- large portions;
- poor food choices; and
- eating too fast.
Today I'm going to talk about the first one.
Portion size is tricky. Sometimes portions are given as weights and sometimes as cups or tablespoons, so having a food scale and a stack of measuring cups and spoons helps immeasurably (sorry, couldn't resist). Measure everything. Because I was overeating so badly, I would often consume six or seven servings of vegetables in one meal when I only need three in a day. Veggies are good for us, but in those quantities they'll contribute to weight gain just as surely as any other food.
Measuring allowed me to get a feel for just how much I should be eating, so now even when I go to a restaurant I can eye-ball the huge portion and only eat as much as I need. When I'm at home, though, I still measure on occasion just to recalibrate. It's easy for those portion sizes to slowly grow without us noticing. (There are some good equivalents listed here.)
While I'm not big on calorie counting, some of you may be. If so, take a look at this page, which shows 300-400 calorie meals. The people who took those photos have also designed daily meal plans that help you visualize how correct portions work throughout a day, and they show calorie and fat counts as well.