How To Portion Control

Portion control, it sounds so easy. Just eat a little bit of that and a little bit of this and you should not be hungry. Easy, now you will lose weight for the rest of your life. Thanks for reading. My work here is done. Wait, you don't understand what portion control really is? Neither do I.

I hear it often, "I just need to work on my portion control" and I usually follow up with the question like "what does that look like exactly?" because everyone is different. Most of the time the person will say "I just need to stop eating so much chocolate" or some other food that isn't good for us. I once had someone say they need to stop eating so much McDonald's and I asked this person how often they ate McDonald's and they said "every meal, every day". I had to stop my jaw from dropping to the floor. We need to break down portion control a little more than just "stop eating *insert food here* so much" because you can eat that certain food more than you think.

I think portion control is a little more deeper than what we all think. I think it goes back to when we were kids and our parents always saying "you can't leave the table till you finish all your food" and you saying "but mom/dad I'm full!" and usually their response was "Well guess you'll be having leftovers for breakfast tomorrow". So what did we do? Sit at the table and eat the rest of your plate even though you were full. We were grown up on always needing to be overly full because our grandparents had a rough life before our parents, where they didn't know if they would get food or not that night. I'm mostly talking about the great depression, if you're grandparents weren't in the great depression then maybe your great grandparents were. Then it just cycles down to each family generation and now it's stuck in our head that we can't leave the table till the whole meal is gone.

Look at restaurants, they give serving sizes for 2 or more people. I went to The Cheese Cake Factory recently and they had a whole separate menu for "Meals under 1,000 calories" and again, had to stop my jaw from dropping. I had a meal that had 2,000 calories in it, let me say that again, 2,000 calories! That's someone's daily intake of calories right there. Then on top of that, I had cheese cake that had another 1,500 calories! In 1 meal, I had 3,500 calories in less than a hour. Now, what did I think the whole time I was eating this meal? "I really don't want leftovers so I better finish this" even though I don't mind leftovers, I just didn't want that meal for leftovers and I didn't want to waste food. My grandma would of been so mad if I wasted food. She would of said "then why did you get it?" And she's absolutely right, why would I get a meal for 2 when I am 1 person?

This is where portion control should come in. If we get a meal that is made for 2, then we should split it and save it for later. I might get "I HATE leftovers, what can I do?", it might sound simpler than you think. You have to plan your day around that meal.

Here's a example. You're going to go to The Cheese Cake Factory, you look up the menu and look at the calories. One of the meals on the 1,000 calories or less sounds great, its around 800 calories. You're allowed to eat 1,500 calories a day so you only can eat a total of 700 calories for both breakfast and lunch. That's 350 calories for both breakfast and lunch. That's more than enough calories for a great breakfast and lunch. Most of the meals at the Cheese Cake Factory probably don't have the grams of protein, carbs and fat. Just always assume it will be more carbs than protein so try to eat as much protein for breakfast and lunch. If we look at eating 3 eggs for breakfast, that's about 21g of protein and 234 calories. You have 116 calories left over, so you could eat a cup of fruit and 1 piece of toast with 1/2 avocado to get to about 350 calories. For lunch, you could eat a 4oz chicken breast which is about 271 calories and 31g of protein, you have 79 calories left over. I would suggest just to save those calories for later. You could have a very, very small slice of cheese cake if you're going to get it. Say you want a bigger piece of cheese cake, just eat less calories for dinner, shoot for 500 calories at dinner.

Breaking your day down meal for meal makes it much easier than just eating whatever you want and getting completely off the wagon. You don't have to starve yourself to have a delicious meal for your cheat meal. You just have to work around other meals and make those the healthier option. You should try to think this way every time that you want to eat a cheat meal. At first, it takes some time and you will be like "I don't want to do this" but if you keep up with your meals and know how much each meal will come roughly out to be, the easier it will be. Myfitnesspal is a great app to us to really judge what you're eating. At first, you have to weigh everything out but eventually, you'll know what 400 calories looks like with protein, carbs and fat.

Going back to my meal at the Cheese Cake Factory, I did not plan for that meal, I ate close to 5,000 calories that day and it wasn't great. Did I have any regrets? Nope. We shouldn't beat ourselves up for getting off the wagon for 1 day. This isn't a race to the finish, this is suppose to be a lifestyle change. A sustainable lifestyle change. If we ate perfect every day, we would have perfect bodies but then we wont enjoy our food. We hear from everyone to not eat this and not eat that but news flash, you can eat whatever you want, just not a lot of it. The more you push your craving away, the more it will come back and make you eat a whole cake without your trainer helping.

We shouldn't look at portion control as a bad thing, look at it as a "what can I eat less of so I can eat more of what I want so badly". Eat around your meals that you want. You'll be happier and it will be easier than what you think. Now, next time you go to a restaurant and want a piece of pie or cake and the waiter says "did you save any room for desert?", you can say "Hell ya I did!".