Do you remember when you were a child and you’d take too much food because your eyes were bigger than your stomach? Someone would inevitably make a comment about starving children in Africa and note that you should only take what you’re going to eat. That was genius! Looking back now it seems so simple, so smart, and so right. We all should live that way, only taking what we’re going to eat! And start by taking less and going back for more if you need. The key to keeping your weight off or losing weight is portion control. No matter how much exercise you do, if you’re taking in more than you’re putting out, you’re not going to lose weight!
Portion control was once a problem for me, but I’ve spent a lot of time getting it in check, learning how much I really need to eat. The number one change I made was not to lying to myself. Yes people, we lie to ourselves all the time, especially about food. You have to rid yourself of that habit first and foremost. It’s tough, but I know you can do it! I would lie to myself about snacks all the time. I had a weakness for Pirates Booty popcorn for a while, that yummy “healthy” popcorn/puffed snack. Approximately 36 puffs are in one serving which is 140 calories. Did I ever measure that out? No, I did not. I would sit down on the couch and eat handful after handful, but then tell myself I didn’t eat too much. Lies! Be honest and measure out your snacks, especially junk food. Those calories add up fast. I crave crackers and chips all the time and the serving size for them is anywhere from 8-14 chips/crackers. That is not a lot at all, but the calories are always over a 100. That’s perfect for a snack, so stick to one serving. Be mindful and smart. Don’t sit down and eat a whole bag of Doritos; trust me I’ve done it and you’ll get sick! Stick to a single serving.
Okay, you’re all going to measure out your snacks from now on! Woo! You’re learning, growing, and not lying to yourself. You go! But you also need to be mindful of what you’re eating at meals. It’s easy to take/make too much if you don’t pay attention. Always look at the serving size for cereals, they’re normally anywhere from ¾ cup to a half a cup per serving. Yes people, not too much at all and normally between 110-170 calories. So make sure to portion control. The same goes for condiments. I love a good salad, I have one almost daily for lunch, but I also love those dressings. Sure, vinegar is always delish on a salad, but sometimes I want a Ranch or a Greek dressing. I’ll indulge, but I always look at the portion size which is always around two tablespoons. Yes people; that’s it! But you really don’t need more than that. Trust me.
Okay, we’re controlling cereal and have condiments under control as well. Now the cheese! Cheese can be a big one for me; I love it and I know I should give it up, but I just can’t. So I portion control the heck out of it. If you eat shredded cheese, ALWAYS measure it out! Depending on the bag, a serving is usually a ¼ cup. If you’re slicing the cheese, invest in a food scale and measure it out by the ounce. One ounce is the serving for Brie Cheese, a lot of calories for very little cheese. I could eat a whole chunk of that bad boy and not blink any eye! But I won’t and you won’t either. One slice of cheese is plenty to fill that craving.
Avoid those baggage calories with simple portion control! You’ll save yourself some serious calories if you just recognize and understand portions and don’t lie to yourself. Keep yourself accountable and form a habit. I do it by adding everything I eat into the MyFitnessPal App. I’ve recommended it before and I will again. It really puts into perspective how much you need to eat of what and how much snacking you’re actually doing. It’ll also show you the importance of exercise along with maintaining a healthy diet. Win win!
Jump on the portion control bandwagon! Be honest with yourself and measure out your snacks. Trust me, you’ll notice a big difference with how much you’re eating and what you actually need to eat to stay satisfied, keep the weight off and even lose a few pounds if that’s your fancy. And remember to always have fun, stay healthy, and be honest with yourself!