Measuring is key to portion control.
Measuring is one measure to control your portion size, but no, you do not have to weigh and measure your food if you are trying to lose weight. Personally, I do recommend, however, that you familiarize yourself with portion sizes and one way to do that is to familiarize yourself with different measurements. Humans are notorious for underestimating measurements and portion sizes. When I am at home, I measure my food. It is pretty clear that I usually add more of any particular ingredient if I do so by hand without a measure cup or spoon. Now after months of measuring our the ingredients and putting them in a bowl before cooking, I am sure am better prepared to estimate the ingredients I am adding, but I will use a measuring cup or spoon. I am now able to eyeball the amount of each ingredient I am adding, and I can better estimate a serving size of food I am consuming.
A key part of losing weight is controlling your caloric intake. The only way to understand your calorie intake is to know how much you are eating. You have to count everything every day, for the rest of your life, but weighing and measuring at the beginning of your diet is key to a successful weight loss program and it can help you understand how much you are actually eating. If the thought of weighing and measuring everything and your measurements are not exact, do not worry because there are other ways to manage your portion size or caloric intake.
Although you can eyeball measurements, I recommend that you always measure high-calorie items. I keep them in my prep area prepared with multiple measuring tools to measure oil and butter for example. A tablespoon of olive oil, for instance, has about 120 calories. You can quickly bust the bank when you eyeball sometimes.
Ways to manage caloric intake without measuring:
- Increase your water consumption. Drinking 8-12 ounces of water before meals have been shown to decrease caloric intake.
- Make better food choices. Better food choices means less empty calories and less sugar. Pecans or almonds are clearly better than pecan pie or almond biscotti.
- Drink more water. Water consumption before meals has been shown to decrease caloric consumption.
- Cut your meal in half. Simply reducing your meal to half will reduce your caloric intake and it will save a serving for tomorrow.
- Stop when you are full. When you feel full, push away from the table. Save the rest for tomorrow. If your meal is sitting on the table in front of you, you will be tempted to continue eating. Each nubble is more inches around your waistline.
My weight has been an issue for most of my adult life after high school. I started, by counting calories and that really did not work for me. A few years ago, I realized I need to make a change to improve my health. I was tired all the time, and I had reflux at night. I knew I needed to lose those unwanted pounds, but I did not know how to do it. I am a physician, and they did not train me in medical school to lose weight. I found loseit.com, and it taught me to count calories in a better means. Because it is easy to track calories over time, it makes it simple to track every food and exercise you do per day.
The bottom line: Portion control is essential, but you do not need to be perfect or exact to achieve that. That being said, I recommend you at least start by measuring ingredients and portions.