In last week’s post of Wellness Wednesday I provided tips on how to practice portion control. Today I will highlight the different tools or cues that you can use to measure your portions for sustained weight loss. We live in a time where everything is super-sized. As a result we have become accustomed to large sizes and it’s essentially become the norm. The Journal of American Medicine estimates that more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese. And non-Hispanic blacks have the highest rates of obesity at 47.8%, compared to non-Hispanic whites at 32.6% . If we want to stop the obesity epidemic we need to educate ourselves on what healthy food portion is. Here are a few simple cues that you can use as a guide:
Inanimate objects can be used to help you visualize correct portions. Use the following chart as a general guide:
Your hand and fingers can also be used as a guide to help you make the right choice. Follow this guide below:
Serving Size on Food Labels
The nutrition label provides the amount per serving based on a 2,000 calorie diet. A portion is a the amount of food you choose to eat at one time. The serving size is the amount of food recommended per serving.
Here is when a scale can be your best friend. Weighing your food is another way to measure the food you eat.
I’ve always believed that the more complicated you make the weight loss process the harder it is to follow a regimen that is realistic or sustainable. The above cues are provided as a general guideline to follow if you are lost in the multitude of information that is found on the internet, in magazines or television shows. The constant barrage of fad diets that tell you “to eat this or avoid that” if you want to lose weight can often be confusing for someone just starting out on a healthy regimen. I think programs like Weight Watchers work well because clients are allowed to eat most about anything they want as long as they stay within a point system. Essentially the Weight Watcher’s point system translates to controlling the calories consumed. Although I think everything in moderation is a good place to start, you may have a specific health condition such as diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, heart disease or an autoimmune disease wherein certain foods or food groups may not work for you. As always talk to your doctor or seek the advice of a nutritionist if you need more guidance about your particular disease.
Take-away point is that controlling your portion sizes translates to controlling your caloric intake, which is what you want if you want to lose weight and if you want to keep the weight off. Let’s stop super-sizing our portions.
by Marjorie Binette, MD