This may be the hardest part of losing weight. It doesn’t matter how healthy something you’re eating is, you still can only eat in portions if you are going to lose weight and reach your goals. The key is not eating less of what you’re already eating, but eating smart and eating MORE of what you should be.
There’s a great article that shows the difference between eating a piece of pizza for example vs. a low-fat version with salad. It’s amazing how much you can actually eat when you are making smarter choices. An example below.
Not only will you feel fuller longer and more satisfied from eating the bagel with oranges to the left, but you’ll also be staying within your calorie goals. So how do we go about eating less and not feeling so sad about it? We can even indulge in pizza and bad things on the weekend but in order to maintain our goals, it means less of it, drastically less. It can be tough to go from eating 4 slices of your favorite pizza to just one with a smaller side salad.
Here are 8 ways to get your portions under control:
- Focus on what you CAN eat and SHOULD eat rather than what you can’t. If you spend all day thinking about the cake you can’t have, what do you think you’ll end up wanting? Just like we have to be thankful for what we already have in life, we have to work with what we should eat and what will make us feel better in the long run and keep us healthy. Try this: the next time you start fantasizing about eating an entire bag/box/carton of your favorite treat, start thinking about what you’re going to have for your next meal, how satisfying it’s going to be, and how great you’re going to feel afterwards aka not guilty and closer to your goal. Tell your brain to focus on something else for 5-10 minutes, before you know it, you’ll probably forget about your craving. If all else fails, make some tea.
- Spend a little time thinking about what you love to eat and how you can make substitutions. Tonight I’m making a taco salad and I didn’t buy cheese for it, why? Because with avocado and low-fat sour cream, I won’t even miss it. There are many ingredients we use out of habit when really, if we use other healthy ingredients, we’ll be satisfied without the extra calories and fat. Think about meals you can make for 400-500 calories or less. Some of my past recipes and meal/snack ideas can be found here. Once you start getting creative, you’ll realize that there are TONS of low-cal recipes out there that are easy to make, even in your crock pot!
- Don’t let friends or events pressure you into eating more (or not going at all). It can be easy to eat more when you’re out on the town, at a friend’s birthday part, or enjoying a work gathering, but you don’t have to slide off your meal plan. If everyone is having nachos, have some, just less, and make sure to stop eating when you’re full. Also – you don’t have to be a recluse in order to lose weight, express to your friends your goals and how much their support means to you. That way you won’t have to say “no” anytime they all want to order pizza, suggest making a healthy meal together instead.
- Close the kitchen. When you were little you’d get in trouble for sneaking snacks after dinner, what makes it any different now? Establish a strict routine with yourself and close the kitchen after dinner. Limitless tea and water but no more foods! After a week of getting used to the feeling of going to bed without feeling stuffed and waking up feeling lighter and more refreshed, it will become a habit in no time!
- Drink that water! I’m pretty sure I say this in 90% of my posts but it’s SO important. Today I’m already through 50oz (my goal is 90) and I can tell you that I feel so much fuller! Normally around 2-3pm I get my afternoon donut craving, but today, I’m feeling great! There are some great apps out there to help you log and track your water intake and get you on the right path (try WaterLogged or iDrated). Most people should be drinking at LEAST 64oz a day but depending on your height and weight you’ll probably require more.
- Get portion smart! We’ve all heard that a serving of steak is about the size of a deck of cards. Get familiar with other foods and portions so that when you are at a restaurant, your mind will already have the right idea. WebMD has a great portion guide here.
- Order small, be small. I went to FatBurger over the weekend (mother of god it was good) but I should have ordered the small because 1) I was only able to eat half of the medium anyway and 2) even if it wasn’t a healthy meal, I could have been eating better portions. We often think that a small size won’t be enough food, but usually it is and is most likely still more than what a healthy portion should be anyway.
- Split food. Not only will your restaurant bill be less expensive but you’ll also be able to indulge in the foods you love more often. Next time you’re out with a friend or your cute significant other, share a burger and get a side salad!