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Watch Portion Size, Not Calories

By Laurel-Lea Shannon

watch portion size, not caloriesWe come in all different shapes and sizes. What is important is maintaining a healthy weight for your size and body type. But don’t spend your time counting calories. Instead, eat healthy whole foods and watch your portion size.

Cycling is a high-calorie-burning sport. But does that mean you can eat whatever you want without it affecting your waistline, thighs and booty? NO. It’s easy to overestimate the number of calories you burn cycling, while underestimating the calories you eat during and after a ride. Here are a few guidelines to help you size up what an appropriate portion size is.

1) Visualize a plate. Half of it should be filled with vegetables and fruit. One-quarter to one-third should be filled with protein (lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products). The other quarter should be filled with whole grains and starches like quinoa, brown rice and sweet potatoes.

2) Sample serving sizes:

3 ounces of meat, fish, or poultry (about the size of a deck of cards) = one serving

½ cup of chopped fresh fruit, or fresh or cooked vegetable = one serving

½ cup of quinoa, brown rice or pasta = one serving

2 tbsp of olive oil = one serving

3) Eat the foods you love. If you’re lucky, you mostly like foods that are natural and good for you. But for most of us, foods such as cakes, cookies, pizzas and potato chips are a constant temptation. Life is short. Don’t go cold turkey on the foods you love. Eat them occasionally but try eating half the amount, and save the other half for the next day.

4) Take small steps. If you eat 10 cookies every day, set a cookie goal to eat 2 fewer per day per week until you get down to 2 cookies per day.

5) Snack as needed. Don’t go hungry. For many women, eating 3 small meals and 2 snacks per day helps keep their blood sugar balanced and reduces food cravings. But that only works if you eat whole-food snacks such as fruit and yogurt, a couple of handfuls of trail mix, or peanut butter on a few crackers. As with meals, portion size counts.


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