Weight Loss Tips – 8 Portion Control Secrets

1. Downsize your tableware. It’s a surefire way to eat less as this tricks your brain into thinking that you’ve had enough, says Nehal Kamdar, dietitian at Raffles Hospital. If you need a little push in the right direction, The Diet Plate, a new weight management system from the UK, is perfect for you. The Diet Plate is split into measured sections (depending on the plate you chose) to help you control portion sizes. It’s packed into one box and comes with a handy all round guide and a success chart to plot your progress. What’s great about it is that you can still eat what you want without having to count calories or carbohydrates. You can order it online at www.thedietplate.com .

2. Eat slowly.  Chew your food until it has turned to mush. This means at least 4-5 chews per bite of food. And no, you can’t just take bigger bites so that this is a reasonable amount of chews. Eating slowly helps to keep the amount of food you’re eating small and also prevents you from gorging, giving you more time to accurately reflect on whether your stomach feels full and helping with weight loss.

3. Play hide-and-seek with your food. When you get home from the grocery store, put the most tempting and fattening foods high in the pantry, the back of the refrigerator, or other inconvenient spots. Out of sight, out of mind. Better for weight loss.

4. If you have to eat fast food, order a kids meal. These days, a kid’s meal contains what used to be normal sized portions for adults, says Nehal. There’s no need to make it worse by up sizing no matter how much of a “better deal” you are getting.

5. Split the calories with friends. Reducing your portion sizes by half is not as tough as you think. Share that slice of chocolate cake with a friend or doggie bag half your dinner for lunch tomorrow.

6. Avoid other activities while you are eating. This includes reading a magazine or watching television. You will be less likely to notice when you begin to feel full, leading to overeating.

7. Eat a salad before a big meal. It curbs your appetite and gives you a sense of satiety sooner, says Nehal. You’ll be less likely to chow down a big slab of meat later!

8. Drink lots of water every day . You may think you are hungry when in actual fact you are just thirsty. It also makes your liver a lot happier. Try fresh fruit juices for a great taste and additional nutrients.

How much should you be eating?

Use these easy-to-follow references during your meals for good portion sizes.
1. Rice = 1 tennis ball
2. Pasta = 1 small fist (female fist if you are a woman as stomach size is proportionate to your hand)
3. White meat (fish and chicken) = 1 palm size (same as above)
4. Red meat (beef and pork) = 1 palm size
5. Vegetables = 2 ping pong balls
6. Fruits = 1 or 2 handphones
7. Dessert = 1 pack of playing cards
8. Soft drinks or cordials = 1 glass (250ml)
9. Snacks (potato chips, sweets, nuts) = a handful the size of a wallet

How many calories do you need?

Multiply your weight in kilograms by the appropriate number below:
* 25 if you are not active (you have a sedentary job sitting most of the day)
* 30 if you are somewhat active (do housework, garden, walk after work)
* 35 if you exercise (go to the gym for some exercise 3 to 4 times a week), and
* 40 if you are very active (you are a fitness instructor exercising every day)

This calculation will give you an estimate of how many calories you need to eat every day to maintain the weight you are at now.

To put on 1kg…
You will have to consume 3,500 calories, according to Nehal Kamdar, dietitian at Raffles Hospital. That is equivalent to eating 10 curry puffs in one sitting, or an extra 500 calories per day for one week. So, don’t feel guilty about last night’s slice of chocolate cake, just make sure you incorporate some activity to lose those extra calories.

The Mediterranean way

Calorie restriction will keep your heart young according to a new study by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. In a study of two groups of people, scientists found that the group who consumed lesser calories experience lower blood pressure and lesser inflammation.

But curbing calories needs to be accompanied by optimal nutrition as well. What it means: eating half a hamburger, half a bag of French fries or drinking half a can of soft drink isn’t enough to keep your doctor away. A healthy and low-calorie diet should resemble the traditional Mediterranean diet, which is based on a wide variety of vegetables, olive oil, beans, whole grains, fish and fruit. Avoid refined and processed foods, soft drinks, desserts, sugar, white bread and pasta.

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