31 Days of Latinas losing weight: Tip #16

We're doing pretty good on our 31 Days of Latinas Losing Weight challenge. We're past the halfway point, and I am definitely feeling the benefits. I've lost 3 pounds so far and I am PUMPED to keep going. One of the things that I always love about challenges like this is discovering new ways of cooking. That's why Tip #16 will come in handy, too, but you'll be surprised about WHY!

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Well, in case you didn't already know, cutting portions is a BIG part of losing weight. And that's our tip for today: you have to cut your portions! However, I have some super simple rules to share that will make cutting portions much easier than you could imagine. Here are my 4 rules about cutting down on portion sizes:

1. Buy smaller plates: Today's dinner plate sizes are actually dramatically bigger than they were just 50 years ago. If you want to really cut down on sizes, then use a soup or salad plate for your usual lunches and dinners. Those 2 inches off of the diameter of your plate really DO make a difference!

2. Pack half veggies: This is just a good rule for no matter what meal you're eating (since more veggies equals more healthy bodies), but I always make sure that half of my plate is filled with healthy (as in, not cooked in oil or drenched in dressing!) vegetables, especially dark leafy greens like kale, collards and spinach.

3. Eat on a blue surface: That's right! A study last year proved that certain plate colors can actually make you eat less. The way it works is that plates that match the color of your food will make people serve themselves more. Instead, opt for blue plates (cause what food is blue?!) and you'll be telling your brain to eat less automatically.

4. Save your leftovers: When it comes to dining out at a restaurant, my number 1 rule is to ALWAYS automatically divide my plate in half and ask the server to pack half away. That way, I have a delicious lunch for tomorrow AND I don't overeat. Restaurant portions are seriously out of control, so this is a great way to save on the calories!

All of these strategies are what work best for me. Another good tip: Drink a full glass of water before sitting down to eat. Typically, I do this about 20 to 30 minutes before eating since it helps to begin to fill me up.

At the end of the day, portion control is really important. It's a good way to train your stomach to eat less and, to be honest, a good way to make sure that you will both lose weight and keep it off. It's important to remember that you should use these strategies throughout your life and NOT just when you're losing weight. If you go back to your old eating habits, well, then you'll go back to your old waistline.

Good luck, chicas! And come back for Tip #17 tomorrow.

Image via Corbis

Topics: healthy eating  latinas losing weight  weight loss