One of the single most important things you can do when watching your waistline is to watch your portion sizes. In my experience, controlling my portion size has been the main contributing factor to losing weight. So many people focus on eliminating certain foods from their diet or only eating greens and then they feel deprived and give up on their diet. I have found that when I control my portion sizes, I don’t have to worry as much about what I am eating. I am able to keep my weight in check and feel satisfied, which to me, is a recipe for success! Try these five pointers to help keep your portion sizes reasonable.

© Hugh O'Neill - Fotolia.com

Measure it: I know it may seem tedious, but break out the measuring cups to actually see what a 1/2-cup or one-cup serving looks like. Once you get a feel for serving sizes, you will be able to quickly gauge what a serving size should be. Don’t have any measuring cups on hand? No problem, most serving sizes should not be larger than the palm of your hand, so use that as a guide when you don’t have any way to measure your portions.

Split it: Split your restaurant meal with a friend or ask your server to box half of it for take home before it even reaches your plate. Not only will you save a ton of calories, you will also save a little money too!

Stay away from foods that make you overeat: Don’t underestimate the power of addictive foods. I have a serious problem with ice cream … especially when it’s in my house! How do I control those cravings? I never ever buy it. If I had it in my house, I would probably eat ice cream nightly. But since I don’t have it at home, I am far less likely to drive and go get it when the cravings hit. Usually I am able to find a healthier substitute at home instead of driving to an ice cream shop!

Don’t be a member of the clean plate club: Your parents may have wanted you to clean your plate when you were a child, but times have changed! We have realized over time that cleaning your plate may not be the best thing. Be sure to eat a little bit of everything on your plate, but if you feel satisfied, don’t force yourself to eat more. This is also a great lesson to teach your kids so they learn to eat a balanced diet and don’t overeat when they feel full.

Eat On Small Plates: I swear this one works! I have recently been eating on smaller plates and I think it is has helped reduce my portion sizes but I still feel just as satisfied when done. Give this one a try, it has really helped me lose weight!

*This advice should not replace the advice of your doctor.