Simplify Portion Distortion Without Gadgets

Guest blogger, Monique Muro earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a Creative Writing emphasis from Cal State Long Beach. She currently assists with the PR and Social Media marketing for the revolutionary supplement AllDaySlim, and works as a freelance writer on the side. An avid reader and writer, her articles can be found at Suite101, eHow,, Demand Studios, CNN iReport, and She writes on a variety of topics including fitness, books, movies, and current events.

Portion control will make or break your diet, without question. Eat more than your body can burn off, and in due time, the results will make themselves known in that subtle pinch at the waistline when you pull up your favorite jeans.

Most of this is due to a little known thing called “portion distortion”, a catchphrase that describes how we determine which portion sizes are “normal”. Take a bagel, for example: Twenty years ago, a bagel three inches in diameter, about the size of a compact disc, was an adequate size for breakfast, clocking in at 140 calories. Today bagel sizes average a whopping six inches in diameter, and upwards of 350 calories. Bigger sizes are now considered the “norm”, as the food industry recognizes the nation’s ever increasing demand for more food.

But the devil is in the details when it comes to carving out the right portion size. How much money do you have to spend on specially marked cups and scales to accurately diminish your portions?

Here are some tips to follow that make it easier to eyeball your serving sizes without having to spend money on extra gadgets.

  • Never eat more than the size of your palm. Everyone can gage roughly the size of their palms. When faced with a scrumptious meal, go ahead and taste a little of each side, but never scoop out more than would fit into the palm of your hand.
  • Drink water before a big meal. The Journal of the American Dietetic Association published a study recently that showed participants who drank a glass of water 20 to 30 minutes before each meal ate 75 calories less than those who did not. Water isn’t a good replacement meal, but it does help you get full faster, so you won’t eat as much as you’ve served yourself.
  • Cut it in half. Be it dessert, French fries, pancakes, or grandma’s chocolate bundt cake, cut it in half or split it with someone. No matter how many calories a piece of food has, splitting it in two is a surefire way to slash the calories, and the only tool you need is a knife.
  • Eat on a smaller plate. When you’re off to stack your plate with food, opt for a smaller one. No counting or measuring necessary. Simply fill up the small plate, and you’ll be eating far less than everyone else.
  • Print a portion guide. Web MD and Reader’s Digest both have free, printable portion guides that serve as easy ways to determine the sizes of portions without having to measure. A baseball equals one cup, a deck of cards equals three or four ounce of steak, and so on.

While it’s always going to be hard to resist the foods you love, the easiest way to manage is with moderation. Share it with someone. Savor the food you allow yourself, but pay close attention to your stomach signals. At the end of the day, your stomach has the final “full” say.

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