One of the most common mistakes in dieting is portion control. The biggest problem is that people have no idea of what a portion is. How much is one cup? What does one cup look like? How many ounces is in a slice of cheese? These are common questions I ask my clients. If they have no idea what these portion sizes look like; then they might reconsider measuring their food. This way they start to realize what a portion size is.
Measuring portions helps keep you on track, and it keeps you from convincing yourself you only had “a few” chips when you know the bag was full when you opened it. (No one else does that? Just me? OK…) Find out how to recover from portion distortion.
- Use measuring cups. It’s just as easy and quick to serve yourself using a measuring cup as it is with a spoon or a ladle. You’ll be exact every time.
- Visualize your portions. What does a half cup of pasta look like? (a billiard ball or a cupcake liner) How much meat is 3 ounces? (a deck of cards) Learn what to picture when you serve yourself, then take our Portion Distortion quiz to reinforce what you’ve learned.
- Shrink your dishes. That half cup of pasta looked skimpy in the large, deep bowls we were using. Once we used smaller bowls, the pasta with broccoli (1 cup, or the size of two billiard balls) and marinara sauce (also 1/2 cup) seemed like much more food.
- Take advantage of generous portions of fruits and vegetables. A serving of leafy greens is one cup; that’s the size of a baseball. Once you’ve got a serving of dairy, protein and a couple of whole grains, fill up on vegetables. You can trick your eyes into thinking you’re eating more calories than you really are.
- Liquid calories count. Unless you’re drinking water, use the tallest, skinniest glass possible. Studies have shown that people pour more liquid into short, squat tumblers. Use a glass measuring cup to pour your milk, juice even wine to make sure you’re drinking what you think you’re drinking. A serving size of juice is 6 ounces (about the size of a hockey puck), and a serving size of milk is one cup (8 ounces, or the size of a baseball). Wine is slightly lower: 5 ounces a serving. (source)
Measuring your food could make or break your dieting efforts. Knowing how much food you are REALLY eating is a huge “wake up call.” Try weighing and measuring your food for a couple of days and keeping track. It could change the way you look at portion sizes.
(CES, PES, CPT, BS)