Losing weight and weight management is all about the balance of how many calories you take in and how many you burn off. We would always advise that balance is key, but sometimes it’s not about what you eat, but regulating how you eat. That’s where portion control comes in.
How Does Portion Control Help You Lose Weight?
If you want to lose weight, you need to burn off more calories than you eat. It’s not about starving yourself or struggling through a crazy active day without the fuel to get you to the end of it in one piece.
Portion control is about taking a step back and adding a little bit of method to what and when you eat. It’s all about making sure your body gets what it needs throughout the day and cutting out the excess. The best part is that you don’t need a dietitian – you just need a few life hacks to make things a little easier.
So check out these 9 portion control hacks that hopefully teach you a thing or two…
1. Start with water
Drinking water to lose weight is one of the greatest weight-loss hacks out there, but not a lot of people stick to it. Just a couple of litres of water every day can speed up your metabolism and help you exercise for longer.
A lot of the time, when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually thirsty, and so we’ll consume excess food that we don’t really need. If you drink a glass of water before each meal, you’ll quench your thirst and therefore eat less food in your meal.
2. Fill your plate with vegetables
You can cut calories by making a bigger portion of your plate all about the vegetables. Not only do they fill you up, they contain water and provide you with a whole host of essential vitamins and minerals.
Our recommendation: whatever snack you’re craving, find a vegetable that mimics the same texture and consistency and use them to make up the bulk of each meal.
3. Get smart with your dinnerware
One of the oldest tricks in the book is to use a smaller size plate when you dish up your meals. This way, you won’t be able to put as much food on your plate, which will naturally restrict the amount of food you will be eating for that meal.
4. Use carbs as a topper rather than the base
Usually carbs are the foundation of your meal, with protein and leaner trimmings being the secondary focus. Our advice is to do the exact opposite. Make your proteins and lean veggies the main part of your meal and only use a small amount of carbs as a kind of dressing to fill the gaps.
5. Don’t eat from the bag
It’s easy to see why so many people associate bagged food with junk food, so it’s time to break that mentality. Whether it’s your favorite chips or a healthier snack, eating out of a large pack can be dangerous.
Even if it’s something healthy, eating out of bag makes it tempting to finish in one serving, and consequently eat much more food than you really need. To avoid finishing (another) family-sized bag of crisps on your own, try separating the food into smaller containers when you eat. Not only will this help you eat less in one go, but it will also make that bag of chips last longer.
6. Wear form-fitting clothes
This isn’t about wearing corsets and girdles that will cut off your circulation. However, wearing your favorite pair of jeans or a shirt that is better tailored can help you control how much you eat by physically restricting how much food you will be able to eat until you feel full. The more you eat, the tighter the clothes will feel as a sign that you should stop eating.
7. Have some soup before your main meal
Filling up on liquids before your meal will take the edge off your hunger pangs and prevent you from eating more than you need. Similar to the water hack, having some soup or a broth as an entree will help to fill you up before your main meal.
8. Use your hands as portion guides
You don’t need any fancy scales and measuring cups to determine your portion sizes. In fact, your hand is the perfect guide. Typically, a clenched fist roughly equates to about a cup of rice and your palm is a 85g serving of meat.
Using the size of your hand or palm is great for determining how much food you really need. If you ate a palm-sized portion of something yesterday and it filled you up, make sure you don’t go bigger today.
9. Focus on eating more slowly
Eating slower helps you to digest your food better and prevents you from eating more than you need, all by giving you the time to consider how full you feel.
Why not try eating during a conversation conversation or while doing something at your leisure? It’s not about upsetting your meal or not appreciating it. On the contrary, it’s about slowing down to smell the roses and appreciate the veg-filled meal you’ve whipped up.
Take Home Message
Portion control is about taking control of the amount of food you eat and when you eat it so that you can account for the fuel you are putting in your body. By making the most of fluids and veg, along with a few adjustments to make sure you’re not overshooting your carb intake, portion control is the simplest way of ensuring you’re not getting more calories than you need and to help you lose weight.