I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but everything has gotten “bigger” over the last few years. Take drink sizes, for instance. What we call a “small” today is what a “medium” or even a “large” was fifteen years ago! Is it any wonder that we’re facing an obesity crisis in this country? Even if you’re making relatively healthy choices, you can still sabotage your weight loss efforts if you aren’t watching your portions. Here are some tricks to help you stop yourself from eating more than your body needs.

1. Little Plates. It’s an oldie but a goodie. Smaller plates hold less food, but look like they have more food. Studies show that even a difference of 2” in plate diameter results in consuming up to 22% fewer calories. This goes for serving spoons too; you’re likely to serve yourself less food if you have to keep scooping.
2. Be Messy. Not like “I need a bib” messy, but if you’re going to snack, let the wrappers or nut shells pile up. The stack of trash serves as a visual cue and you’re likely to eat much less than if you’re mindlessly eating from a large bag. If you’re not into the pre-packaged stuff or your snacks don’t have any trash that can give you a visual warning, pre-portion your snacks yourself and put the rest away so you don’t end up eating more than you intended.
3. Know Thyself. Most of us have trigger foods; some of us could eat a whole giant bowl of popcorn in one sitting, others might favor the entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s. If you know you’re not capable of stopping yourself at one serving of chips, do yourself a favor and don’t even buy them.
4. Drink Up. Water, that is. None of these empty liquid calories! Sometimes when you think you’re hungry, your body is actually thirsty. It’s important to keep hydrated, especially in this desert climate of ours. Next time you think you feel hungry, grab yourself a glass of water and wait a few minutes. You could save yourself some unnecessary calories and you’ll be giving your body what it really needs—some nice, fresh H2O!
5. Dear Diary. Keep a food journal! I know a lot of people have a tough time with this one, but hear me out. Even if you don’t have the time or energy to write down every calorie, even a simple list of what you’re eating can help you see how much you are consuming. There are a lot of free apps out there that make keeping a food diary easy and take most of the work out of “counting calories.” So give it a try and see. You might be surprised at what you discover.

Remember, defining reasonable portion sizes every day will help you define your body size over time. Add healthy foods in healthy portions to a great workout routine and you’ll be on your way to your best body.