Brad and I see a fabulous nutritionist (shout out to Debra if you are reading this!!) who has really helped us to make some important healthy changes to our diets through the years. One tip which has really stuck for both of us is that we should be using our dinner plate as a measurement for portion control.
Here's the trick...Take your round dinner plate and draw an imaginary line down it. One half of the plate should be filled with colorful vegetables (the more variety of color, the better). Now take the other empty half and split that into halves. One half should be filled with a healthy protein and the other half with healthy carbs. And there you have it...a balanced, healthy plate. (If you need help learning what is a healthy protein or carb, just let me know.)
Now, there's many potential problems that could arise to ruin this quickly (I'll just write about a few)...
First is restaurants...when we eat out at restaurants, portions go out the window. How many times have you been to a restaurant and you are 'starving'? We sit down and the first thing that is placed on our table is bread and butter. We can't stop ourselves at just one piece. Then we get our meal and it is enough food to fill 2 or 3 people. We don't listen to our bodies and we tend to leave feeling 'stuffed'. The idea is to eat balanced...eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full. Too many people have never learned how to eat mindfully. (I once spent an entire half an hour in my yoga immersion program on mindful, meditative eating where we closed our eyes and ate raisins!) The key is to check in with yourself to see how you are feeling during a meal. Trust me, you can tell when you are still hungry, comfortable, and overfull.
Second, if you have balanced, healthy snacks spread out throughout the day, it would be hard for your body to get to the point of being too hungry. One suggestion is to always carry healthy snacks with you in your bag or in your car. Trader Joes sells individual bags of almonds, Kashi bars are great, or even a piece of fruit.
Also, if you are cooking at home, my suggeston is to make the correct portion size. For example, I hinted to a friend a couple of weeks ago that instead of cooking a whole 1 pound box of pasta for the night, make enough for one serving per person. That way, you aren't tempted to overeat.
I could keep going and going on this topic so I'm stopping myself here. Hopefully some of these basic tips are helpful if you are trying to make some healthy changes to your diet. The kitchen is calling me. We're making shrimp, cous cous, and grilled asparagus tonight...all correct portions, of course! :)
LATER: Dinner was delicious. For all you visual learners, here is an example of how to use your plate for portion control using the dinner we ate tonight. Enjoy.