When it comes to losing weight, there is all kinds of advice that comes from all areas in your life. You can’t pull up a news website without being blasted with health articles. “Eat this, don’t eat that”. Your social media is full of influencers that are touting the latest diet fad, whether it be a meal plan or supplement.
For all of the different diet advice that you come across, it probably falls into two main categories. It is either revealing a scientific secret when it comes to nutrition (like going Keto or following the Atkins Diet), or it involves an innovative approach to eating (like intermittent fasting).
Regardless of the diet advice that is ever-present around us, there remains one simple fact – not all of us are created equal, and not all diets will work for everyone.
One particular diet that is making a buzz right now is not that innovative, despite it becoming popular recently. That diet has to do with portion control. So how does this weight loss strategy work?
What is the Portion Control Diet?
When it comes to choosing a diet to follow as a means to lose weight, they don’t come much easier to understand than this diet. That is part of the appeal, as written in this article on qz.com. The main philosophy behind it is that if you eat smaller portions, you will consume fewer calories, and thus you will be on the path to weight loss.
Rather than cutting out many foods altogether (just look at any diet like Keto, Paleo, or others and the list of foods that are not allowed), the portion control diet doesn’t really ban any foods. What it does instead is sets a limit for how much you can eat throughout the day through the use of a points system. Of course, it will be much better for you if you accumulate your daily allotment of points through nutritious means, but the main tenet is sticking to your maximum allowed points for the day.
It is not exactly spelled out how the points are calculated for each food – it does not exactly jive with the amount of calories in that food – but the general message of the diet is that the less food you eat, the better off you will be. However, that is not always true. You shouldn’t go starving yourself as your body needs sustenance to be healthy. Plus, you need to make sure that you are getting a well-rounded diet so you are getting the full spectrum of vitamins and minerals to maintain health.
Does It Work?
The philosophy of the portion control diet being that the less you eat, the better, it can pretty much be likened to counting calories. But does counting calories really work? It is often cited that if you want to lose weight, all you need to do is make sure that you are taking in fewer calories (through food and beverage consumption) than you are burning off through the day via physical activity and metabolism.
But more and more research is pointing to that being a flawed system. While creating a caloric deficit certainly tips the scales in favor of weight loss, it is actually much more complex than that. Calorie counting doesn’t take into account what those calories are comprised of. You could eat just 1,000 calories per day, with those calories being made up of ice cream and cake, while burning 1,500 calories at the gym and end up in a deficit that should create weight loss. But is that healthy? Absolutely not.
The calorie counting system also doesn’t take into account that everybody processes calories in a different way. We all get full at a different rate as each other, which tells us when to stop eating. We all burn calories at a different rate (our metabolism). Some people are blessed with a very active metabolism, while others are not. Simply saying that you should eat less does not take all of these factors into account.
A diet like portion control puts arbitrary, unnecessary labels on our food consumption. It heightens the amount of stress when it comes to food choices, trying to calculate what you can eat and how much of it, tracking what you’ve eaten over the course of the day to fit into the numeric system. It robs us of the enjoyment of eating. Food should not be a chore – it should be enjoyed!
What to Do Instead
Rather than trying to fit into some point system that others determined for you, learn to start a healthy relationship with food again. We all know that we should be cutting out junk food, unnecessary sugars and fats, getting rid of soda and other empty calories. Those are tough vices to give up, and you don’t have to give them up entirely. Just enjoy them in moderation.
There are so many healthy foods that are not only good for you but delicious as well. You can find no shortage of cookbooks out there that incorporate fruits and vegetables, healthy carbs, and lean proteins that will serve up a nutritious meal that tastes great. Eating healthy does not mean eating bland, flavorless food. It is just that we have become programmed to crave sweets and other junk. Get into a routine of a healthy diet and soon you’ll be craving those nutritious meals instead.
After altering your diet so you are eating better and limiting the junk, of course you will want to complement your healthy diet with a consistent exercise routine. This site provides reviews of many of the top workout programs out there, if you enjoy structure to your exercise regimen.
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