Easy Portion Control

by Jen on March 12, 2012

Hello!  How are you today?  Did you have a good weekend?

Today, I want to talk about portion control.

If you’ve ever been on the weight-loss bandwagon (which is pretty much all of us at some point in time), then you probably know about healthy foods.  Fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, low-fat dairy, whole grains, etc.

But, did you know that you can eat all the healthy food you like, but still not lose weight?

I know, shocking right?

A few months ago, that’s what I was doing.  I was eating only healthy foods, but I was gaining weight.  This baffled me.  How am I gaining weight when I’m eating only healthy food?

I needed to get to the bottom of this.

So, I input what I was eating into MyFitnessPal food diary, and I was shocked by the numbers I saw on the screen.

I was consuming about 700 calories at breakfast, 600 calories at lunch, and 1,000 calories for snacks!  And this didn’t include dinner.

Yes, they were “healthy” calories, but they were still calories.

I knew right away what I needed to do.  I needed to revisit portion control.

Guess what?  Measuring cups aren’t just for measuring ingredients in a recipe, they are also a great tool for measuring portion sizes!  Or even better, use your hands as a guide:

portion control chart thumb Easy Portion Control

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I think the one I have the most trouble with is the rice and pasta.  For my lunch, I was eating double a regular serving size of rice.  Oops.  And I’m pretty sure I was eating more than 1 cup of cooked pasta at dinner.  Oops.  (Just to clarify, the 1 cup serving of rice and pasta is 1 cup of COOKED rice or pasta, which equates to 1/2 cup uncooked!)

As soon as I cut back to what a serving size should be, I lost the weight that I had gained!  Yes, at first it was hard.  I was starving after each meal.  But after 2 weeks, my stomach adjusted and I got used to eating smaller portions.

Some other portion control tips:

  • Use smaller plates, bowls, and cups to eat/drink out of
  • Make your own single-serving packs (re-portion bulk quantities of rice, cereal, and pasta)
  • Measure oil carefully, don’t just pour it into the pan
  • Control portions when eating out; immediately ask for 1/2 the meal to be boxed to take home and ALWAYS ask for the salad dressing on the side
  • Stop eating when you are 80% full

So remember, you can eat all the healthy food in the world, but if your portions are out of control, you aren’t going to see the weight loss you’ve been looking for.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lori@ Teacher Turned Mommy March 12, 2012 at 10:33 am

thanks for the reminder. I think all of us are guilty of this most of the time (o:

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2 Jen March 12, 2012 at 10:53 am

Yes, we all are. That’s why I felt it was time for a quick refresher :)

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3 SamiJoe March 12, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Portion control is always a good reminder. ESPECIALLY since when we eat out, they don’t exactly give us portions we SHOULD have. I wish they’d cut that out…

I am a painfully slow eater and I find that does help me. Usually my brain tells me I’m full before I am even done the serving.

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4 Jen March 13, 2012 at 12:30 pm

It’s good to be a slow eater…I wish my hubby was, he gulps it down like crazy! Drives me crazy ;)

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5 Samantha March 15, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Great advice, Jen! Constantly scrutinizing portion sizes has really helped me. It’s so easy to go overboard if you’re not paying attention. I’m getting much better at eyeballing now. I let myself get a bit carried away on the veggie portions, but everything else I watch!

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6 Jen March 16, 2012 at 11:14 am

I’m pretty sure it’s okay to eat as many veggies as you like :)

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7 Ann September 3, 2012 at 9:47 pm

I leave a 2 cup glass measuring cup on my counter at all times. I LOVE My Fitness Pal. Really shows you what you are doing especially when you don’t “lie” to it. After I come home from the farmers market I wash and measure all my produce into appropriate one serving size bags or containers. This includes veggies like onion that I am going to add to a recipe, that way all the slicing, dicing and measuring are done. It has helped a lot. I have lost over 20lbs in 5 weeks but more than that I feel so much better…

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8 Jen September 4, 2012 at 8:19 am

It’s amazing how much you realize you’re eating once you start measuring your food! Congrats on the 20lbs lost…that is great :)

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