I’m all about portion control. Seriously. Even today, if I’m eating something measurable that I am not familiar with such as couscous or quinoa, you may just see me open my cabinet and bring out my measuring cups or counting the right number of whatever I’m eating. It’s that important to me. It’s also a strategy that I believe has helped me maintain my weight loss this long.
It’s really easy to fudge on portion sizes. Really easy.
It is important to remember that there is a difference between serving sizes and portion sizes. Sheah Rarback, a spokesperson for the ADA explains the difference:
“A serving is the amount recommended in consumer education materials such as the Food Guide Pyramid, while a portion is the amount of food you choose to eat at any one time–and that may be more or less than a serving.
I love the last part of that quote. “That may be more or less than a serving.” I realized during my final weight loss odyssey that if I fudged on my portions, and ate more than one proper serving at a time, I was really hurting myself. (Not so much with vegetables of course, but with other foods.)
The Little Decisions
One serving of whole crackers may officially be 5 crackers, but who knew if I ate six or seven. What difference does just a few extra make?
One serving of a banana is a medium sized banana, not two gigantic ones. Who knew? What differences does one more make?
One serving of frozen yogurt is a half a cup. Who knew if I had two servings? What difference did it make?
Taken separately, it may not have made much of a difference at all. After all, 50 calories here or 70 calories there does not a diet plan ruin. But 50 calories four or five times a day can do some damage. It can do damage if you are maintaining like I am, or if you are losing.
Those extra 200 calories a day add up to 1,400 calories for the week. Unless you are exercising or moving a little bit more to compensate for those extra bites here and there, your weight loss may stall or you may start to gain.
I’ve seen it happen to myself, and that’s exactly why I have a 3 to 5-pound weight range that I allow myself to float in. If the number on the scale hits my high mark, I immediately evaluate what I’ve been doing and determine what needs to change. Nine times out of ten it isn’t the exercise that’s the problem, but the little bites of food I eat while cooking, or the extra piece of bread as a snack.
As you are following your weight loss or weight maintenance eating plan, I’d really encourage you to look carefully at the serving sizes on the side of the box or with an online calculator. Often times weight loss stalling or regaining is about food quantity. I know it’s a pain to measure or count your food – but it really can make a difference in your long-term success.
How are you with eating the right serving size? Ever cheat like I do? Diane