17 Easy Strategies For Portion Control and Losing Weight

  • Usman 

You will be surprised to know that the dinnerware may play a key role in your weight loss strategy. Portion control has been recognized as an effective way to restrict your calories.

dinner plates set

Let us start simple, Obesity is the state of being overweight.

A doctor usually diagnoses a patient with obesity concerning their BMI, i.e., your Body Mass Index. So, how do we figure out, whether we’re in the ‘safe zone’ or not? Quite simply. BMI is measured with the formula kg/m2, whereby, kg is the person’s weight in kilograms, and m2 is their height in meters squared. If your body mass index is greater than 30, you become grossly overweight. The body mass index gauges your weight by height and gives you a mark. A standard body weight index is between 18.5 and 24.9.

In today’s age, individuals use the term ‘obesity’ without knowing that it is an actual disease that has been inflicted upon many.

Obesity epidemic

If you were to break down obesity by numbers the findings would be catastrophic. Dr. Sal Lacagnina, Vice President of Health and Wellness for Lee Memorial Health System, has said that “Weight-related changes that have been seen in the United States, over the past two decades have brought us to the definition of an epidemic.”

Obesity has tended to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within the US alone. In 2012, 78 million people of the US have been recorded as obese by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It is anticipated that the figure will bloom by 2030. Nearly 50% of the American’s will be seriously overweight.

Since 2012, even though the government took measures to control, obesity has proven to be still blossoming. Obesity prevalence reached 39.8 percent from 2015 to 2016, concerning nearly 93.3 million US adults. As of 2019, one-third of US citizens have been obese. Greater than 100 million individuals who are not restricted by age are currently obese.

If you’re wondering, do the following figures make this an epidemic? Then the answer is yes. It’s a physical condition that causes disturbance in normal functioning. It can outspread across the populace judging by the manner we live. If changes are not made personally then this cycle of thinking will pass on to our children.

You can end up the same way if you watch your parents consume excessively. If you’re still taking it as a joke and are not willing to improve your lifestyle then you could suffer from some further illnesses like high blood pressure, cholesterol, cardiovascular problems, and diabetes.   

Diet is a choice for lifestyle. The consequences are ours, as well.

How our portion sizes have increased?

The topical focus of the investigation while evaluating the power one has over energy consumption and the likelihood of obesity is on physiological occurrences. Yet, the consumption of foods is frequently mostly influenced by external factors. The quantity we eat is determined by elements including portion size, food availability and convenience by which it can be accessed.

In the past 30 years, there has been ample confirmation that multiple food items haven risen in portions and package sizes. This rise in portions and packaging refers to portion distortion. It has proven to be a significant driving key element to the epidemic of obesity, which is distressing.

Now talking about portion distortion, 20 years ago the size of a bagel was 3 inches in diameter whereas now it has doubled to 6 inches. Another example we can consider is a cheeseburger. Cheeseburger, 20 years ago, was about 4.5 ounces which has at present increased to 8 ounces. We being busy in our own lives might have not even noticed this change. However, you should be aware of how big of a threat this is.

All items now come with the tag of ‘economic buying’. Items in our grocery lists have become cheaper but what we do not realize is how expensively it falls on our health.

In the US, the quantity of food served at restaurants has dramatically risen by 75%. As a result, whenever we go out we subconsciously overdo eating or drinking. So to answer why we’ve started eating so much is because, for one, there is a variety of places to eat and a lot to choose from. Secondly, they are inexpensive and right around the corner. Only that they are low on nutrition quality.

If you are a student living abroad, we’re sure you would rather go out and eat or order in rather than having to cook something yourself. Without realizing you are ingesting calories excessively. If you are careful about the quantity you eat, then you don’t have to worry about portion sizes.  

Are bigger portions linked with weight gain?

Over the last couple of decades, portions further rose in tandem with a spike in obesity. In fact, several scientific research has proven that giving additional foods and drinks to people contribute to major and sustained boost in energy consumption. Such analysis shows that if an individual can easily access large portions of food then the individual may exceed the rule of energy balance and may persistently find obesity sooner than later.

Compelling proof has indicated that there is a direct connection among the size of a portion you’re eating and the weight of your body according to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory as of 2010. 

So, if you’re asking if you should eat less than we’ve got an answer for that too.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001–2006 examined the weight management tactics identified by obese individuals attempting to drop some weight. This exam indicated that the most common approach was to eat smaller and controlled amounts. This is consistent with Dietary Guidelines for Americans which advised that individuals should consume less and keep a control of their portion sizes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

What can you do to prevent weight gain?

