Nowadays we are bombarded with ads and the allure of extra large everything. Don't let that “extra large” apply to your size too!
Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows that the single most important thing you have to do is to eat smaller portions.
People think if they work out until they pass out, it will help. But, like it or not, weight loss happens in the kitchen, not in the gym.
So you need to shrink your portions. Simple enough, right?
Riiiiight - if reducing portions was that easy, no one would be overweight.
Nowadays we are bombarded with ads the allure of extra large everything. Before we know it that “extra large” could apply to our waist sizes too.
Beyond the tried and true methods of using smaller plates and eating more veggies, how do you cut your portions to shrink your waistline?
1. Gimme a break! Take a break. When you finish your meal, push your plate away and take ten minutes to have a glass of water and a conversation before you assess whether you are still hungry and need to eat more. More often than not you won’t head back to the kitchen for seconds if you give yourself a minute to digest.
2. Quit the clean plate club. Growing up many of us heard all about the starving children while we were growing up. We were encouraged to be part of the “Clean Plate Club”, but as a grown-up that really means part of the “Big butt Club.” NEVER eat when you aren’t hungry and don’t be afraid to leave some food behind.
3. Pack up the kitchen BEFORE you sit down. It can be a little tricky getting the meal to table and eat the meal timing right, but try packing up your leftovers, particularly leftover carbs, before you sit down to eat. When food is sitting on the kitchen counter calling your name, it’s much harder to resist a second helping than if you need to get it out of the fridge and reheat it.
4. Never eat from a package! When you are trying to shrink your portions you have to know how much you are eating. Sticking your hand in the bag or spooning up ice cream from the carton are dieting disasters.I've spoken about the Hand Portion Method being the best portion control method (read more here). Learn it and use it!
5. Always think of carbs as a side. Whether it’s thrift or habit, we all tend to use starch as a base for meals. To cut portion size, start with carbs. Pasta, potatoes, and rice should not be the center of your meal. Shrink your portions by keeping in mind that only 1/2 cup of rice or pasta is a serving. Carbs are a side. Make veggies the star of your plate.
6. Buy single serving packaged food. If you want to eat something that doesn’t fall into the “Healthy Food” category, consider single servings. Purchase prepackaged individual servings and limit yourself to one. If you want a cookie, stop at the bakery and buy ONE. You can’t eat a dozen if you don’t have a dozen to eat. Simple!
7. Finish with fruit! Re-train your taste buds to crave something naturally sweetened at the end of a meal. Instead of a calorie laden dessert dripping in guilt, finish your meal with fresh berries or even a fruity tea. After a few weeks of finishing a meal with fruit you should start to find the craving for dessert after every meal begin to subside. Fruit is the sweet treat that won’t leave you feeling like a failure.
8. Have WATER first. If you want to eat less, drink more. Water that is. This tip is an oldie but a goodie. A nice tall glass of water helps fill your stomach so that a smaller portion of food feels more satisfying. Study after study confirms that drinking 16oz of water thirty minutes before you eat will help you eat less.
9. Wear tight pants/pantyhose. Uncomfortable, but it works! Wear your skinny jeans to dinner. Pajama bottoms say, “Hey! You want that second helping? Go for it! I’m stretchy! I can take it!” Your tight fitting bottoms, on the other hand, say, “Please put down your fork. I’m about to burst.” Tip: no cheating by unbuttoning the top button!
10. Ambience is important. A meal should be a pleasurable nourishing experience. You will be more mindful of your serving sizes when you eat off of a pretty plate that contrasts well with your food, in an uncluttered space, free of distractions. Studies show that dieters eat more when they are distracted. So put down the phone or book while you eat and focus. Enjoy your meal in all its small and beautiful proportions.
Changing the way you eat takes some dedication. And it takes courage. And it takes a willingness to try doing things differently.
If you eat out or order takeout a lot, try my free Fast and Easy Meal Prep Recipes eBook.
Because meal prepping and planning is so essential, yet so hard to adopt and maintain, I created an eBook called Fast & Easy Meal Prep Recipes to help you get over those first hurdles to incorporating it into your life.
Inside you’ll find mouthwatering make-ahead recipes for:
- Snacks (this section might be my favorite!)
Download it here!
Other tips: have an appetizer as your dinner entree. Or ask the waiter to pack half your meal to go home before you begin. Share your food with a friend, then you know you'll eat only half!
Even when you dine out you can find simple ways to control how much you eat if you put a little planning into it.
Living in a world of super-size portions makes it hard to remember how much we should be eating.
At home or at a restaurant, if you can find a way to shrink your portions you’ll eat less and YOU WILL LOSE WEIGHT.
It’s a simple truth but there’s your win!