You're not going to want to pull out a textbook or a scale at every single meal, to know that you're eating correct portion sizes, and in correct ratios. Who does? There has to be simpler way. If you learn how to eyeball your portions, and work on it diligently for a few days, that skill will stick with you for life. Then, you'll be able to either put your meals together accordingly, or separate the correct portion from the excess while eating out, and simply take the excess home to contribute to another meal. Trust me, if you receive or divide the correct amount to begin with, you'll feel fulfilled having eaten the appropriate amount - and you won't have to wrestle with the discomfort or the guilt of having overeaten. People in my life who have recently taken on the gratifying project of cleaning up their eating habits expressed to me the other day: "I realized that you only really enjoy that food for so long - and then you're stuck with the negative feelings the unbalanced food leaves you for good. It can't be undone." I've always told clients - the taste only lasts a few seconds on your tongue. And then it's inside your body, either contributing positively or negatively - either to your progression or your regression. It makes far more sense to forgo what tastes good for seconds and then gets to work zapping your energy, increasing the size and quantity of your fat cells, leaving debris around your arteries.

So, now that we know WHY to watch portions and ratios, here is some quick advice HOW to do it:

Your plate should be half vegetables, a quarter of a protein, and a quarter of a starch (I use the term starch to mean a wheat or grain product, or even legumes/beans... as vegetables are carbohydrates as well. We need both). In the morning, I believe in consuming mostly starch and fruit, as we need carbohydrates to fuel the brain (they are the only fuel for the brain). Some people find consuming high protein in the morning helps them feel fuller through the day - I can't argue with that. You'll find what works for you. But DON'T skip a carbohydrate with breakfast, just trust me on that one. Also, keep your fruit consumption to 1-2 servings in this meal (and preferably no more than 3 for the whole day - I've mentioned this in previous posts - fruit is fantastic, but too much can exacerbate sugar cravings throughout the day).

A serving of protein (tofu, legumes, meat, fish, eggs) should be the size of your outstretched palm. A serving of starch (pasta, rice, oatmeal, bread etc) should be the size of your fist. A serving of cheese should be the size of your thumb.

See the chart provided to help with visualization techniques. While eating out, visualize these things, divide them up, and enjoy your meal without worrying and wondering about packing on too much that will lead to psychological and physical discomfort! This will become second nature - and then so will buying your clothes... in a smaller size.

Photos found at: www.fitsugar.ca www.leancuisine.ca www.ehow.co.uk