What if I told you there was one simple trick to lose weight and get the figure you’ve always dreamed of? Just one little thing you could change to make your dreams become real? It almost sounds too good to be true.
Because it is! Have you ever met someone who is successful, healthy, and fit because of implementing one simple trick? Most likely, their success is built on a foundation of hard work, consistency, and choosing to do the hard things every day. If you want to be healthy, it has to be a deliberate choice. You can’t accidentally get healthy, but it doesn’t have to be impossibly difficult.
One way to build that consistency is to make one change at a time, and to set up structures to help you stay on track. Think of it as lines on the highway; there is nothing physically preventing you from going across the lines into oncoming traffic, but without them it could be easy to accidentally drift into the other lane. By choosing to utilize their confines, you are able to accomplish your goal (get to your destination without crashing). So rather than focusing on the next “simple trick” to magically make you healthy, starting collecting and implementing one new technique at a time.
Portion control is a great place to start in making healthy habits. I’ve talked with many people who continually put off starting to eat healthy because they don’t want to give up certain foods. But here are 2 easy things you can do to start your journey that don’t require giving up your favorite indulgences:
1. Look at the label and measure out what 1 serving actually looks like. A quick glance at the nutrition facts will show the calories, fat, and sugar in 1 serving. The tricky thing is that manufacturers compute those numbers based on a serving size that is much smaller than most people would think. So while you may think you’re eating 100 calories worth of chips, it could actually be closer to 400 (GUILTY).
2. Use a smaller bowl/plate/cup to serve the food. Many studies have shown that when served in a larger sized dish, people consistently eat more food than those served in smaller dishes. Did you know there is a difference between hunger and appetite? Hunger is the physical need to eat, driven by chemical reactions taking place in the body. Appetite is a psychological and sensory response, and can be influenced by social cues.
So how does this apply to real life? I took a picture of a bowl of Cheerios and a mug of Cheerios. I was excited to share this clever “hack” for portion control. Then to emphasize the point, I measured the 2 to compare the amounts. What I didn’t expect was just how many servings both the mug and the bowl held. I was astounded!
First, here’s the label for my go-to morning sickness snack. Honey Nut Cheerios tend to be the only thing I can stomach most mornings.
One serving is 110 calories, and 9 grams of sugar. That’s not too bad, right? I have been eating my cereal out of a mug lately, mostly for fun, partially for portion control. And I was curious how much more could fit in a bowl compared to the mug, so I measured both.
Just looking at the picture, you can tell that the bowl holds significantly more than the mug. When I measured the contents of each, I was genuinely surprised at how much they EACH held. The bowl held 3 cups, or 4 servings! How many times have I sat down to eat a bowl of cereal for a bedtime snack, not realizing it contained over 400 calories and 36 grams of sugar. For a snack! So then the mug is the best choice? The mug, filled up enough to hold milk without spilling, still held almost 1.5 cups or 2 servings. I’m not saying that’s too much cereal, nor do I advocate counting calories. But if you look at the label and are expecting those macros, you’ll be in for a surprise! It would be easy to eat 2 mugs of cereal, thinking they are far less calorically dense than they appear.
So here’s a challenge:
Think of your favorite food to indulge in. That snack or meal that you just can’t stop eating. For me, it’s salt and vinegar potato chips. Look at the nutrition label, and measure out what one serving looks like. If you buy this food in a large quantity, portion it out into single serving containers. Even if you overdo it and eat 2 portions, it is still likely to be less than you would eat straight out of the bag.
If you try this strategy, let me know how it goes! Add this to your tool belt of techniques, and don’t stop working toward your goals.