New Year resolutions - portion control!

Start the year as you mean to continue is something my grandmother used to say so I'm looking at Amanda Clark's new book, Portion Perfection, and thinking it is a good way to start the year.

As a foodie, I'm constantly challenged by the temptation to try new foods and often too much of them. At home I try to keep it simple with everything in moderation, which is why I like the reasoning behind this concept.

“Turning a nice idea, i.e. weight loss, into sustainable change requires planning, planning, planning, well in advance. When we don’t take into account the challenges we are likely to meet along the way, and plan for how to overcome those challenges, we may fall at the first hurdle, a classic example being New Year resolutions,” explains Psychologist Carolyn Rogers.

“Behaviour change goes through a number of predictable stages and we may give up at any one of these stages before reaching the goal. We may repeat the cycle many times before giving up or come out the other end having achieved the goal. So the more prepared you are, the more dedicated you are and the more tools you have, the more likely you are to succeed.”

And also, when it comes to weight loss many people fall into the trap of employing the ‘all or nothing’ approach. But really, losing weight is all about perspective – portion perspective and knowing exactly what to put on your plate. Best of all, you really don’t have to starve yourself.

“There is so much valuable research to show that the more food we put on our plates, the more we will eat,” explains dietitian Amanda Clark, author of Portion Perfection – a visual weight control plan.

“In fact, the research shows that the larger the plate the more we eat; the larger the spoon the more we eat, the larger the packet or serving bowl the more we eat, the greater the variety on offer, the more we eat. All without significant awareness.”

Apart from the Portion Perfection book (which has over 150 recognisable packaged foods and the right amounts you should be eating of these foods including breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks), Amanda has also created a Portion Perfection Plate and Bowl which both show exactly how much you should be eating to either lose or maintain your weight.

“While many people believe that they won’t be fooled by using a larger plate or bowl, even nutrition experts get caught. One American study focused on 85 nutrition experts who were attending an ice cream celebration for a colleague. They were randomly given either a smaller (2 cup) or larger (4 cup capacity) bowl and either of 60ml or 90ml ice cream scoop.

After serving themselves, their bowls were weighed. And guess what? Even when the nutrition experts were given a larger bowl, they served themselves 31% more without being aware of it. They even served an additional 14% if they used the larger serving spoon.”

Portion Perfection is a visual weight control plan that shows you exactly the right amount to eat if you want to lose or maintain weight. It includes everyday and occasional foods (such as treats like chocolate or wine) and spells out just how much to eat for various age groups. It has hundreds of pictures showing popular packaged foods, including almost every brand of yoghurt, cereal, muesli bar and crisps available in Australia, as well as common take-away foods. There’s also a Portion Perfection plate and bowl to help you serve up the right amount. All the Portion Perfection products are available at

The Portion Perfection book is available at all good book stores.  RRP: $34.95.