Dieting But Not Losing Weight?

By Patrick Carrothers for the Owner of

You May Suffer From Portion Distortion!

ID-100120579It’s terribly frustrating to be dieting and not losing weight. Here are a few strategies to help you get past this bump in the road.

Are you eating out often? It’s difficult to dine in restaurants frequently and manage your calories. Restaurants are the number one source of portion distortion! You can be making what you think are healthy menu choices, selecting salads and grilled chicken or salmon and so forth, and when your food arrives the portions are huge. You can easily consume 1000 calories more than you want.

These days many foods we buy at the grocery store are super-sized too. Baking potatoes are like something out of Jurassic Park. No one needs to eat a whole one of those, and certainly not topped with bacon and sour cream. The way to measure a healthy portion of potato is to think of a computer mouse. You remember those don’t you?

Most bananas are twice the size they used to be. Try to pick the smaller ones or cut those giant bananas in half and share.

For healthy portion control, if it’s too much and you know it, only eat half.  And keep the fundamentals of portion size in your mind and put them to good use. It’s easy. With a little practice you can take one look at a plate and know the difference between a healthy portion and one that will super-size your waist.

myplate_greenHere’s a graphic that’s easy to remember from the US Department of Agriculture. Half  your plate should be fresh fruits and vegetables, about one quarter is for meat, fish or your protein entree, and about one quarter is for a bread or rice. Dairy gets a little side dish, and that’s a good way to remember to downsize your portions of cheese, not order extra!

When you’re dining out, that eight or 12-ounce steak will fill half of your plate, so cut it in half and save it for later.

Other ways to remember healthy portion control:


ID-10051640The standard portion recommendation is 3-4 ounces, or about the size of a pack of cards. It is nearly impossible to find a steak portion under 6-8 ounces. So what to do? Order your doggie bag early.



3 – 4 ounces of fish is about the size of a checkbook. You remember those don’t you?

Breads and Grains

Think one slice of bread or one small roll, and measure that foot long submarine sandwich against that! The sub may have nothing but veggies on it, but the bread alone could be four to six times a healthy portion for one meal, and it may pack about 450 calories.

With pasta, a healthy portion is like a tennis ball. You’re shaking your head right now, aren’t you? I know this sounds impossible, since restaurants always serve four to five times this amount. What’s a healthy eater to do? Doggie bag it.

Fruit Juices

Six ounces is a healthy serving of fruit juice. That’s less than a cup though, so go easy on the juice.

Snack Foods

When the urge for chips strikes, cup your hand. What you can hold in one hand is about the size of a healthy portion of potato chips or crackers.

If these dietary guidelines seem unrealistic, it’s because so many of us have been conditioned to believe that larger portions of food are more satisfying. This is a relatively recent development. When Coca-Cola introduced the first Coke bottle, it was 6.5 ounces. Now the average soda bottle is 20 ounces. When McDonald’s introduced their french fries, the adult size was equal to today’s kid’s size.

The portion distortions have become so prevalent in our culture that it seems normal and natural. But it is not. Eating less is good for us. You will adjust to smaller portions and someday you’ll feel a lot more energy because you’ve been eating less. I guarantee it.

And when you break through to a healthier lifestyle and start feeling more energy, I want you to come back here and leave me a note like, “Nancy you were right!”


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