By Dr Megan Chircop
Drinks are one of the big problems - the two biggest culprits are alcohol and sugary soft drinks. Neither one has any nutritional value but are high in calories. Without tummy filling protein and fibre, energy providing carbohydrate and healthy fats, you will still be hungry, even if you consume >500 calories in soft drink and alcohol (about 4-5 standard drinks). Now, truthfully, how many of you have gone out to a restaurant or party and consumed this amount of alcohol without even thinking twice.
Don't worry - We are hear to help you understand what a balanced portion of food looks like to HELP you gain control of your portion sizes so you do not completely blow your diet out of the water but can still enjoy a meal out every once and a while. Especially at the moment when it is the Christmas holiday season that is filled with lots of joyous festive parties - which means an abundance of food and drink.
A portion for an average-sized person whom is moderately active is:
Initially, the best way to help you gain control of your portions is to measure out EVERYTHING you eat. Yes. This can be painful, but after about a week or two, you will be able to recognise an appropriate portion more easily without measuring. That means investing in some kitchen scales (digital is best) and some measuring cups and spoons. All of these are cheap. Measuring is particularly important for those calorie-dense foods such as nuts, cheese, pasta, etc. You will be surprised as to how small a 30g serve of nuts is, which can be 175-200 calories (depending on your choice of nut). If you have a bowl full of nuts in front of you, mindlessly eating, you could consume >600 calories without even knowing. DIET BLOWN! And you wonder why you are not losing weight when you are eating 'healthy'. Thinking about portion sizes and consistently executing portion-control is key to success.
Another way to help you keep portion sizes in check is to use your hand or other visual models. This is the best way to go when you eat out as you dont want to carry around your scales with you. Check out the following two charts for quick go-to guides for how to assess an appropriate portion (the one on the right suggests different amounts for males and females). Perhaps you could print these out, fold it up and put it in your wallet so you do not have to worry about remembering the details when you are out and just want to have fun!
What to do if you are still hungry after you have eaten a carefully portioned amount of food? This is the major pitfall of dieting, causing most people to just say 'who cares' and then overeat or make a poor food choice that is calorie-dense and nutritionally-poor such as chips, lollies, biscuits, cakes, etc. Particularly if you are out with friends and they all seem to be eating whatever-they-like. This does not seem fair! But take a look around and are they all carrying a few extra kilos also. Reminder yourself that it is not just about how you look but that you want to be a more energetic, healthier, happier version of you!
It is perfectly normal to still be hungry when you’re trying to re-train your eyes, stomach and brain to know correct portion sizes. The key is to satisfy that hunger in a smart way.
If portion sizes are a barrier for your weight loss, then your goal should be to start measuring. Do it for a week and see how you go. Getting a good grip on portions might just be the key to helping you succeed!
If you need extra assistance with assessing what is the right portion size for you, then we can help. Our meal plans are calorie- and macronutrient-controlled and designed specifically for you with the food that you tell us you like. We will track your progress and support you 100% of the way through your body transformation process.
Start transforming your body today - you will feel lighter, healthier and happier.
You might also be interested in the following articles:
Consistency – The Key to Success
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The secret to eating for weight loss
how to beat food cravings?
top 10 oat-based recipes for weight control
Strategies for fat loss
When appetite does not work properly – part 1 & part 2
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