When I started Weight Watchers in 2009, I started measuring everything. This habit goes right along with tracking for me. How can you accurately track something if you haven’t measured it? If you haven’t measured it, you don’t REALLY know how many calories it is, do you?
I use a variety of measuring tools. I use my food scale and Tablespoons almost daily. I use measuring cups on a regular basis too. It has become such a part of my routine that it doesn’t even feel like extra work – that’s just how I do it.
I never spread butter on a grilled cheese without scooping it out with a measuring spoon first. I never prepare meat without weighing it on my food scale first. I never eat chips without weighing out a serving. Never, ever, ever, sit down with the whole bag. It always leads to disaster for me, even after all this time.
Why I love my food scale:
It stops me from cheating.
We all tend to under-estimate how much we eat. Cereal should not be eaten from a mixing bowl. Cookies and chips should not be eaten by the bag. I am confident that it is more accurate to weigh something than to use measuring cups or spoons. We can get pretty good at smashing things into a measuring cup or balancing extra on top of the tablespoon. I’m pretty sure when you measure with a Tablespoon, it is not supposed to look round like a golf ball….
It ensures I get my full serving.
If I am going to have something, I want to have the full serving I am entitled to for the points! Don’t think of measuring as depriving you. Think of measuring as your way to get the most food for the calories!
It makes me feel confident in my progress.
When I am weighing/measuring everything, I am also tracking HONESTLY. This helps me to know that I am doing the right things. I can feel confident that I will succeed in my weight loss efforts because I am doing what needs to be done. This confidence leads to making better choices in other areas and helps me stay motivated to keep going, even when it feels hard.
I get that it can be a challenge to do when you are out to eat or at a friend’s house. There are many resources out there to help you accurately eyeball your portions when you are not at home. You can find out what proper serving sizes are in the Food Groups section on MyPlate.gov. There is also a great section on Portion Distortion, which I think we are all guilty of! When you are at home, why wouldn’t you do it?
What stops us from measuring:
It takes too long.
It doesn’t once it becomes a habit.
It doesn’t if you are making something you have already made and you don’t have to re-calculate the nutritional information. (See post on Research.)
My measuring cups are diry.
Buy more. They are cheap. I have 2 or 3 sets of measuring cups and even more Tablespoons. If you are not ready to run the dishwasher, wash them by hand before you go to bed each night so they are ready for the next day. It’s annoying but it only takes a couple minutes and removes the excuse.
I don’t have a package to tell me the serving size.
Look it up! There are TONS of resources online and in calorie counting books to give you a general idea. It’s better to be close than to not do it at all. (See post on Research.)
I just don’t like it.
You’ll get used to it.
Yes, it is a change in your habit/routine.
Yes, it will feel weird at first.
Yes, it may not come naturally.
Change is not always easy but IT IS WORTH IT.
Another great way to control portions with less measuring is to use portion control dishes from Precise Portions. They sell beautiful portion control plates, bowls, and glasses that take the guesswork out of how much to eat! You can choose from porcelain dishware (microwave and dishwasher safe), plastic travel plates (BPA-free, microwave safe, and dishwasher safe), or eco-friendly disposable dinner plates, sectioned plates, side plates, bowls, and cups.
Making sure you are eating the right portion size is an easy way to help ensure you meet your goals. You could be eating the healthiest food out there. If you are eating twice as much as you should, it will still hinder your progress! The bottom line is that monitoring your portion size is important and will lead to weight loss success. If you want things to change, YOU have to change something.
What is your biggest obstacle to measuring your portions? How did you (or will you) overcome it? Share in the comments below!
Check out all my Habits of a Loser posts!!