A portion control
weight management plan is all about eating the foods you enjoy, cooked the way you prefer. Losing weight this way minimizes any deprivation you would feel on a traditional diet because no food is denied whilst still managing to eat fewer calories. It is not as difficult as people make out, and of course if you make a healthier choice, you will lose weight more quickly. It's all about getting into the habit of eating the right balance of foods and eating the right amount of food to be just inside your weight loss zone. Here are 10 hints that I have used and found helpful, you should know I shed 17 stone (or 105kg if you work in metric), doing just this with The Diet PlateŽ portion control plate and bowl .
1. Size up servings.
Just how many of those chips are in a serving? Check the nutrition label to find out! You may be surprised at how small an actual serving looks compared to what you would normally eat. Learn what a serving is of your favorite foods; you can start by weighing and measuring out the foods you eat, or by buying a system that does it for you. I personally recommend The Diet PlateŽ,
which is the system I used.
2. Breakdown Snack foods
I find if I have it in my cupboard and I open it, then I eat it. It's sad but true. One of the things I found was that if I bought single sized servings (e.g. a 20g bag of crisps) then I would only eat them. If I had to buy "grab bags" (love the term, but they should be called fat bags) or bigger then I would have to break them down into smaller bags (I found freezer bags were handy for this and not overly expensive). This way I would only eat the one bag at a time, if I didn't then I would eat the whole huge bag in one sitting without thinking about it.
3. Salad is good
One of the things I found that helped was to eat a salad before dinner. Ok I know this sounds a little bit weird, but bear with me. Think of it like a starter to your meal. I am talking about a fair amount of salad here as well, not just some limp lettuce. Fill the salad out with free vegetables and enjoy it.
This will help reduce your appetite and make you feel full for longer, let alone give you some much needed vitamins, a winner on both accounts! In winter you can substitute the salad for a free vegetable soup starter.
If you are anything like my family, you serve your food up at the table (not true of everyone I know) but if you do, then stop. Serve the food up onto the plates in the kitchen (better still use a portion controlled plate) and then leave the rest of the food out there. I find it much easier to ‘help' myself to seconds if they are sat in a pot in front of me than if I have to walk to the kitchen and serve myself up more.
One thing I did get into the habit of and it made my hectic life and schedule so much easier to manage, was when I cooked a meal (and cooked too much, especially to start with!) I would break the leftovers down into individual serving sizes and freeze them (the plastic Chinese takeaway containers are ideal for this). This made life easier as I would only have to reach in and reheat one of the dishes for a perfectly portion sized meal, instead of having to reheat a huge pot and then throw the rest away. This saved me both money, time and educated me about portion sizes.
6. Eat Slowly
Ok this may sound a bit quirky, but it's true. In today's society with time being ever precious we tend to eat a lot faster. It takes our bodies around 15-20 minutes to begin to feel full and register we have eaten enough. If you bolt a meal down in 5 minutes you will be hungry for a while and tend to a) eat more or b) snack straight away. So take your time, enjoy some conversation whilst eating and relax for a bit, drink some water with your meal too.
7. Be Childish
This tip is mainly for eating out, but as I eat out quite regularly with clients it was invaluable (and saved me some money as well, not to mention inches on my waist line). A lot of restaurants have two different size menus, one for lunch and one for dinner. When eating out ask the waiter if you can have the meal as a lunch time portion, failing that, ask for it as a starter size or the best yet a children's sized portion. Being a child at heart I had no issue with this, and it sparked for some interesting chatting about portion sizes.
8. Drink Water
Ok, again seems simple, a little too simple? This is one of the biggest tips I can give anyone, if you're hungry, drink a pint (500ml) of water. If you are sitting down for a meal drink a glass of water about 10 minutes before hand, failing that, drink water with your meal. Restaurants are great for this, if I am going out for a meal the first thing I ever ask my waiter for is a bottle of water for the table. Societies as a whole does not drink enough water, it helps you eat slower and helps you fill fuller, and if it is tap or mineral water, it is pretty much calorie free. Combine this with the benefits of upping your water intake (better skin, hair, nails feeling better etc) and it's a no brainer.
9. "All you can eat"
One word, DON'T! Even the most disciplined and careful of us will slip at this point. Well, I know I did and badly. Then we get into the whole excuse of, it's ok it's only once a month, fortnight, week or however often it is. Before you know it, your perception of portion size is warped and you are eating more and more again. So again to reiterate my point...
(This goes for "upsize" or "supersize" as well, which restaurants (especially fast food) love to sell)
10. Treat Yourself
Allow yourself a treat once in a while. Eating a ‘forbidden' food once in a while is not a bad thing. Just keep it in check. This will stop you feeling like you are deprived and craving the food you know you can't have. Once again everything is ok in moderation.
Portion control is not deprivation, cut something in half, you save 50% of the calories too. And, if you buy a bar of chocolate, get the kiddy sized one I will guarantee once you have satiated your taste buds with that initial couple of bites you will have had your fix and find you do not need the king sized bar of fat!
By James Dennis
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