Value sized meals at restaurants, king sized candy bars, and fountain drinks with enough soda to feed a family are not a dieter’s friends. The huge portion sizes you are confronted with every day are one of the biggest stumbling blocks to successful weight loss. In order to lose 150 pounds, I learned to conquer portion sizes and want to share my best tips with you.
1. Put it away.
Out of sight, out of mind. Put the main serving dish, bag, or box of whatever food you are eating away after you serve yourself. Constantly looking at the larger container full of tempting foods can make you go back and get just a little more. That little bit more can add unnecessary calories to your day.
2. Switch sides and mains.
Buck tradition and make classic main dishes into a side dish and serve the dishes most often thought of as sides your main dish. For example, have a lot of vegetables and just a bit of meat.
Why does this work for portion control?
Because side dishes are frequently lower in calories and fat than main dishes. Salads, fruit, and vegetables are often considered side dishes and are generally much lower in calories than meats.
3. Use a small blue plate.
Smaller plates make it appear as though you have more on your plate than you really do. I know it’s like playing mind games with yourself, but it does work.
Make the whole small plate thing really work by using a blue plate. Researchers have discovered that the color blue tends to suppress appetite.
4. Visualize before you serve.
This is another mind game but a good one. Visualize how a proper serving should look on your plate before you dish it out. If you can see how much 1/2 cup of pasta is, you are more likely to not overdo it.
Of course, this is really important with higher calorie foods and less so with salad greens or vegetables.
5. Prepare snacks in advance.
Snacks can really mess up your weight loss if you aren’t careful. The problem is that most snacks are just so small. Popcorn, pretzels, raisins, nuts, and other snacks take up little room in your hand but can pack a calorie punch.
Prepare your snacks in advance. I still do this after all these years of weight maintenance. I portion out nuts and dried fruit, and I cut too-big granola bars into the right snack size. Then there is no guessing, no fudging, and no chance of eating too much at once. Unless, of course, you go back for a second bag and that’s another issue entirely.
6. Get ready to explain.
Your friends and family are going to notice you are not eating as much. They may ask you questions about it even if you already told them you are dieting.
Part of portion control is being able to stick to your diet even in the face of temptations or questions. When someone asks you why you aren’t having more of a particular food, you may be tempted to tell them to mind their own business. And of course, you could say that.
A gentler response is to say one of the following:
“It’s what my doctor recommends.”
“This is all I need right now.”
“I’m good with this amount.”
“I’ll let you know if I want more.”
7. Remind yourself that you can have more.
Always start with a small serving. It seems silly, but sometimes I would get more than I really needed because I knew I’d want more or worry it would be all gone. Instead of being satisfied with a small amount, I’d eat the whole thing.
Start small and remind yourself there is more where that food came from. After you finish the first serving ask yourself if you really need more or just want more.