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Portion Control for Better Weight Control

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by Krisha McCoy, MS

You are watching what you eat, but you are still having a hard time losing excess weight. If this is the case, it may not be what you are eating, but instead how much you are eating that is the problem.

As Americans, we have a habit of thinking bigger is always better when it comes to portion sizes. And super-sized portions are one reason the majority of Americans are overweight or obese.

The Portion Control Diet

If you are like many people who are trying to lose weight, you have tried just about every diet in the book. You start out feeling motivated and ambitious, and have no problem following the diet. You may have even had some weight loss success on fad diets. But, over time, it is inevitable that your body begins to feel deprived, you overeat, and the weight piles back on.

Why not try something different for a change? Instead of jumping into the latest fad diet this time, simply decrease the portion sizes you are eating. Without changing your lifestyle or what you are eating, portion control can help you cut calories and lose excess weight.

Tips for Portion Control

Portion control takes practice. It can be especially difficult to practice portion control when you are eating outside of your home. But, after time, these portion control tips will help change the way you eat for the better:

  • Buy snack packs. If you have a hard time limiting yourself to just a handful of your favorite snack, buy snacks that are already pre-portioned to help control your eating.
  • Cut condiments in half. If you are using a high-calorie, high-fat condiment, like sour cream, mayonnaise, or cream cheese, try using just half the amount you usually would. You probably won't even notice the difference.
  • Share. When eating out, ask a friend to share an entrée. Most people become full well before they stop eating at a restaurant, and if you divide an entrée, you are less likely to overeat. (Tip: If you can't share, ask your server to divide the meal in half before serving it, and take home half for lunch tomorrow.)
  • Choose small. When given a choice in size (e.g., hamburgers, sodas), always choose the small size. It may only cost a few extra cents to get a larger size, but the extra calories you consume are not worth it.
  • Fill up on produce. Most people don't get the fruits and vegetables they need to stay healthy, and produce is one area where you do not need to practice portion control. So have a salad before your entrée, or snack on fruits and vegetables in the afternoon, so you are less likely to overeat later.
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