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.