Portion control and counting calories are important parts of any weight loss plan. Even programs that don’t blatantly push the issue still have a measure of calorie control built in to the plan. For example, think of diets that eliminate high-calorie foods altogether, while allowing you to eat all the fresh fruits and veggies you want. Even if the eating plan doesn’t seem to focus on calorie control, that’s the end result. All weight loss programs reduce your caloric intake while encouraging you to increase your energy burn.

So even though the issue of calorie restriction might seem “hidden” within some weight loss plans, or featured prominently with other programs, they all work in similar ways. Having said that, you might wonder how people count calories, exactly. And if you are following a weight loss plan that explicitly limits calories, how do you keep from going over your daily allotment?

If you look on the side of any packaged food, you can learn how many calories are contained in each serving. So, if a breakfast cereal contains 200 calories per half cup, you would need to measure out exactly half of a cup in order to consume 200 calories.

Homemade dishes can be a different story. We know that 4 ounces of chicken breast contains a certain number of calories, a cup of rice contains a certain number of calories, and so on. But once we put all of these ingredients together in a casserole, we can lose track of how many calories we’re actually consuming.

Plus, there’s one more problem that can result from weighing and measuring all of your food. Some people can become so compulsive about the habit that they actually develop an eating disorder in the process. And while a strong interest in a healthy diet is a good thing, we all know that it’s possible to take the habit into an unhealthy place.

So that bring us to our dilemma: Should you measure all of your food portions?

Since most of us on Western diets tend to have distorted views of appropriate portion sizes, along with having no idea how many calories are actually contained within common foods, it is usually a good idea to do at least some measuring when you first begin your weight loss plan. This can teach you portion sizes and help you learn about your favorite foods.

On the other hand, there is no need to measure every single bite that you put into your mouth. That can lead to an obsessive habit that is definitely not healthy. So look at measuring portions as a learning tool, and know that you will eventually outgrow the need for it.

As for the weight loss plan itself, give us a call and we’ll schedule an appointment. We can discuss your goals and help you decide upon an appropriate caloric intake for your body size and nutritional needs.