While we all know how weight loss works, taking into consideration the most commonly known, a diet, a good work out, a good routine, etc. But sometimes, we skip out the easiest, and the most important way to prevent obesity and weight gain. That is Portion Control.

What is portion control?

How would you define a portion? You know how your parents, your siblings, or your friends often (or more than often, in some cases) tell you to stay in your limits? That’s what portion control is. A portion is the amount of food you put on your plate, and so – portion control is to control the amount of food you put on your plate.

Research and studies show, that people often eat more when a larger portion is offered. Various studies have taken place in different countries such as the USA, Denmark, and the Netherlands. All the studies showed an increase in the total portion size, especially in energy dense foods – and this can lead to excess energy intakes.

Taking only the US in consideration for the past few decades, the portion sizes have only increased from the early 1970s, rising sharply in the 80s. This further showed a positive relationship with the increasing body weights.

Food companies and fast-food chains are selling larger portions, larger plate fillings or larger sized cakes. These portions are only expected to grow over time. The prevalence of obesity amongst adolescents and toddlers of ages 1-3 has also increased sharply.

Obesity starting from such an early period can obviously not only be blamed towards lifestyle or food intake since it can also be genetic.

Large portion controls are evidently linked to weight gain because let’s be honest, even if the best of dieticians were offered a plate full of fries, they wouldn’t be able to resist it either. Compared to them, we’re all extremely weak.

So if every outlet of McDonald’s is offering an ‘Upsize Meal’ only for an extra dollar or two, where does that leave us? But if things were the other way around and if we take the people who take their diets very seriously, focusing on smaller portions – a negative relationship can be seen. The smaller the portion, the greater the weight loss, because – the lesser the energy intake.

These observations are a loud call for attention to bringing changes in the food portion intake. The best solution here would be to reduce the energy density of foods while maintaining the food weight or volume – to satisfy cravings but with a moderate portion, hence reducing the energy intake as well, which is what we all desperately need to focus on.

How do you manage portion control

  1. Start your day with a big glass of H2O, on an empty stomach. This makes your belly less likely to crave excessive food.
  2. Switch to vegetables such as Spinach, Mushrooms, Cucumbers, instead of meaty meals.
  3. Use smaller dinnerware. Switching to a small plate for a heavy meal counts as portion control.
  4. Let your plate serve as your portion guide. The guide will surely lead you to eating less if you are using smaller dinnerware.
  5. Slow down while eating, chew your food slowly. Keep in mind to savour every bit of the portion in front of you. This actually fills up your belly a lot faster.
  6. Have soup as your appetizer, as a case study for 2007 shows – this can reduce your calorie intake by 20%.
  7. Take a taller glass for your drinks. This deceives your brain into believing that you’re actually having a larger portion of the drink, whereas, it’s actually the opposite.
  8. Try to not use your phone, laptop or television while eating – as this can become a great source of entertainment.
  9. Ask for half a portion when eating out, instead of that upsize meal, go for the regular meal.
  10. Never eat straight from the bag or the container, as large sized containers encourage overeating and less awareness of appropriate portion sizes.
  11. Use measuring equipment to increase awareness of portion sizes.
  12. Use a diary and write down your total calorie intake, this may guilt-trip you into eating healthy and motivate you to do so.
  13. Switch to fruits for dessert rather than a cheesecake.
  14. Try not to nibble on the left overs.
  15. Use a food journal to keep track of your food intake. You will be surprised to learn that you have been eating more because of larger portion plates/bowls.
  16. The 20-minute rule, as soon as you feel like you just haven’t had enough – give yourself just about 20 minutes to actually feel full as it takes time for food to reach your belly. You might just end up avoiding that temptation.
  17. The most important one! Be aware of the distinction in the middle of being bored and really need to eat.

Can you lose weight just by portion control?

Two clear benefits of keeping track of portion control are: weight loss and diabetes management. You can easily regulate your carbohydrate intake which is critical for diabetics and at the same time, you can control your calorie intake which is important if you are trying to lose weight.

But is portion control enough in itself for weight loss? It is one of the important strategies. If you stick to healthy diet, do moderate physical activity then portion control is excellent addition to your weight loss efforts.

This ensures that you lose pounds without making any disruptive changes to your lifestyle like going on some extreme low calorie fad diet.

The best thing about portion control is that it is a sustainable weight loss method unlike a crash diet which you cannot stick to eventually.

Summary

To sum it all, if you want a flatter belly – you need to reduce your energy intake. Where obesity is a serious problem with the risk of many serious issues arising, it requires great attention from all of us to try and control our weights as much as possible by controlling our energy intake. The solution to this, is only portion control. Known as one of the most effective ways to ensure a healthy life style as well as weight control.

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Muhammad Usman

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