Sunday, December 09, 2012

Easy Portion Control for Healthy Eating

Portion Control Plate
You don't have to "count" calories. You just need to eat right. I know because that's how I started. As I wrote in March this year, eating sensible meals does not require that you count calories. You can simply control the portion size.

If you take charge of the size of each part of your meal you can survive the holidays; in fact, you could even lose weight during the holidays. For two years in a row I actually lost weight from October to January while others were complaining about the extra pounds they put on during the same period.

The plate in this picture is a clip from a video found on the web site of SHARP, the well known San Diego health care organization. In the video Candy Cumming, a registered dietitian with Sharp Healthcare, talks about how to set up a plate. Take time to watch the short two minute simple explanation of how to both balance the right kind of foods and the amount of each. Perhaps you will need to make your portions a little smaller or maybe even a little bigger, but try her suggestions first and see what happens. Weigh yourself today and then a week from now weigh again. If you lost two or three pounds then you have the portion size about right. Take it from there.

If you really want to take it to the next level, you should track your calories. But - and this is an important "but" so pay attention - if you are going to count calories you need to know your BMR. Your base metabolic rate is the amount of calories you would burn if you stayed in bed all day. It's an estimate of the minimum amount of energy you need  just to keep your body functioning. The more you weigh, the higher your BMR. As you lose weight your BMR will come down, so you need to regularly calculate your current rate. MyFitnessPal has a simple to use tool for just that. This chart I found on Pinterest comes pretty close as long as you are honest - I mean really honest - with yourself about how active you are.

Remind yourself that to lose a pound you have to create a deficit of 3500 calories. If you use the chart and don't lose weight it is possible that you are not accurately estimating your daily activity level. As I say in my disclaimer, seek out professional advice.

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