The Importance of Portion Control in Diet
If you ask any group of Americans how many are on a diet the answer is amazing. Almost three-quarters of American's are overweight and a large percentage of them are dieting at any one time. We flit from diet to diet and from diet product to diet product with no lasting effect. Worse, there may occasionally be long term health issues from some of the more radical regimens.
There can be many reasons for a person to be over weight. One that we all suffer from is that we eat too much. We eat out more often than in the past and the things we eat are far more fattening. Everywhere we go they serve large portions. We go to restaurants because the servings are large and we like to get our money's worth. When too much food is put in front of us we feel it is our duty to eat it. If we go where there is a food bar we are tempted to try a little of everything. We then stuff dessert in on top. We have a weakness for food and all of the large size portions lead to a lot of very overweight people.
All of this overeating is not only making us fat; it is increasing the risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. The weight also puts extra stress on our joints and can increase the risk of some kinds of cancer.
Portion sizes are increasing in restaurants and prepackaged foods. The size of bowls, plates, glasses, and beverage bottles have been increasing. Everything is larger and we tend to fill them up. Even bottles of soft drinks and juices are larger.
One of the big money makers for the diet industry is to sell meals and snacks that are portion controlled. Can we go on indefinitely paying to have someone measure our meals for us? What do we do when we eat out? We need to take responsibility for your own eating habits. Because of this, a good place to start on a diet is to learn to estimate the size of a proper portion and the amount of calories it will contain. Know what the term serving means. Servings are defined in definite amounts like cups, ounces, teaspoons, or other standard measurements. A serving does not mean a portion served at home or in a restaurant or that giant muffin from the bakery.
One good way to determine how what you are eating compares to what you should be eating is to dish up a plate of food for a meal. Take a second plate and measure the amounts that are suggested as normal servings of each item on your first plate. Compare the two plates to see how out of balance your usual meal is.
Try to get in mind what a standard size portion looks like for each type of food. Get an accurate estimate in mind for each item in your normal diet so that no matter where you eat you will be able make a valid judgment of how much to eat. There are many ways to help you control your appetite. You also need to get in mind the recommended ratio of meat to fruits, vegetables, grains, and starches.
When you are eating out have a small low calorie snack about an hour or so before you leave so that you will not be starving when you reach the restaurant. Get relaxed and concentrate on the aspects of the evening that will be enjoyable besides the meal.
At the restaurant order a small low calorie appetizer like soup or a salad; use low calorie dressing, and no extras. Nix the bread and minimize alcohol intake before and with the meal. Order a small or half size entree if available or take half or your entree home.
Don't plan on eating half of your order and taking the rest home. Divide your order when it is served and set aside the part to be taken home. This will greatly increase your will power. Eat your half s-l-o-w-l-y. Chew well because digestion should start in the mouth not the stomach. Give your brain time to inform your appetite that you are getting full.
At a fast food restaurant order one of the new low calorie or fresh choices. Be sure you know ahead of time what the restaurant offers that is truly lower in calories. If you are really tested by fast food items keep a list of the calories contained in each choice in the car and review it before you go in. This is enough to curb anyone's appetite.
It may be easier to control portion sizes at home but the temptation for snacking on high calorie items is phenomenal. Be sure that there are plenty of healthy fruit and vegetable snacks available as well as things like air popped popcorn. Not all fruits and vegetables are created equal. Be sure to limit those that are high in calories and indulge in those that are lower in calories or are super suppliers of antioxidants. Also, consider keeping a calcium snack for bedtime since calcium is necessary in every diet and is also a natural relaxer. No, that is not an old wife's tale. Calcium in some form just before bedtime can help assure you a better nights sleep.
Do not obsess about food or what you can or can't have. Keep occupied with stimulating activities and people.
Dishes are larger now than they used to be so adequate portions look smaller. Keep this in mind when you are making a plate for yourself. You can trick yourself by using a salad plate or buying a place setting of some pretty older dishes that are smaller.
Exercise is a useful part of any weight loss program, but you cannot exercise enough to make up for a grossly large intake of daily calories. We must take charge of our diet and not let outside factors sabotage our efforts to obtain and maintain an acceptable weight. Eating is greatly influenced by psychology and we should keep in mind that psychology and visual suggestions are used to encourage poor choices and devastating outcomes.
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