Consider this scenario: you have not cheated on your diet in weeks. You are getting in plenty of protein and fluids, and you cannot remember the last time you ate fast food or a dessert. Still, you have not seen the scale go down recently. What could be wrong?
This is a real-life situation for countless weight loss surgery patients and others who are trying to lose weight. It is frustrating not to see the scale drop when you are certain that you are making all of the “right” food choices. If this is the case for you, the culprit may be portion control.
The “What” versus the “How Much”
“What” you eat definitely matters. Foods that are high in carbohydrates, sugars, and fats can make you crave more of them, leading to excessive eating. In contrast, foods that are high in protein, fiber, and other nutrients can curb appetite and help you lose weight.
Still, “how much” you eat can be even important for weight loss. If you eat too much of anything, no matter how nutritious it is, you will gain weight. Because of portion sizes in today’s grocery stores and restaurants, you may be eating oversized portions without even realizing it.
Use Convenient Foods
You are more likely to eat foods that are more convenient, so why not stock up on them? No, we are not suggesting you rely on convenience foods such as hamburgers, chips, doughnuts, and other fare from your local corner shop. We are talking about nutritious foods that are ready to eat or that you can prepare in minutes.
As an example, consider what happens when it is almost time for dinner. If there is nothing close at hand in your kitchen, the most convenient choice may be picking up the phone and ordering from your local pizza restaurant. So, a large pizza with 8 servings enters your home…and next thing you know, you have devoured far more than 1 of those 8 servings.
What is better? How about going to your pantry for a Protein Entrée that is ready in minutes using only water? Whether you choose Protein Pasta or an option such as chili, beef stroganoff, or green pepper steak, you can be sure your BariatricPal entrée is portion controlled – each packet makes a single serving.
Watch the Multi-Serving Packs
It’s okay to have a potato chip or two every so often. The same is true for a bite of brownie, a small handful of cereal, or any other treat. The trouble comes when you down the entire bag of chips, a half a pan of brownies, or most of a box of cereal.
Skip the bottomless bags, and go for single-serving packages. That way, you can eat the whole thing without even thinking about portion control. For a double dose of weight loss goodness, you can swap the regular snacks for higher-protein, lower-carb versions. BariatricPal Protein Pretzels, Protein Chips, and Protein Brownies all come in single-serving packets and have over 10 grams of protein each.
Store Single Serving Portions
When you cook for yourself, you have the benefit of knowing exactly what is going into your food, so you can make it as healthy as you want. However, trouble can sometimes come if your recipes are too big and you end up eating more than you need at a single meal or snack.
One solution is to pre-portion everything before you eat it. If you cooked a large meal, divide it into single servings, place each serving into a container with a tight-fitting lid, and store the extras in the fridge or freezer. The trick works for big bags of chips, family pack chicken breast, and anything else you buy from the store that is simply too big.
You can also purchase single-serving packages. Along with BariatricPal Protein Breakfasts and Protein Entrees for Lunch and Dinner, you can look for BariatricPal Protein Snacks in single-serve portion packs, such as pretzels, cookies, and chips.
A sure way to lose weight is to tilt your calorie balance so you are burning more calories than you take in. While choosing less calorie-dense, more nutritious foods can help, your portion sizes are also critical. You can keep your portions under control by staying aware of what you are serving yourself and by using some simple tricks to shrink portion sizes.