We all know the undeniable truth about what it takes to get fit: do plenty of exercise and eat a balanced, nutritional diet. We also know the unspoken truth about what it takes to get fit: which is that finding the time or energy to exercise and diet is almost impossible given the hectic schedules that most people keep every day. Life gets so busy sometimes that staying true to a healthy routine feels out of reach for many. Regardless of these challenges, we must never give up because it still makes a difference to keep trying. Even if you never manage to transform your body into a physical masterpiece, consistent healthy living is imperative to prevent illness or diminished health during old age. That alone makes every effort worth it.

If taking the leap with a gym membership or counting calories is too demanding for now, there are still many ways to introduce impactful healthy choices into your lifestyle. One of them is portion control. Portion control refers to the habit of reducing caloric intake by replacing high-calorie food with low-calorie alternatives, and limiting the serving size of your food. Portion control is a subtle way of modifying one’s diet because it doesn’t require the technical measurement of calorie counting. Even without exercise, portion control can help guide you towards weight loss by increasing your awareness of exactly which food you ingest and by how much. Here are six tips on portion control that can dramatically improve progress towards weight loss:

Drink Water:
Whereas drinking water is beneficial for the sake of overall hydration, it can also be used to reduce how much food we eat unnecessarily. People sometimes have a tendency to misconstrue thirst for hunger. We think we need a meal when in actuality, we need water. Drinking one full glass of water at least five minutes before each meal not only quenches thirst, it partially induces satiety thereby reducing how intensely we crave food.

Add Fruit and Vegetables to the Menu:
Current nutritional standards heavily emphasize consumption of protein and dairy. Because we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to eating protein, we have to take initiative in order to eat fruits and vegetables. Regardless of what your meal is, always make sure that it either has a majority serving of fruit or vegetables along with it. Eating more meat than vegetables deprives our bodies of essential vitamins and minerals.

Listen to Your Body:
Many of us consume food out of procedure. We eat when we feel hungry, but instead of stopping when we’re full, we push ourselves to finish whatever we’re eating – even if it’s excessive. Learning to listen to your body and how it reacts to food is vital to gaining control of your diet. When you start to feel full, stop eating. If something tastes too sweet or too salty, don’t eat all of it. Your palate instinctively responds with displeasure to excessive nutrients and substances. Don’t ignore this physiological signal.

Go Easy on the Condiments:
Complementing meals with condiments has become part and parcel of eating food. While there’s nothing wrong with using condiments in moderation, once they become compulsory with every dish, their harmful effects begin to accumulate. The reason why condiments taste so good is because they have strong flavors. Unfortunately those strong flavors typically come from concentrated salt or sugar. Instead of using these ingredients to accentuate every single meal, condition your body to appreciate the natural flavors of your food.

Don’t Trust the Food Industry to Measure your Serving Sizes:
One of the easiest mistakes to make when it comes to managing food portions is trusting mass-producers to package or serve their food into reasonable portions. The food industry’s highest priority isn’t to ensure consumers’ health. Their highest priority is to sell as much food, to as many people as possible. Whether it comes from a restaurant, or from a grocery store shelf, blindly devouring prepared food without measuring how much you actually need to get satisfied is only setting the stage for overindulgence.

Use Fresh Ingredients:
If you ever have an option to eat fresh food, take it. The more a food item is exposed to conditions such as refrigeration, additives, canning, or use of pesticides, the more its nutrients become denatured and contaminated. The fresher the food we consume is, the fewer poisons and persistent substances end up circulating in our bodies.

Healthy living is a matter of lifestyle. This means that a decision to change your diet for the sake of well-being should be something you’re prepared to do for the rest of your life. It might not be realistic to eliminate entire food groups from your diet forever. But it’s definitely realistic to adhere to these six steps even when you eat high-calorie food. The most important thing is never to give up on trying to do the right thing – even with small measures. Check out more of RISE Programs’ Blogs for helpful advice on healthy living, and remember to spread the word by sharing this post. Please Note: Always consult a medical doctor before making any changes to your diet or nutrition program. Any advice offered by RISE Programs is purely academic and will not help cure, heal, or correct any illness, metabolic disorder, or medical condition.