One of the most important components to any successful weight loss program is your diet. Being able to keep a tight rein on the amount of calories that you take into your body will determine, to a large degree, whether you succeed at weight loss or not. Learning to control your portions is an integral part of sticking with your diet plan, and you’ve got to get familiar with what a serving amount of any given food actually is if you expect to lose weight.
Here are some basic rules of thumb on portion control for common types of food:
- One fist = One Cup. An average fist size is roughly the volume of one cup of dry goods. If you’re getting ready to eat a bowl of cereal, make some rice, or measure out some pasta, look at your fist. That’s about how much of that given food you should be measuring out. (Obviously, if you have particularly dainty hands or hands that would make Bigfoot jealous, you should adjust the amount of food up or down accordingly.
- Your Palm = 3 ounces. One of the hardest things for many people to do is to measure meat. We’re so used to eating 20 ounce porterhouse steaks or even an 8 ounce sirloin that we can’t even begin to fathom a “normal” serving of meat, which is 3 ounces. Still, if you want a single serving of meat, that’s what you want. 3 ounces is roughly the side and thickness of your palm. Here again, adjust based on your hand size.
- Your Thumb = 1 ounce. If you’re out at a restaurant and making a salad, you may want to add a bit of cheese. Cheese in the amount that is the size of your thumb is approximately one ounce, and that’s a normal serving of cheese.
Now, these measurements are obviously not 100 percent accurate. You should take the time when you’re at home, however, to measure out some foods. Get a feel for what a cup of rice or a serving of chicken might look like. That way, when you’re not at home, you can make a more educated guess about how big your portions should be and, ultimately, be better poised to achieve your weight loss goals.