Portion control may be the most effective weight-loss strategy around. It beat out exercise, regular physical activity, fat reduction in diet, and eating more fruits and veggies for effectiveness, according to researchers at the Summa Health System in Akron, Ohio. The study of 300 overweight people who were asked to practice five weight-loss strategies revealed that those who spent the most effort controlling portion size were most likely to lose weight and keep it off.

Break the habit of casually spooning food onto your plate by keeping a set of measuring cups and spoons on hand to ensure you end up with approximately one serving. No need to get too uptight by leveling off the top of a cup of corn. The idea is to train your eye to recognize what a single serving looks like. Use these visual clues to end portion distortion:


Serving Size of Fruit

Medium Piece = Size of Baseball

Serving Size of Meat

3 ounces = Size of a Deck of Cards

Serving Size of Cheese

1 ounce = Size of Four Dice

Think you have the idea? Test your knowledge with these Portion Distortion Quizzes from the National Institutes of Health. You may be surprised to find out how much is too much when you're loading up your plate!