As a dietitian so many people as me why am I not losing weight? Why? I’m eating healthily. Exercising but the weight is just not coming off. They want a quick fix but trust me, these don’t work.
It’s January and a lot of people will be looking to be healthy, eat well and exercise more. After the Christmas binge, weight loss can be quite high on the agenda.
Not Losing Weight
Sometimes it can be really hard to see what the problem is with an eating plan. Everything looks healthy. In fact everything is healthy! So why are you not losing weight or even gaining weight? I often find in my practice and from observation of people eating, I can see why weight loss isn’t happening. It can be due to one thing….
It is one of the hardest parts of my job gauging people’s portion sizes from a diet history. On paper a diet looks perfect but something isn’t adding up and the quantity of food is usually the issue.
There are lots of reasons for large portions sizes. Habit, the other half is cooking and dishing up, not weighing food, it doesn’t look enough on the plate, the plate is too large…the list is long.
You often don’t have to make massive changes to the foods you are eating and can lose weight by just cutting your portion sizes down.
We all know if we pick a fun-size bag of sweets vs a huge bag, we are eating less. We all know if we have one glass of fresh juice compared to three, we are drinking less calories. There is likely to more awareness with these portion sizes but often it is our meals we fall down on.
Carbohydrates are often the biggest culprit. There is so much talk about carbs being the enemy. This is simply not true. For some sub-groups of the population a good reduction could help but not us all. However, it is very easy to over indulge in carbs, especially processed, white carbs which are not the healthiest option. Out of all the food groups (the macronutrients) they are the easiest to cut down without removing lots of other nutritional goodness.
For example, if we cut down protein first, we would lose iron, vitamins and calcium possibly from our diet. We do get a some fibre from wholegrains and wholemeal carbohydrates (brown pasta and rice and granary breads), so these are always the best to choose, even if we are cutting the overall carbohydrate portions down.
My Top Tips for Cutting Down Portion Sizes
– Weigh your carbohydrate portions as per the packet. It’s around 75g dry weight for pasta and rice. It does seem less but give it a go. You can even have less than this and boost your meal with extra vegetables and salad.
– A portion of meat or protein should be size of a deck of cards. It doesn’t seem a lot but try smaller pieces of meat and fish. Use the same mentality for veggie or vegan options if using beans or lentils as examples.
– Use a smaller plate. You will eat less.
– Fill at least half of your plate with vegetables and salad. These are lower calorie but filling.
– Don’t feel if you cook up a meal you have to eat it all in one go. If you make a curry or chilli, save some for the next day or freeze it.
– Take a picture of your normal portion. Weigh your carbs and reduce the size of the your protein portion too. Take a photo of that and you are likely to be amazed at the difference. Use this as motivation as you will cut down calorie intake and lose weight.
– Eat your food slowly and take your time. Your body can take 20 minutes to register being full and you will probably find your smaller portion is enough; you just need to let you body catch up.
– If you are enjoying something nice; cake, chocolate or crisps, portion some out and stick to it! If you open a big bag of crisps, pour some into a bowl and seal the bag up. Have a few squares of chocolate and put the rest away. It’s hard but keep trying.
So there you have it.
It’s not a miracle, it can be something you can start doing today. It’s not mystical science either!!
Consistent, daily reductions to your portion sizes should really help you if trying to lose weight. It will reduce the amount of calories you are taking in and possibly help with feeling full and bloated after meals.
Good luck and let me know how you get on!
I totally agree with you! Portion sizes make a huge difference to me. I had a habit of eating the same amount as the Hubby and wondered why I wasn’t losing weight. Then I started eating less, I reduced my portion size, and suddenly I’m losing 3-4lbs per week! It doesn’t sound a lot but for me it’s huge.
Portion size is so important. I am much better at this now and also very good at freezing excess. I now Hubby used to work with a woman who simply couldn’t loose weight no matter what she did. But she failed to realise that a greek salad for lunch is very good for you but when you eat 5 peoples worth it is no better for your weight loss than a bag of crisps.
Great tips here, really helpful post!