One of the first tips any weight loss plan will give you is to start eating less food on a daily basis. And even when we’re not following a specific weight loss plan, most of us find it common sense to start reducing how much food we eat when we want to start losing weight. The problem comes in though, when we look closely at the definition of “less food”.
People in the United States especially seem to have little knowledge of just how much food they eat on a daily basis. What most people see as a serving size is often twice what it should be. And it’s this lack of understanding about portion sizes for food that causes such big problems when any of us are trying to lose weight.
Do you honestly know what 3 ounces of chicken is for example? Or what a quarter cup of broccoli looks like? Don’t feel bad if you don’t, because this is actually a common problem for most Americans.
Let’s say you buy an energy or meal replacement bar at the grocery store as part of your strategy to start losing weight. You decide that this will be your snack, or maybe even a meal replacement, at least once each day. If you don’t look closely at the labels of that bar though, you may not realize that one bar is actually two or three servings of food. You may see that it advertises only 100 calories and decide this is a good food supplement to use for a healthy weight loss plan. If you look closely at the label however, it might show you a few surprising things.
If that meal supplement bar is actually two or even three servings in one, and you eat the entire thing at once, you’re actually getting two to three times more calories than you thought you were.
This problem exists with almost any type of food you buy at the store. Even bottled drinks which are labeled as low calorie, low sugar, or great for dieting often have hidden calories or sugars in them that are not readily apparent.
Cooking your own food from scratch is a step in the right direction for losing weight successfully, but you can still have problems with portion sizes even then. If you decide to have steamed broccoli as part of a meal for example, you may have done some research to find out what the best portion size is to help you lose weight. This information does not help you though if you do not know how to identify a specific portion size.
If you’re not measuring or weighing your food, you’re most likely putting much more on your plate that you realize, and that means you’re actually getting more calories… or fat… or sugars… or whatever it is you do not want… each time you eat.
The best way to use portion and calorie control in your weight-loss plans is to start weighing and measuring your food, or simply reduce your normal serving sizes by at least one quarter to one half the size. Alternatively, keep your weight loss goals on track by paying very close attention to the labels on the foods you decide to eat.