Does squeezing into your favorite skinny jeans feel like a feat of gymnastics? Does it seem like your scale is ever rising? If so, before you swear off everything but baby carrots and lettuce, consider this: The culprit behind your weight gain may not be what you’re eating, but how much you’re eating. One of the key ways to promote fat loss is to control your portion sizes. If you learn how to control your portion sizes, you can lose weight without giving up the foods that you love.
Research has shown that Americans often underestimate how many calories they are consuming each day by as much as 25%. Even though today’s serving sizes can be more than triple what the USDA recommends, they’ve become our new normal. Even if you are a healthy eater, it is possible to sabotage your efforts by eating more than the recommended amount of food.
Here’s what happens when you over eat. The cells in your muscles can only handle a certain amount of food at a time, after that the cells shut their doors and don’t allow any more food in no matter how nutritious it is, until they have burned or digested the food that’s already there. So the excess food heads straight to the fat cells to be stored. That’s why a few large meals a day does not work. It swamps your digestive system. So it’s better to eat smaller meals throughout the day. If nutrients are available at proper times and in the proper quantities, your body can use them for energy to keep you feeling full, promote muscle growth and burn fat.
Most people have no idea what a single serving of a food is, given the “super-sized” culture we live in. Once you know what right-size portions look like, selecting them will become second nature. These guidelines will help you get started.
When dishing up your plate, use this “palm, fist, thumb” general guideline. A portion size of protein is typically about the size of the palm of your hand, a portion size of carbs is approximately the size of your fist, and a portion of healthy fat should be about the size of your thumb, from the knuckle up.
Practice measuring out single servings onto your plates and bowls, and remember what they look like. Over time you will learn to eyeball the serving sizes of your favorite foods. You will want to avoid serving food “family style.” Prepare plates with appropriate portions in the kitchen, and don’t go back for seconds. If you are tempted to go back for seconds, wait 20 minutes to allow your stomach to settle. Reason being, it takes a little time for your brain to get the message that you’ve had enough.
This way of eating may take you longer to lose weight than a fad diet, but you will be able to eat your favorite foods and feel satisfied .It will take your body time to get used to this new way of eating. However, over time your stomach will begin to shrink, and you will begin to shed pounds. Applying portion control will become a lifestyle habit. This will stop the yo-yo dieting of losing weight and gaining it back. The sooner you start applying this method of eating, the sooner you will drop the weight!