Want to Lose Weight?
Exercise Portion Control

Do you practice portion control...or portion distortion???

portion control plate

cartoon portion plate
Have you heard of portion control plates? Some of my clients love them.

They're thrilled to have a visual guide to how much food they should be eating.

Some of my clients hate them.

They don't want some flatware telling them how much to eat!

I think they're a great tool, but only if they appeal to YOU. (I personally love them and use them myself!)

If you think this kind of plate could work for you, check out this selection...

Ever feel like Goldilocks at meal time? "Is this bowl of porridge too big? Is it too small? Or is it just right?"

A main reason so many people are overweight is lack of portion control.

Why does portion size matter anyway?

One word: calories. A small order of McDonald's fries has 250 calories. A large order has 570.


If you are having difficulty controlling your weight, the problem may not be what you are eating, but how much. In other words, portion control!

According to a survey conducted by the American Institute for Cancer Research, more than three out of four people believe that the type of food they eat is more important than the amount they eat, when trying to manage weight.

And guess what...

...they're all wrong!

There's no getting around it...size matters!

I don't mean it's necessary to survive on tiny portions

Nor is it necessary to count calories (though you can) or to know the calorie content of everything you eat in order to lose weight. Simply enjoying slightly smaller portions is a simple way to reduce calories without ever having to count.

Q: When is a 12 oz. steak the proper portion size?
A: When a 16 oz. steak is what you would usually eat!

Why? Because a simple 4 oz. reduction saves you 220 calories.

Can a legitimate nutritionist actually be suggesting that a 12 oz. steak is a reasonable portion size? Isn't a portion of meat, chicken or fish "supposed" to be only as big as a measly deck of cards or the size of the palm of your hand?

Well, I'm a legitimate nutritionist and a registered dietitian, and I'm telling you that nutrition isn't about all or nothing.

If you're overweight, and your usual portion size is 16 oz., and you cut it to 12 oz., then you've made a significant improvement. And if that's a significant improvement you can sustain...

...that's way better than a 3 oz. portion regimen you'll give up after a week!

Portion control is a simple concept, but can be difficult to implement.

That's because we live in a world of portion distortion.

(Take the portion distortion interactive quiz.)

Consider these facts:

Restaurant portions are up 40% over the last 30 years.
An order of pasta is often 3 cups...that's really 6 portions!

Even "diet" foods come in larger sizes these days.
Including certain brands of frozen dinners.

Serving sizes in popular cookbooks are getting "hearty" as well.
In one popular cookbook, the brownie recipe calls for exactly the same ingredients in exactly the same proportions as it did in the 60s and 70s, but now they have you cut the brownies twice as big!


..."Supersizing" and "value meals" are NOT normal.

The problem with larger portion sizes? When confronted with larger portions, a person eats more! (And becomes larger!)

"He who eat too much sweet develop too much seat."

So to make portion control easier to achieve, here are some simple strategies:

  • In a restaurant, start with a smaller portion. Try:
    • soup/salad + appetizer
    • child portion
    • request 1/2 of your meal doggie bagged before being served
    • split a meal with someone
  • Avoid serving family style. It's never a good idea to place temptation right in front of you. Instead plate your food in the kitchen and then sit at the table.)
  • Avoid going back for seconds. It's not the minutes at the table that make you gain weight. It's those seconds!
  • Use portion control tools such as portion pals. These (portable) translucent discs show you the correct portion sizes for meat, chicken, fish, side dishes and dessert. Place a piece of chicken on the chicken portion pal and if it's larger than the disk, cut it to fit. You'll know just how much you should be eating...and just how much you shouldn't. (Consider a portion control system for your kids too!
  • Purchase foods that are pre-portioned, e.g. 100 calorie snack packs.
  • Store any leftovers in portion controlled storage containers.
  • Use smaller dishes.
  • Use a food scale. Weighing your portions leaves no room for error!

More weight loss tools.

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