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Portion Control – How to Reduce Calories for Weight Loss


How to lose weight through portion control? “Clean your plate. Remember hearing that as you were growing up? Nowadays, you probably still eat everything on your plate, but, unfortunately, there is perhaps too much (or too much of the wrong) food on your plate. Over 50% of overweight people are habitual plate cleaners, and their standard food portion is whatever they see in front of them.

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Between 1977 and 2000, portion sizes increased by 100 calories per portion. When you add 100 calories a day for 1-year, it results in a gain of 36,500 calories, the equivalent of 10 pounds of body weight. Serving size determines the number of calories you eat. You can increase or reduce the calories with portion control.

Portion control is an essential element to successful weight loss.

Many of us have a hard time controlling our food intake or figuring out what a serving size is, so we often end up drinking or eating whatever is in the container or on the plate. When you start to understand what constitutes a single portion or serving size (and make sure you stick to that portion size), you’ll have an easier time shedding those unwanted pounds!

Portion control is about eating consciously and making smarter choices that won’t set you up for weight loss failure. Here are the top three tips to help you take control of your portions:

  1. Buy only pre-portioned snacks. Controlling portion sizes of your favorite foods is difficult. For example, how much do you usually eat of your favorite snack, ice cream, or cookies? Unfortunately, it may be the entire bag, package, or container. If you must have these high-calorie snacks in your diet, then buy only the smallest packaging available. Many of these foods are now available in 100 calorie packs: eat one and then stop.
  1. Use smaller plates and bowls. People eat with their eyes, not with their stomachs. Therefore, using smaller plates and bowls will make less food (smaller portions) look like more. According to the American Public Health Association, a two-inch reduction in plate size, from 12″ to 10″ results in 22% fewer calories, meaning that if a typical dinner plate holds 600-700 calories, a smaller plate could produce a weight loss of around 10-12 pounds per year for an average-sized adult.
  1. Use your hand or palm to measure portion sizes. This will ensure that you eat portions relative to your body size. Since you base your meal size comparatively to the size of your hand, men will more likely be eating a larger serving size than that of women, and children, with tiny hands, need even smaller portions. While this method is only an approximation, it helps you keep our serving size at reasonable sizes.
  • A serving of protein (meat, poultry, or fish) should be about the size of your palm.
  • Your salad should be the size of both hands put together.
  • Green vegetables should be the size of your fist.
  • Starchy foods (potatoes) serve in a portion smaller than your fist.

Bonus Tip! Prepare your plates in the kitchen, do not serve meals “family style.” Instead, place one protein and one or two vegetables on smaller plates and carry them to your dinner table.

The only other foods on your table should be salads, additional vegetables, and water. When you use portion control correctly, it can lead to a calorie deficit, which will cause you to lose weight.

Finally, use a food scale if you want a more precise way to measure serving sizes. The research shows a food scale affects what you see on a bodyweight scale.

The more accurate you are with your serving sizes and calories, the better your results on your weight loss or gain journey. What has been your experience with portion size? Please share in the comment section below. 

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