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Portion Control 101: Losing weight with a smaller plate

Have you ever sat down to eat at a restaurant and had trouble getting up again once the meal is over? With today’s ballooning portion sizes, it’s remarkable that we can ever squeeze out of the booths at our favorite dining establishments. Our plates keep getting bigger and so do we. Next time you go out to eat, take the time to actually look at how much is on your plate. Ask yourself, “Do I really need to eat all of this?”

Growing portion sizes are a huge factor in the spread of obesity worldwide. People tend to eat everything on their plates regardless of hunger, especially when paying a premium for dining out. Lowering portion sizes is a great step towards healthy weight loss, but it’s important to first know how big your portion sizes should really be. You should speak to Dr. Jain for the specific guidelines of your diet during the MediSlim medical weight loss program, but below are some basic guidelines for serving sizes of some everyday foods:

  1. One serving of dry cereal: ½ cup, about as big as a hockey puck

  2. One serving of cooked pasta: 1 cup, about as big as a baseball

  3. One serving of fruit: ½ cup, about as big as a tennis ball

  4. One serving of chicken: 3 ounces, about as big as a deck of cards

  5. One serving of butter: 1 teaspoon, about as big as a poker chip

If you’re like most Americans, these sizes probably seem way below average. We’re used to packing much more on our plates, so how can we slim down our portion sizes and our waist lines? Here are some tips on how to lose weight with a smaller plate.

Slow Down. Take it slow and try to really enjoy what you’re eating. Pay close attention to the taste, texture, color and smell of your meal, and pause between bites for conversation with your dining partners. When we eat too quickly, it makes it more difficult for us to register when we’re full, so we keep eating. Taking the time to fully appreciate each bite and the experience of the meal will help you stop before you overeat.

Use Smaller Plates. We have a tendency to fill our plates and eat everything on them, so try using a plate you can cram less food onto. Just don’t use your smaller plate as an excuse to fill it several times.

Bring It Home. Most restaurants offer huge portion sizes, so plan to take some of your meal home with you when eating out. Try eating just half of your plate and getting a doggie bag or box for the rest. Those leftovers could make a great lunch for the next day and splitting it up makes your portion sizes for both meals more sensible.

Keep Dinner on the Stove or Counter. If you bring the pot or pan to the table, seconds are within easy reach. If you have to get up to refill your plate, you’ll be less likely to do so, which should help you keep your meal smaller.

Snack from a Bowl. When you’re craving a snack, don’t bring the whole box with you. Instead, just pour some into a small bowl or other container and put the box away. This takes away the temptation to keep snacking until the box is empty.

Reducing portion size doesn’t mean reducing the quality of your food, just the quantity. Eating less gives you the opportunity to lose weight by savoring each bite a little bit more and will help you feel less sluggish after a great meal. Of course, what you eat is just as important as how much you eat, so it’s crucial to combine these tips with healthy diet and exercise to maximize their benefits.

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