Right Size Your Plate to Lose Weight

Well Portioned Lunch Plate

Portion control is one of the big behavioral components that are so important in lifestyle changes.  It can be tricky because the clean-the-plate mentality of childhood sticks with people through adulthood, and portion sizes in many restaurants in America are unreasonably large.  Get used to cleaning the average plate at a BBQ place, neighborhood wing-house, or steakhouse, and find that a whole days worth of calories, or more, can go down the hatch in one meal.  Many people find that they can lose weight simply by controlling their portion size.  They find that they have been overeating due to sheer quantity.  Being aware, and controlling portion size is key for those individuals, as well as anyone who is trying to maintain a healthy diet. 

There are actually quite a few ways to tackle the portion size problem.  Basic awareness certainly helps, but it is better to have some actual techniques in mind.

Basic awareness begins with understanding that food has gotten bigger since the 70's.  Hamburgers are bigger.  Bagels are often three times bigger (6 ounces).  Cupcakes and muffins are much bigger.  Sodas are much bigger like the 128-ounce (1 gallon) Extreme Gulp.  Portions in restaurants are huge.  Serving sizes for many foods are the size of a fist, or for meats, the size of a palm or a deck of cards.  Most Americans would think the restaurant is skimping badly were they served that size portion.  Many restaurant meals could easily be shared...the actual portion that is served is more than one serving of entree and sides.  The world has gotten bigger around the bigger foods.  Cup holders in cars are larger to accommodate larger cup sizes.

Food labels are one of the best ways to understand portion size.  Serving sizes offered on the backs of the packages of food favorites help guide a portion size to something more reasonable.  It also helps with sugar, fat, and calories...so the consumer can make better choices.  Food labels can help one avoid a 3000 calorie burger and fries, and even avoid a 3000 calorie salad...2 days caloric intake. 


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