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Is there a easier weight-loss strategy than portion control?

When it comes to losing weight, calories are king. Based on the body of research evidence to date, the type of diet that you are on (low fat versus low carbohydrate) matters little as long as the calories are restricted. So what key behaviors do dieters need to employ to help them meet their weight loss goals? 

According to a study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, there three successful weight loss strategies are:

  • Journaling: The women in the study who consistently keep food journals lost about 6 pounds more than those who didn’t journal. If you have ever kept a food journal or log, you would have likely noticed that just the shear thought of having to write down and admit that you wolfed down a handful of potato chips standing in your kitchen late at night, could, well, take your appetite away.
  • Don’t Skip a Meal: Women who reported skipping meals lost almost 8 fewer pounds than non-skippers. When you skip a meal, you may become so intensely hungry that you are driven to eating anything that isn’t moving. Avoid this ravenous state of mind by eating at least three healthy, well-balanced, calorie-controlled meals daily.
  • Avoid Restaurants at Lunch: The women who ate out at lunch at least weekly lost almost 5 fewer pounds, on average, than those who didn’t. This mirrors other studies that show that dining out frequently is associated with a higher body weight.

Weight loss takes a long-term commitment-- not days but months-- of sticking to a weight-reducing diet to lose any substantial amount of weight. Coupling a healthy, well-balanced eating plan with journaling your progress, eating meals regularly, and minimizing dining out until you reach your goal, may be the three key strategies that can help you actually reach your goal.

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Portion control is not always the only answer to weight-loss. If you eat small portions of unhealthy, calorie loaded foods you are still not on the right path to weight-loss. Every weight-loss case is different. Sometimes just giving up the sugary beverages can kick off the weight-loss.

Designing a customized diet plan requires looking at what you eat before and detect the wrong foods in your diet and then start to make changes one at a time.

Portion control and food logging is an awesome tool to educate yourself about nutrition science. If you are already eating healthy, wholesome foods but you don't see any weight-loss, portion control and food logging may be your only answer.

Unfortunately for all of us portion control translates to accountability to the food we eat and ultimately calorie control. All body fat is made of excess calories. Excess calories comes from excess food. So to answer your question portion control to one degree or another is the only effective weight loss program. How you do this is where the difference lies. Start with understanding how many calories you need on a daily basis to keep your weight the same. Second, if your goal is fat loss subtract 20% from that number and you will have a great goal for caloric intake. Third, eat that many calories every day for a few weeks and expect a few pounds of weight loss. Have plenty of protein and some healthy fat as well as fresh vegetables culminating in lots of fiber and it should be a pretty painless experience other than missing the large quantities of delicious junk food.
Chris Embry
Fitness

When attempting to lose weight your body needs to burn more calories than it consumes.  While reducing calories by controlling your portions is helpful, you should also focus on burning more calories.  You can do this by adding cardiovascular and strength training exercise to your day.

 

For example, assume you need 2,000 calories a day to maintain your current weight and you want to create a 500 calorie deficit so you lose one pound per week.  You could reduce the amount of calories to 1,500 and keep the same activity level.  However, if you incorporate regular exercise into your schedule and burn 250 calories a day, you would only need to reduce your caloric intake by 250 to create the 500 calorie deficit.  Exercise allows you to eat more while still losing weight.

Weight loss only occurs when you consume fewer calories than you expend. Portion control can be helpful in reducing the calories you take in (especially when you choose to eat a higher calorie food), but it is not the only way to lose weight. Another way to lose weight without cutting portions is to fill your plate with foods that contain more fiber and less calories naturally (like fruits and vegetables). You can eat much more of these foods and the bigger portions will leave you filling full and more satisfied. I like to make sure half of my dinner plate is filled with steamed vegetables (no butter) to be sure I will be full on less calories.

Unfortunately, it is hard to suggest any easy way for any weight loss program because what works for one person may not work with another. Here are some suggestions:

Small changes can make BIG differences. Focus on one change or improvement in your eating habits that you feel you can stick with. (For example: cutting back and eventually giving up soda)

Try not eating the last three bites of food on your plate when you are full, but you eat because you feel it’s so little of portion you might as well eat it.  This adds approximately 100 calories per meal.

Eating fruits or vegetables (which are dense foods that fill you up) before you eat the protein or carbs on your plate. This should help you eat less of the fatty foods which are higher in calories.

 

Take one step at a time and build on your success!

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.