It’s amazing how little changes can make such a big difference when it comes to weight loss. We all want to have great bodies with rippling abs and pert booties but we also want to eat the foods we love. With some little changes in “how” you eat, it’s possible.
Eat your favorite foods and lose weight?
Now to understand how we can eat the foods we love and still lose weight we need to understand what causes weight gain in the first place. You can check out a detailed explanation of why mankind has become do fat in the last 50 years right here. To make a long story short when you eat more calories than your body burns for daily activity, you gain weight. On the other side of the coin, if you eat less calories than you burn, you lose weight.
So at the end of the day, if you manage to eat less calories than you burn, weight loss is inevitable (for a nice explanation of how you can do that while eating ice cream, click here).
So, how can I eat the foods I love?
I’m getting to it. Often, when I first start working with clients (many of whom have spent much of their lives following different diets) they’re often surprised that I’ll happily let them include pizza (or ice-cream or cheesecake) in their diets.
This is a classic example of how these conversations typically go:
Client: But a pint of ice-cream is like 1000 calories
Me: So eat a cup instead
Client: Do you have any idea how hard it is to just eat a cup or Ice-cream and leave the rest of the pint, tempting you in the freezer?
Me: Then don’t buy pints. Buy single serving cups of Ice-cream. There’s no leftovers to tempt you.
Client: Reaction Below...
Portion Size Matters!
Here’s the thing, in today’s world, we’ve become very used to large portions, something that I’ve mentioned as one of the causes of the obesity epidemic. I’ve travelled quite a lot and lived in a few different countries and that’s given me the opportunity to experience food in many different cultures. I lived in Japan for 4 years and was initially pretty conscious of how small portion sizes over there are. It comes as no surprise then that Japanese people, in general, are quite slim. On the other hand, whenever I visit the USA I’m always pretty blown away by how big the portion sizes are. Could it potentially be related to the obesity epidemic there?
I think it’s worth telling a little story to illustrate my point. A couple of years ago I was traveling around the American south and I wound up in a regular Diner with a few German girls that I’d met while traveling (lucky me, right?). I was fascinated with the idea of eating “Chicken and Waffles” for breakfast so I decided I’d split an order of them with one of the girls.
When my plate arrived I was presented with a massive, thick waffle and a huge chunk of southern fried chicken (along with two little bowls of syrupy sauces). Just as I was about to ask for a plate to split the food with my friend, the waitress put another, identical plate down on our table. I was confused so I told the waitress that we had only ordered one plate of chicken and waffles. She smiled at me and said she knew and that they had already divided it onto two plates for us in the kitchen. Which means that huge portion on my plate was in reality only half of what people normally eat. Everything’s big in the states.
Anyway, not only are portions bigger these days but we’re also thought as children to not waste food. This means that when we’re presented with a lot of food, generally we’ll eat it all. Not only is it a social norm but also it can put a lot of stress on your (already limited) willpower to only eat as much as you need. Long story short, we are surrounded by excess so we eat in excess.
Make Moderation Easy
If you reduce the normal portion sizes of your foods by half, you reduce your calories by half!
If you do that for a lot of foods in your diet, you make a HUGE impact on the amount of calories you take in. So to make it something that you can do consistently, you need to make eating smaller portions easier.
Tips for Moderation
Buy Smaller Servings: Remember the ice cream example above? Simply buying some items in smaller serving sizes instead of buying in bulk can make it much easier to control the portions you eat. It may not make the most financial sense but until you can control your food intake better, it’s a much better option.
Prepare smaller portions: The same principle applies to foods you prepare at home. If you cook a lot you have even more control over how big your portions are. In this case, you can make a lot of food at once and simple divide it into small, appropriate portions to better fit your calorie needs.
Make Smart Choices when Eating Out: When you order food in a restaurant, think about what you really want and what you can eat without bursting the calorie bank. If you really want a burger, order a burger but maybe hold off on the French fries. It’ll save you hundreds of calories. Order pizza by the slice instead of getting a full one. Do you really need a starter AND Main AND dessert? Multiple course meals really can pile on the calories. How about salad for starters and splitting a dessert? Little things like this add up.
Fill the void with the right foods: If you just reduce your portion sizes, you could end up feeling pretty damn hungry. Instead fill the void with high-volume, healthy foods that actually keep you feeling full such as vegetables and lean proteins (click here for a quick guide to foods that keep you full)
Eat consciously: The problem with most people is that they simply don’t think of what they’re putting into their mouths. They’re presented with food and they eat. If you want to make a change to your waistline, now is the time to learn how many calories are in the foods you regularly eat.
Experiment with lower calorie options: Often, one main ingredient in a food or recipe is responsible for the majority of calories so you can try replacing it with a much lower calorie option. Try lower fat cheeses in your sandwiches, use calorie-free sweeteners instead of sugar, lower calorie sandwich wraps instead of big bread rolls. A lot of small changes like this, together can make a big difference to your daily calorie intake.
Track your Food Intake: There are lots of free calorie tracking apps available. Using one to track your food intake, even for just a few days will show you where the real calorie bombs are in your diet. Knowing this shows you where you need to make improvements.
Eating the foods you love is important.
Food is a real pleasure and is meant to be enjoyed. I spent a huge amount of my life restricting myself from the foods I loved in order to lose weight and it only did one thing: it made me want those foods even more. It sucks to think you “can’t” have something you really want.
Learning to apply moderation in your eating, while not easy at the beginning, is quite possibly one the best ways of building a healthy, enjoyable diet that you can maintain, long term.
Eat well, folks
Have you been working out? You're looking good!
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