factors in getting fit is to have a plan. You have to have goals (realistic ones) and a set plan to achieve them. Once you determine your goals, you have to write them down.

You probably don’t know who this guy is, but, British psychologist Richard Wiseman determined 5 principles to achieving your goals: break the goal into smaller, sub-goals; share the goals with friends and family; reward yourself for achieving your sub goals; remind yourself of the benefits of achieving your ultimate goal; and finally, map out your progress.

Richard Wiseman talks more about achieving goals here.

5. Healthy food options that are easily accessible

Thankfully, I live near to the supermarket so every couple days I’ll head to the store and stock up on yogurt, fruits, veggies, protein etc.. Without access to healthy options, you’ll probably find yourself eating a lot more fast food than is necessary. And we all know what too many cheese burgers and fries can do to your health and your waistline!

6. Remember, life happens!

Things may happen to make you fall off track. Don’t worry! Life happens. Just don’t let it be a permanent fall. Get back on the wagon and keep trucking! Determination, focus and dedication are vitally important to success.

So there you have it. 6 things that help me stay on track.

What works for you?