My last post was all about the diet dangers of giant portions. This time, I turn again to Sherri McMillan to give some tips on controlling portion sizes so you can drop sizes!
Here are some easy tips and techniques for you to remember:
*Use a smaller plate. Instead of using a traditional dinner plate, use an appetizer/salad size plate instead. This will force you to start with fewer calories right away. We’ve been taught as kids to eat what’s on our plate. So a bigger plate automatically means more calories.
*Divide your plate into 4 parts. A quarter of the plate will be reserved for a starch (whole grain rice, pasta), a quarter of the plate will be reserved for protein and the last half of the plate should be reserved for fruits and/or vegetables.
*20 minutes before you eat your meal, have a cup of soup, a handful of walnuts, a small salad, or 8-16 ounces of water. This will help to suppress your appetite.
*To help control portions, keep a food log and submit it to a professional.
*Don’t skip breakfast, this could just lead to overeating later. Plus you need to wake your metabolism up first thing in the morning.
*To help avoid mindless, late-night eating, brush your teeth after dinner. Pop a breath mint or breath strip. Go for a walk. Read a book. Take a bath.
*Buy single serving items or place snacks in small plastic baggies to help control portions.
*Avoid buying in bulk. Studies show that when people buy in bulk, they also eat in bulk. Remember – if it’s there, you’ll eat it!
*Eat slowly. The brain needs 20 minutes to receive the signal that you’re full.
* After food is placed in front of you, wait 5 minutes before you eat. Place small mouthfuls of food on fork/spoon. Completely swallow food before you add more food to fork/spoon. Put down utensils in between bites. Use smaller utensils. Consciously take time to taste, chew and savor food.
*Stretch out meals, making them last 30 minutes. Take a five minute break about 10 minutes into your meal
*Take sips of water or other non-caloric beverages between bites
*Introduce a one or two minute delay between courses
When eating out:
*Order one meal and ask for two plates so you can split the meal.
*Don’t order super-size meals; opt for regular or kiddie portions instead
*Order water immediately
*Order butter and salad dressing on the side
*Ask for your meat broiled and without any additional fat added
*Ask for your chicken to be prepared without the skin
*Order a salad instead of french fries
*Ask for skim milk
*Order a tomato instead of cream sauce for pasta dishes
*Order plain bread instead of garlic bread
*Take one piece of bread from the basket and then ask for the basket to be taken away. Or ask for a complimentary vegetable platter instead of bread basket.
*Order tomato and broth soups instead of cream-based soups
*Order fresh fruit desserts
*Hold the sauce on burgers and instead use ketchup, mustard, relish, tomato and lettuce
*Do not be afraid to ask for any type of substitution
Become aware of your impulses and urges:
What traps you into overeating? Is it a certain time of day? Is it the people you hang with? Is it paired with some type of activity? Do you get the urge to eat in certain places? Do you turn to food when you’re tired after work?
*Make a list of substitute activities. They must be activities that compete with the action of eating - ie. it’s difficult to eat while doing the activity. For example, a hobby, gardening, play a game with family/friends, learn a new sport, visit your neighbors/friends, write in a journal, give yourself a manicure, read a magazine/book, plan your next vacation, Relaxation/breathing exercises, walk/jog/swim/bike ride/go to gym/exercise video/dance to some upbeat music, shower, bath, get a massage, listen to music, prayer, meditation, housework, pay bills, balance your check book, complete a home improvement project, rearrange your furniture, wash your car, clean out closets/drawers, run errands, floss, take dog for a walk, video games
*Then when your impulse or urge surfaces, immediately start your substitute activity. The urge should pass.
If you recognize that you need to focus on controlling your portion sizes, you may initially feel a bit hungry for a few weeks. But that hunger-sensation won’t last long. Your stomach is capable of shrinking and will learn to be satisfied with the smaller meals. Plus when you’re eating the right type of foods, you’ll have more energy and your appetite will effectively suppressed making your plan much easier to adhere to.
Jill Stoppel has been involved in the fitness industry since 2009 and has been personal training full-time since 2002. She is the sole owner of Excel Wellness Studio, is certified through the American Council of Exercise and holds several certifications in group exercise, spinning and kickboxing. She also maintains memberships, affiliations and mentorships within the major health and fitness organizations in the nation to stay connected to other top professionals. She and her team offer fitness advice to Kansas Citians exclusively for Good Health KC magazine online.