A study conducted in 2004 found that from 329 overweight people only 38% who practiced portion control lost 5% or more of their body weight compared to 33% who did not. With Nutrition Week, 9th to the 15th of October, under way as declared by the Department of Health the organisation Weigh-Less, a health and weight management organisation that helps its members attain and maintain their target weights in healthy ways, is on a mission to educated South Africans on good nutritional practices. They provide a comprehensive Eating Plan that includes detailed information on portion sizes for over 1000 foods and across all the food groups.

Further management of portion sizes is outlined below:

Measure and weigh your food with a scale
Only if it is possible, measuring your portions with a scale is very critical as it is the most accurate way in controlling intake. Your brain has ways of tricking you into thinking portion sizes are too small and leads you to overeating. When you start your weight loss journey it is better to measure first until you are able to familiarize yourself with the sizes of regular food that you eat.

Measure with your eyes
They will always be situations where a scale is inconvenient and impractical to have with you and measure your portion sizes. In these instances by using your eyes you can form a good comparison of the portion size with a similar object in order to make precise size estimations without underestimating it. Here are four quick ways to get an idea of serving sizes:

1. A single serving of baked potatoes is roughly the same size as your computer mouse.
2. Use your fist as a rough estimate of the serving size for fruit.
3. ½ a cup of vegies is one serving but for leafy vegetables its 1 cup.
4. A small apple is the size of a tennis ball and will equal one fruit serving.

It will take time to fully to be better at judging serving sizes and portions especially when it comes to putting full meals together. But like anything with practicing the use of visual cues the better control you will have over portion sizes. Remember when in doubt though gets the scale ready.

Pre-portion your favourite foods
The best kinds of foods come in the biggest bags. In order to save time and kilojoules dived them up into suitable portion sizes and pack them away into smaller containers or quick sealing packets and it will be useful as it gets rid of the hassles of trying to estimate right portion sizes from a large packet or box.

Mind the serving and portion gap on food labels
Very often the serving and portion sizes on food labels do not correspond to what you are actually eating so be careful not to confuse the two. For example the label says that the nutrition and kilojoule percentages are calculated per 40g but the serving size is 100g, so rather examine the label properly in order to determine the correct serving size in relation with your Weigh-Less Eating Plan.

Use smaller plates
One thing that helps is when the plate looks fuller and even though you don’t need to eat more than your recommended portion size sometimes your brain can trick you into believing that you should. Smaller plates and bowels filled with food can satisfy your eyes and your stomach without you actually eating more.