Painless Strategies for Cutting Your Portion Sizes and Losing Weight

Portion control is key to losing weight without feeling deprived. You can eat chocolate cake and other foods you love if you just reduce the serving size. Try these strategies to reduce your portion sizes and lose those extra pounds.

Tips for Eating at Home

1. Plan weekly menus. Sketch out your eating plan for a week at a time and use it to guide your grocery shopping. Many people underestimate how much they eat. This system will make any discrepancies obvious. If you run out of food before the end of the week, you may need to re-evaluate your diet.
2. Read the package labels. It’s easy to assume that convenience foods would be packaged in single servings. Check the label to be sure. A single bottle of juice often contains 2 or more servings, so find out how many calories you’re really consuming.
3. Learn to eyeball. A three-ounce portion of grilled fish is about the size of a deck of playing cards. A cup of breakfast cereal looks about as big as a tennis ball. You may want to measure and weigh your favorite foods while you’re learning to visually estimate portions.
4. Count your bites. Counting each bite is another temporary method that can help. Notice how many bites you’re eating. By eating more mindfully, you may find that your taste buds are satisfied with just a few spoonfuls of ice cream.
5. Divvy up your plate. As you learn to visually estimate portions, you’ll discover about how much of your plate they typically cover. Keep this in mind when you dish up your food. Health experts recommend that most adults get about 2 to 3 cups of vegetables daily, so get used to giving them the most room.
6. Use smaller dishes. Smaller plates and bowls will make servings look more generous. Keep big platters off the table to remove the temptation to help yourself to more. When snacking, put just a few chips in your bowl at a time. Force yourself to walk back to the kitchen again if you want more.
7. Package or freeze leftovers. You can save time by baking big batches of lasagna. Just put the leftovers in the freezer right away so that you don’t succumb to the temptation to have just a little more.

Tips for Dining Out:

1. Set aside leftovers immediately. The same strategy works when you’re eating out. Cut your hamburger in half and push the remainder to the side. If your powers of resistance need a little support, ask ahead for half of your meal to be packed to go.
2. Ask for sauces on the side. Sauces and dressings can add a lot of calories to otherwise healthy dishes. Request that condiments be served on the side so you can control how much you use.
3. Order the smallest size. You can minimize the damage at fast food places by ordering the smallest size on the menu. Hot French fries taste better so you can actually have a more satisfying experience by eating less.
4. Share a meal with a friend. Splitting a meal is often more fun than having leftovers. Ask your server to divide it or just bring two spoons if you’re very close friends.
5. Ask questions. Some items are obviously dangerous to your diet, but others may require clarification. Ask what’s in the salad or how big the seafood platter is. You may want to leave out the bacon or decide that the appetizer has enough calories for a whole meal.
These new eating habits are effective and easy to learn. By reducing your portions sizes, you can manage your weight while enjoying a wide variety of delicious and healthy foods.

Stop Planning, Start Doing, and Achieve More!

Do you have some aspirations that are beyond your current capabilities? It’s natural to dream of things that you want to do someday, but currently can’t. However, to realize your dreams, at some point you must stop planning and start taking action.
While planning is an important part of bringing your dreams to life, avoid dedicating more time to the mental preparation than to action. If you spend your entire life planning for the future, then when will you actually start living?

Try these strategies to help jumpstart your goal-achieving actions:
1. Actions speak louder than words. You’ve probably heard this statement before, but have you really considered the meaning? Taking action and achieving are more powerful than simply planning for the future. Start taking steps in the right direction while planning, instead of waiting for every detail of your plan to be complete.

* Keep in mind that you can accomplish your goals as long as you’re moving in a forward direction. It may take some time, depending on how large your goal is, but moving forward will get you where you want to be. Taking action, regardless of how small, moves you forward.

2. Consider the language you use. Which is more effective, “I am going to lose weight,” or “I am losing weight”? How about the difference between “I am planning on going to school,” and “I am currently attending school”? The differences in these statements may have a profound impact on whether you’re actually going somewhere, or just thinking about it.

* Try this: Rather than saying “I am going to lose weight” (which is something you could say for years without shedding a pound!), take action to lose a little weight; then say: “I have dropped a few pounds and I am still going!”

3. Break goals into smaller bites. Rather than creating a lengthy plan that will take several years to fully realize, why not break your goals into smaller pieces that you can achieve one at a time? Setting goals too far into the future can hamper your ability to take small steps in the right direction now.

* For example, say you want to lose 100 pounds. Try setting goals to lose 1% of your body weight per week until you reach your final goal. Achieving several weight loss goals over a period of time will help keep you motivated rather than struggling endlessly for that one far-off goal.
* Perhaps you want to achieve something over a period of time, such as graduating from college in four years. In this case, you can break your goals into quarters or semesters. This will help you feel a sense of success with your progress as you work toward the larger goal of graduating with a degree.

Sometimes you may feel challenged to build the momentum you need to achieve goals and get where you want to be in life. Raise your standards and expect action from yourself instead of just thoughts and words.

If you’re struggling to move from planning to actual accomplishments, try breaking your goals into smaller pieces. You’ll be amazed at how motivational a little success can be!