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Most people adopt a new eating plan because they either want to lose weight, or maintain their previous weight loss. But sometimes we find that those following a weight loss plan are still frustrated at their results; they feel that they’re eating a healthy diet, yet the scale does not seem to reflect those changes. What’s going on?
We’ve previously blogged about weight loss plateaus, “water weight” and other issues that can lead to this result. But another common culprit might surprise you: Perhaps you aren’t correctly gauging your portion sizes, and therefore you aren’t cutting as many calories as you believe.
In fact, most people aren’t very skilled at estimating portion sizes. Everyone from the average person to nutrition professionals make mistakes, either because they forget everything they’ve eaten in a day, or they simply can’t estimate measurements.
Luckily, we also have some good news for you: With dedicated effort, you can develop these skills over time, and become more proficient at correctly gauging portion sizes.
First, track everything you eat. Try to view this exercise as information-gathering only, and don’t attach judgment to your choices. Just stick with your weight loss plan, while weighing and/or measuring each portion for a few weeks. Over time, you will learn to intuitively gauge portion sizes, and you won’t be chained to your kitchen scale forever (because that’s not realistic, is it?)
Also, remember to choose foods that help you tap into your hunger and satiety signals. Food that are high in protein and contain adequate fiber are a good place to start. Sometimes the brain does not register fullness without a lot of chewing, so consuming liquid meals might lead you to underestimate your calories consumed. Another problem is that foods high in salt or sugar can override satiety signals, leading you to crave more instead of feeling satisfied. So, choose whole foods, and preferably those that require plenty of chewing (like raw veggies, for example).
And of course, if you need help with your weight loss plan, give us a call. We can help you learn more about which foods you should be eating, appropriate portion sizes, and the overall daily calories you should consume.