How is Portion Control & Weight Control Related?
One of the most important aspects of controlling your weight is the portion size you use. There is quite a bit of research out there that suggests that people eat what is put in front of them, either from being conditioned in their formative years to clean their plate and not to waste food, or for another psychological reason, but the fact is, that humans seem to have forgotten that they have the ability to eat until they are no longer hungry and then stop. This is why portion control is so important when it comes to losing weight or just maintaining a healthy weight.
It takes roughly twenty minutes for food to reach our stomachs after we put it in our mouths and swallow it. The fact that many people choose to eat much more quickly than that means that by the time that the first portion of the food actually reaches the stomach, the meal is over, and those that are overweight often eat much more than their body was hungry for or required, which makes them feel stuffed and often sleepy. Eating more slowly can certainly help weight loss efforts, but more importantly is to control the portion in the first place.
How to Know the Right Portion Size
There are a couple of ways that you can just the appropriate portion size. The first is a very general way to determine portion sizes for different types of food. As a general rule, your serving of meat should be about the size of your palm, unless you have particularly large hands. This include both meat and poultry as well as fish. Generally, this portion size translates to about three ounces. As for starches like potatoes and yams, a serving will be about the size of your first. So, one medium sized baked potato is about the perfect portion size. This size-of-your-first rule also holds true for any beans, rice or pasta that you eat, as well as for the fruits and vegetables. Of course, you can increase fruits and vegetable serving sizes if you choose, but you should eat at least a portion the size of your fist.
Another way to determine the portion size is by actually measuring it. In the United States, foods are required by law to show the nutritional information on the package, and that includes the amount of calories per serving, as well as how much the recommended serving size is. Using this information, you can easily measure out the recommended serving size, and then decide on how many servings you are going to eat based upon how many calories you are eating for your own personal diet. Determining how many calories that should be is unique for everyone, but generally, it runs about 1500 to 2000 calories for women and 2000 to 2500 for men.
Portion Control When Eating Outside the Home
If you are going to be on a diet for more than a few days, you will probably find yourself eventually eating somewhere outside of your home, whether that be in a restaurant or simply at a friend’s house. It can be difficult to maintain the proper portion control in these situations, since your friends may not be aware of what portion sizes are healthy and may pile on the calories. The same goes for restaurants which often serve much more than the recommended serving size. If you know that you will be eating in a restaurant that serves more than you should be eating, you might try asking for a half order, or even having your order divided up into two smaller plates. If you are eating a friend’s house, you may want to let them know that you are on a diet and to serve you a smaller portion of food.