So you gave up high carb, high fat, high sugar foods to stay healthy and lose weight? That’s good. But you are still unhappy with what reading your weighing scale shows you? Well, there could be one reason for it. You forgot to practice portion control while making a switch to healthy foods. Yes, just because something is healthy doesn’t mean you can have more of it.
Read to know how to practice portion control the right way.
You switched from white rice to brown rice, white bread to brown bread, traded that cheese pizza for a bowl of sprouts salad, stopped adding sugar to your tea, coffee and fruit juices - but the results weren’t satisfactory - you still haven’t been able to lose weight the way you desired. This makes you question - what went wrong?
If this is the case with you, know you are not alone. There is a simple reason why many people find it difficult to lose weight despite making healthy food choices. They forget to practice - portion control. Remember, healthy foods are not calorie-free. If you eat more of them, they will add more calories to your diet and unknowingly, you might also exceed your daily caloric requirement. The downside: You might end up gaining weight rather than losing some kilos.
Healthy eating is not all about choosing the right foods; it is also about eating the right way and in moderation, which we precisely call portion control. This means limiting your food intake to your specific caloric needs and not going overboard with them.
If you are trying hard to lose weight or bulk up, first get a customized diet plan for yourself. Different people have different body types and their caloric needs also differ. So, getting a customised diet plan always helps.
However, broadly the daily caloric requirement of an average Indian is approximately 2400 calories. With portion control, you can make sure that you don’t go beyond your daily caloric requirement.
Tips for doing portion control the right way
Eat from a small plate: Try and have smaller plates, bowls and also spoons. Smaller dinnerware would restrict you from piling food on your plate and will force you to eat just as much as you need.
Check what goes into your plate: An ideal nutritious plate should be filled like follows -
- Half plate with vegetables - cooked, steamed or tossed
- A quarter of the plate with proteins - meat, eggs, legumes, pulses, tofu, cottage cheese or paneer
- Other quarter with complex carbohydrates like - brown rice, chapati, millets, daliya, etc
Measure what you eat: It is better to have an idea of the calories you are consuming. Enter what you eat in a digital food diary that can give you an idea of the caloric intake for your portion size. You can also download Fitterfly’s food diary app for accurate results.
Practice mindful eating: Mindful eating is a practice that needs some effort. Try to be more conscious when you eat - concentrate on the smell, texture, taste and colour of your food. Chew your food slowly and eat small bite sizes to relish your food. Try to inculcate a sense of gratitude towards the food you eat. Slow eating is the essence of mindful eating. It helps you feel satiated and full when your brain gives a cue and prevents you from overeating. This is how it aids in weight loss too.
Keep in mind:
When you cook, try to cook the perfect quantity you need for your family. Leftovers also mean you might eat more the next day. Sometimes leftovers become an extra side dish for us. So, ensure you cook the right amount. If it is dal or legumes that you cook, take a fistful for each family member, half a fistful for kids.
Smart cooking tips for healthy eating:
- Keep a watch on how much oil and ghee you use.
- Adding jaggery or sugar in your curries can amplify the caloric load; chuck this practice or limit the amount of jaggery or sugar you use in curries.
- Keep mini bowls for desserts. Try to avoid taking second helpings.
- Add more vegetables to your dals and soups, so you get loads of nutrition out of it for a fixed portion.
- Drink a glass of water before your meals. This will prevent you from going overboard with food.
- Avoid being hungry for too long. Eat your meals at fixed times. Else you might end up eating more than your caloric goals to satisfy your hunger.
The bottom line: We know it isn’t easy to start doing all that we are saying in one go. But start practising portion control - you will learn to eat healthily and reach your weight loss goals soon.