Eating less isn't always a good thing, but for people like me who love good food and have been eating too much for too many years, it is a necessary part of getting healthy. There is a lot of information out there about correct portion size and of course the best way to make sure you are eating the right amount is to weigh and measure your food.
But let's be honest, in the midst of a busy mom life and cooking dinner for your family or corralling little ones at lunch do you want to have to measure and weigh everything? No.
So today I am sharing a few things that have worked for me to help control my portions and each more appropriate amounts of food.
1) Downsize your dishes
Unless you are eating a ton of veggies, the reality is that if you fill an average dinner plate you will most likely end up eating too much. Switch to the salad plate for your protein and carbohydrates and fill another plate with your fruits and vegetables. When you pour your morning cereal use a small bowl instead of the large cereal bowl. Downsizing your dishes also has the visual effect of not making you feel so deprived. If I eat the same amount of food on a large plate and it takes up only half the plate it feels like I should eat more, even when I really shouldn't.
2) Drink a glass of water before you eat
First, we often confuse thirst for hunger so if you like you are starving you might actually also be dehydrated. Also, drinking water helps you feel more full and eat less.
3) Borrow your toddler's plate
I don't know about you but if I have a choice between a yummy piece of chicken and lettuce I'm not always going to choose the lettuce. I love fruits and veggies but I love good food in all forms! A former co-worker told me once that she had lost a lot of weight and one of her tricks was using a divided plate. She used a old tv dinner tray. As a mom of toddlers most of my kids dishes are already divided into 3-5 compartments. I found one of their plates with three compartments works great. I use the largest section for veggies and then the carbs and protein go into the smaller sections. This was really helpful for me in the beginning of my weight loss to easily control quantity without having to feel like I needed to measure everything.
4) Buy things you don't like
One of the challenges for many moms trying to lose weight is that we can't just eliminate everything we shouldn't eat from our house. Some foods that tempt us are find for our husband or toddler. Should we inspire and encourage our families to eat healthy - yes. But that doesn't mean my little ones can never have a treat. My solution - buy things I just don't like. If I am buying ice cream, I buy a flavor or brand my family likes but I don't. On a recent road trip I was buying snacks and passed the Twizzlers. Twizzlers are my ultimate road trip food and although they aren't as bad as some treats, I knew I wouldn't stop at the suggested serving size, so instead I bought Red Vines. I can't stand Red Vines but my family all loves them. Easy way for them to not feel deprived and me to not be tempted.
5) Choose already portioned foods, especially for treats
This is hard for me because I try to limit the amount of processed and artificial foods we eat and most portioned foods are processed. I am in no means 100% clean or real food only but it is something I strive for in choosing what we eat. But will power and I are not always friends... Maybe you have great willpower and when the serving size on the brownies says one, you only eat one. For me... well there is a reason I weighed almost 250 lbs, one brownie was never enough. I knew when I started changing my habits that I couldn't cut out treats for life. I have always been a chocolate lover, never having chocolate again just isn't realistic. Instead I knew I would need to learn how to eat a small portion, instead of the king size candy bar. I've learned that buying ice cream bars is better for me than a container of ice cream because the size is already controlled. Its easier to buy individual serving sizes of chips because then the bag is done. Its easier to buy a Twix or Reeses because I can quickly and easily share half and therefore only consume half the calories! It doesn't work for everything but I find it helpful for things that I consider treats and need to learn to eat the serving size and not what my taste buds demand!