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Finding a Portion Size

When we sit down to eat, the last thing we want to think about is our portions, but if you’re looking to lose weight, it’s a good place to start.

The first step is learning the correct portion size, which is the amount of food recommended for a healthy diet. The serving size can normally be found on the nutritional labels on food, but the portion is the amount of food or drink you decide to consume. It is very common that the portion eaten is a lot larger than the serving size, simply because we don’t know any better.

Eating the right amount of food goes hand in hand with having a balanced diet. If you’re struggling to lose weight, your potion sizes could be the reason why. A healthy balanced diet means eating the right types of food and the correct amounts of each. Eating too many or too little of each food groups could be bad for your health.

We all need a certain amount of calories to keep our bodies ticking over nicely over time- for growth, repair and involuntary muscle movements and for any activities we do, and although different people need different amounts, you should find out what’s right for you.

Portion control is all about limiting what you eat and having an understanding of how much food you are actually eating and the calories that are in that serving. In order to keep your portions to a healthy size, you could try:

Measuring accurately - For all your foods and drinks, use tools such as measuring cups, scales and spoons so you know exactly how much you are eating and how many calories each serving contains.

Learn how to estimate serving sizes - This method involves estimating serving sizes by comparing servings to known objects. For example, 3oz of cooked meat looks equivalent to a pack of cards and half a cup is equivalent to the size of a tennis ball.

Use portion control plates and bowls - Using smaller plates and bowls can really help you eat less as you are putting less onto a plate that looks full.

Eat more veg - Adding vegetables to your meals can bulk them out without the added calories. Fruit and vegetables should make up a third of our diet, so try incorporating more vegetables into meal times to improve the chances of reaching your five-a-day.

AVOIDING COMMON PORTION SIZE PITFALLS

Be aware of larger packaging - The larger the packet of food, the more we tend to consume from it without even realising. To reduce the chances of this happening, don’t eat straight from the packet and instead, divide the contents of one large packet into several different smaller containers or bags to avoid overeating.

Out of sight, out of mind - People tend to eat more when they have easy access to food. If you make small changes to your home, such as hiding the tempting foods at the backs of cupboards and putting a fruit bowl in an accessible place, you will find that you are much more likely to go for healthier alternatives.

Portion control when eating out - The portion sizes served by most restaurants are much larger than what one person needs so instead of eating a whole meal to yourself, why don’t you split it with a friend or ask the waiter to put half of your meal into a box to take home.

The most common misunderstanding with managing your portion size is that many people believe it means eating tiny amounts of all food. This is not the case- and is in fact all about you are giving your body the healthy amounts of food. If you follow some of these tips, you are likely to consume less calories and as a result, lose weight, without feeling hungry and dissatisfied.

If you’re looking for help and advice on how to lose weight, get in contact with the LiveWell Dorset team now. Our free guidance is here to support you achieve a happier and healthier lifestyle.

How does this work?

The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

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