A key topic I think we’re all interested in is ‘How important is portion control for weight loss?’
We all LOVE food right?
And although we’d probably all like to eat all day, is there a limit and does the amount you eat affect your weight loss results?
Yes it does and I believe portion control can play an important role in helping to speed up weight loss. If I want to go into weight loss mode, one of the most effective ways I’ve found to get things moving is to reduce portion sizes a bit, and I know it works for clietns too.
The truth is we don’t actually need as much as food as we may think and can effectively reduce our overall intake without any impact. Although counting calories is a waste of time, it is true that we need to be aware of input and output to some extent. Even though we may be eating all the right foods, we can still overeat.
And when it comes to losing weight, we do have to do something in order to make the shift occur in the body. At first simply switching to a cleaner diet may be enough to lose weight. Then eventually weight loss may slow or you could plateau. I also know plenty of people who don’t lose or who even begin to gain. I think it often comes back to portions and how much we are eating. So if all else is good in your diet, it’s a good place to begin making some cuts.
How To Reduce Portions
What I do is to just cut back a little bit at each meal. For example, if you usually have 3 eggs, vegetables, and avocado for breakfast. Reduce the intake to 2 eggs, a little less veggies, and avocado. See how you feel. Does it still work for you fine? Are your energy levels okay and can you get through to your next meal or snack?
Chances are it will be just fine. So you can go through and make slight cutbacks throughout your day in the same way and successfully reduce your intake just a bit. Try using a smaller plate or bowl. The Japanese use this technique well and I believe it does trick your mind into feeling fuller. You can also look at how many snacks you are consuming and what type they are. You can make simple changes here to get better results as well. You don’t have to reduce portions a whole lot to start seeing results, so experiment a little and see what happens over a few weeks time.
Balancing Hunger / Portions
You certainly don’t want to be hungry so that you can’t function or end up going on a binge bender. But you don’t always need to be filling yourself up until full. I don’t know about you but I always used to fill myself until full, sometimes uncomfortably so!
Now I find that I don’t overfill and sometimes when you’re eating a super clean diet you can even feel slightly hungry, just slightly. The truth is, you’re not really hungry at all because you just ate! But physically, psychologically, and even emotionally, adapting to this ‘different’ feeling is a process. I think we have spent so many years having an over full feeling and gorging ourselves that it feels strange to us if there is a slight hunger feeling in our stomach. We have to navigate our way to letting go of these feelings and realise that we are actually satisfied.
It takes 20 minutes for food to pass through our gut and for the messages to reach our brain, so stop before feeling full.
Of course, if you are really hungry then you should eat more, or have a small snack every couple of hours if need be. But letting go of that ‘full’ feeling is something worth working on.
What Portions Should I Be Eating
Portion size is going to be different for everyone depending on body size, activity, and so forth. I don’t measure, weigh or count calories, in my opinion that stuff is just plain boring. My way of combining portions is usually pretty simple and goes something like this.
1. Choose what protein source I’m going to eat and have a piece that is suitable for my size. 1 small chicken breast, 2 meat patties, a half dozen meat balls, a couple of eggs, some beans and legumes.
2. Load my plate with veggies. Veggies and salads make our plate look fuller yet the caloric intake is minimal. Veggies also contain all the necessary fiber and micronutrients that we need so we want to include a good variety.
3. Add a small amount of good fats. A tablespoon of homemade mayonnaise, a 1/4 of an avocado, a couple of teaspoons of olive oil drizzled over the meal, a few nuts in a salad, that type of thing.
4. Add a little gluten free whole grains occasionally in small amounts, or a homemade sweet treat. These should not form the basis of our diet as they commonly do but are best eaten in moderation. Read the carbohydrate guide here.
Putting things together like this makes up a pretty balanced and well portioned meal template in my eyes. I think if you base most of your meal combinations around this philosophy, then you can experiment with portion control if you need to speed up weight loss a bit more.
Often it really is a matter of experimenting to find what produces the best results for you. Make some changes, stick to them and see what the results are a few weeks later. If it’s working keep doing more if it, if it’s not, tweak again.
So I hope that helps answer the question and helps you tweak things a bit for better results.
Wishing you the best in health,
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