Do you have issues with portion control? We are used to huge meals, double and triple the serving size of each food, and little physical activity. This leads to many health issues, along with just feeling like crud. Whether you're on WW or not, these portion control tips work for everyone.
13 Portion Control Tips for Overeaters
Weight Watchers is an amazing program that helps with portion control, but with the new Zero Point Foods list, we are told there's “no limit” on them and if you've got a problem with self-control around food like I do, this can lead to big problems. There are apps like WW that can help you with portion control, if you're struggling.
The Problem With Overeating
Overeating makes us feel sluggish. This means when we overeat, not only are we consuming more carbs, calories, and fat, we're also moving less. This combination is a disaster if you're trying to get healthy and lose weight.
What are the Appropriate Serving Sizes, Anyway?
America is known for portion distortion, which is why so many Americans are obese. Learning accurate serving sizes and how to calculate them when you don't have a scale is critical to weight loss.
Food Portion Sizes: Serving Sizes
- Carbs: 1/2 cup cooked rice or pasta, 1 slice of bread (here are my favorite low point breads)
- Protein: 3 ounces cooked lean meat, 2 eggs, 3/4 cup tofu, 1 ounce of nuts
- Dairy: 1 cup
- Fruit: 1 cup
How to Measure Serving Sizes Without Measuring Cups
- Fish, poultry, beans, lean meat: palm-sized serving for women, two for men
- Veggies: fist-sized portion for women, two for men
- Grains: one cupped-hand portion for women, two for men
- Butter, oil, nuts: one thumb-sized portion for women, two for men
What Portion Control Is NOT
Portion control is NOT deprivation. Weight Watchers is NOT about restriction to the point that you're not eating enough nutrients. Do not approach the portion control topic as if you can't eat anything at all, that you can never eat a full plate of food EVER.
Portion control is meant to help you exercise control, not restriction, not starvation, not deprivation. Help yourself develop a healthier relationship with food by exercising control while eating.
Portion Control Tips for Overeaters
If you're not losing weight with Weight Watchers, portion control could be the culprit. So, let's get to the nitty gritty, down to business, we've got this portion control stuff down. Okay, maybe we don't quite yet… so we need to go over a few tips that have helped me with portion control.
Please add your tips to the comments to help others!!
Eat Zero Point Foods.
We hear a lot of talk at Weight Watchers meetings and in the groups about portion control on Zero Point foods. While it's true that you can overeat on Zero Point foods, let's be real: none of us got overweight by eating too much boneless, skinless chicken breast for lunch and strawberries for dessert.
Rather than worrying about an exact portion of Zero Point foods, keep an eye on the carb count. I wrote a post outlining the nutrition facts of every Zero Point food on the list (yes, there are over 200!). Watching carbs will help your weight loss continue on a steady path, avoiding plateaus due to eating too many cups of fruit.
Using Zero Point foods as a filler will help keep you on track with your weight loss goals! An example of this is when making spaghetti, use 1/2 pound ground beef and 1 pound mushrooms. You don't always have to eat zero point ground turkey. In fact, my wife and I love to eat ground beef – we just count the points, and mix it with mushrooms and other veggies to make it stretch.
Use a Meal Plan.
Fail to plan, and you're planning to fail! Use a meal plan, pre-track everything you eat. Here are a few free meal plans to get you started:
Weigh it All Out.
There's no shame in weighing and measuring all of your food! In fact, it can help you come to terms with your portion distortion. Practice weighing and measuring your foods – but guess the weight or amount ahead of time so you can see how accurate you are.
- 1 ounce of cheese is the size of a domino or 9-volt battery
- 3 ounces of lean meat is about the size of a deck of cards
- 1 serving of bread is a slice that is about the size of a cell phone
- 1 ounce of nuts is the size of a golf ball
- 1/2 cup of potatoes is about the size of a computer mouse
- 1 serving of fruit is about the size of a tennis ball
- 1 cup of veggies is about the size of a tennis ball
- 1 serving of salad dressing is 1 tablespoon, or about the size of the space between the tip of your thumb to your first joint
- 1 serving of pancakes is a pancake the size of a CD
- 1 serving of a bagel is the size of a hockey puck
Pro tip: Make single-serving packages of snacks that are weighed and measured ahead of time.
Eat More Fiber.
Many Zero Point foods are high in fiber, such as….
- leafy greens
- most veggies
See the full ZERO POINT FOOD LIST here.
Fiber helps keep us full longer and also aids in digestion, which can assist with steady weight loss.
Drinking a glass of water before your meal can help you feel satisfied faster. I also sip water during my meal. This does two things: fills me up faster, and keeps my hands and mouth busy so I am not eating as much.
Sip Tea With Your Meal.
Do you crave something to drink other than water? There are many ways to flavor your water to mix it up a bit, but sometimes we just need something else – and that's okay, too.
Brew up some flavorful tea like peppermint, chocolate, or chai, adding in a low or no-calorie sweetener.
We are taught to “clean our plates” as children, and many of us struggle with wasting food. If you are the type to eat everything on your plate, serve yourself less.
If you're eating at a restaurant, ask for a box when you place your order. As soon as your order arrives, place (at least) half of it in the to go box.
Use the 50/25/25 Rule.
We know we should be “eating the rainbow“, but how much of the rainbow should be taking up our plate?
Fill your plate with 50 percent non-starchy veggies or leafy greens, 25 percent lean protein, and 25 percent starchy vegetables or carbs.
Have Soup as an Appetizer.
Instead of a greasy, high point appetizer like nachos or mozzarella sticks, stick with low point soups.
Use a Smaller Plate and Fork.
We all know the “smaller plate” trick, but using a smaller fork can help with portion control as well. When you pick the plate you're going to use, use a lunch plate instead of a dinner plate – or use a saucer if you're eating something that's high in points.
These simple tips trick our minds into thinking we are eating more than we are, which means we get full faster and don't go over our points!
Eat at the Table.
Eating at the dinner table – or at the island, in our house – is a sure-fire way to ensure you don't mindlessly binge food while binge watching Netflix.
Focus on every bite you are taking. Think about how this food choice will be nourishing and fueling your body for the next several hours.
Eat foods that require a little extra “work”, like pistachios in shells, edamame in pods, etc. This helps you slow down, as you can't shovel handfuls into your mouth at one time.
Wear Tighter Clothes.
No, we don't want to be uncomfortable – especially at dinner – but my wife famously puts on her “fat pants” when we eat at buffets. If you put pants on that have tons of wiggle room, you may not have as much motivation to keep your portion sizes small.