Every journey has obstacles, and weight loss is no different. Whether it’s the difficulty of keeping up with your plan, or even not knowing how or where to begin, anybody who has ever made the choice to lose weight for their health struggles at one point or another. One of the biggest (and most common) hurdles to clear is portion control, and it’s not hard to see why. First of all, we have a habit of over serving ourselves. Secondly, we are frequently incentivized or pressured into consuming more. Whether it’s the friendly server asking if we saved room for dessert, or the person behind to counter asking if we want to turn that medium into a large for just fifty cents, the temptation is always there. But even though this seems harmless, it isn’t. Not only do the effects of large portions add up over time, but it also leads to unhealthy behaviors regarding food. Thankfully, with a bit of work, education, and dedication, we can change these habits.
What Is a Good Portion of Food?
The first step to proper portion control is understanding just how much a portion is. One of the reasons we are so inconsistent with this is because we have a habit of serving ourselves based on how hungry we feel, instead of serving ourselves based on what we need. This makes it especially hard to build this new habit, because we compare our new portions to our old ones, and assume that we are simply not eating enough, instead of admitting to ourselves that we were eating too much. An easy way to start measuring portions is by comparing them to things we know. A few examples are:
- One cup of leafy vegetables, or a baked potato, should be about the size of a clenched fist, or a baseball. If you use salad dressing, try to keep it to two tablespoons.
- Three ounces of cooked lean meat or poultry (a healthy amount) is roughly the size of the palm of your hand.
- One serving of fat-free or low-fat cheese is about the size of a pair of dice.
Aside from just being plain good for you, drinking water is a great way to help you manage your portions, and controlling your calorie intake. Drinking high calorie beverages like juice or soda doesn’t help you feel full, but it does leave you with extra calories. Studies have also shown that in older adults, drinking water before a meal, or two cups before breakfast, helps prevent overeating.
Add Protein to Every Meal or Snack
It has been proven time and time again that protein helps increase feelings of fullness more than fats or carbohydrates. In fact, studies have shown that when 20 to 30 percent of a meal is made up of calories from protein, people felt fuller both short and long term! But to do this in the most helpful way, you should try to focus on lean sources of protein, like skinless poultry, fish, or even Greek yogurt!
High Nutrient Low Calories
Foods that are nutrient dense yet low in calories are an excellent way to start managing your calorie intake and helping you feel full. Many of these foods are leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables, which have the added benefit of being high in fiber, which is not only essential in helping you feel full, but in aiding digestion. By coupling these with lean protein, you can easily get the nutrition you need while also getting a healthy amount of calories, without overdoing it.
Simple Life Hacks Can Help Build Better Habits
Humans are creatures of habit. This is true regarding our relationship with food as well. When we see a plate of food, we generally try to clear it, and clear it quick. It is a classic case of “eating with our eyes” as it were. And by eating quickly, we overeat before we receive signals from our body telling us we are full. A surprisingly effective way to help us control our portions comes in two simple steps. First, slow down. It’s tempting, especially when we are hungry, to eat as quickly as possible. Sometimes, when we do this, we overeat and don’t feel it until later. By slowing down, we give our bodies the time to start breaking down food, as well as receiving the signals from our brain telling us when enough is enough. Secondly, silly as it may seem, use smaller plates and silverware. This has a double effect. By using smaller silverware, we force ourselves to eat more slowly, and by using a smaller plate, we restrict how much we can eat to a healthier, and more manageable amount. It also helps that by seeing a plateful of food, we don’t feel like we got cheated out of a big meal!
Help from Medical Professionals Goes a Long Way
When all is said and done, weight loss falls under the category of medical science. By seeking the help of trained professionals, you not only have better resources to succeed, but the support structure you need to build better habits. The professionals at Olivera Weight Loss have over 40 years of experience in helping people reduce their weight to a healthy BMI, in a clinically proven and medically safe way, and with the means to help their patients keep it off. Patients of Olivera receive Phentermine, an FDA approved, clinically proven appetite suppressant, which is an excellent way to jumpstart better habits with proper portions. And with our established patients having the option to continue their care with our Telehealth service, receiving the support, encouragement, and continuing education they need, we make it easier than ever to follow your plan!
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