Portion control is out of control in our society. This photo shows what portion sizes *used* to look like, and what they look like today. There is clearly a very large difference. This explains many things about our growing obesity epidemic. People simply do not understand what a *real* portion looks like because they are used to being served two or three times a normal serving. So, when a doctor asks, “Do you eat a lot?” Their answer, of course, is no.
I used to fall into that category. I did not think I ate all that much. The problem was that my portion sizes were seriously inflated. I was consuming far too many calories in each sitting. Despite the fact I was not eating fast food, I was still morbidly obese. I was always a little confused because I ate healthy foods. I cooked my meals at home using very little convenience or pre-packaged foods. Fruits and vegetables were always a big part of my daily diet. Yet, the fat was still there (and often times increasing).
Once I realized that it was not so much *what* I was eating as much as the *quantity* things started to improve. I started purchasing smaller things…fruits especially…to help curb the portion sizes. I started preparing meals as if I were feeding three people instead of five. This reduced everyone’s portion sizes and also reduced the amount of leftovers lurking in my fridge. The interesting thing? Even though I began cooking less food at each meal, we were all still satisfied and nourished. Go figure.
I am much more conscious of how much I am eating these days. Part of that is due to practice, and the other part is due to journaling. Keeping a food journal helps to keep me accountable. It prevents me from “letting things slide” and getting carried away with eating. As an addict, this is very important for me. In that same vein, as an addict, this was one of the harder things I had to implement. I was resistant to logging every little thing that entered my mouth. It is an invaluable tool to my success, though. I highly recommend everyone keep a food journal. If you have never kept one, you might be (unpleasantly) surprised at the amount of food you actually consume in a day.
Here is a chart I found while roaming the blogging world. It is a good visual reference for those looking to control portion sizes without stopping to measure every single thing before eating it (which I find frustrating, by the way).
Looking over this chart, you can probably see portion distortion with many products. Bagels are a big one. I cannot remember the last time I saw a bagel in a bakery that was smaller than my palm…can you? Of course, I have bagels in the house that are about that size, but they are considered “mini” bagels. The full size bagels are easily double that size.
Do you control your portion sizes using this visual method or some other method? Are there any foods you still have difficulty with when creating a portion (cheese is my portion weakness)?