Let’s face it – we have all been on diets that we couldn’t sustain after a few weeks! The temptation to dig into our favourite – but forbidden – food became too overwhelming, to the extent of falling off the diet wagon.
If you’re finding it hard to break this cycle – don’t fret. The secret to successful dieting is here, and it’s called portion control.
The science behind weight loss
To lose weight, it is necessary to create a calorie deficit. On average, men need 2500 calories a day, while women need 2000. If you were to create a 500-1000 calorie deficit per day, over time, you would lose weight. In addition to portion control, you could also opt for pharmacist-approved weight loss supplements to enhance your results and speed up the process.
Restriction, the root of all evil
Let’s begin by first understanding how most popular diets are designed. Based on what you want to achieve – weight loss, mass gain, muscle gain, body toning, etc. – different diets lay down rules around what you can and cannot consume. Thus, some food groups fall into the restricted category. Needless to say, this restricted group generally includes the most delicious, satisfying foods we love – most often carbs, sugars, and fats! And so, your favourite slices of bread, pizzas, ice creams, fizzy beverages, chips, chocolates, fried chicken, red meats, bacon, etc. are now off limits!
When you start your diet, your motivation levels are relatively high, and these restrictions do not bother you all that much. But as time progresses and the novelty of the diet wears off, your motivation dips too. Then comes the point where you begin to question whether the diet is worth it at all, and cheat. You start from one cheat which leads to another, and you find yourself binging – negating most of your dieting efforts. Restrictions clearly do not work for most of us. Instead, try the moderation method.
Eat what you like, in moderation
Weight loss is all about creating a calorie deficit, and so, in theory, what you eat doesn’t matter if you control as how much you eat. So, instead of avoiding certain foods, why not eat them in moderate quantities? Approach this logically – for instance, instead of an entire tub of ice cream, eat one scoop. Even better, have frozen yoghurt with fruits, or low-calorie deserts which are healthier. Instead of an entire pizza, have a few slices of wholewheat pizza with a filling salad. Bake your chicken instead of frying it. Swap fizzy drinks for home-made fruit-infused water, and so on. Incremental changes and portion control go a long way in keeping your diet exciting and giving you all the nutrition your body needs. To increase the odds of success, let’s introduce accountability to the mix.
Maintain a food journal
Portion control and moderation are great in theory, but to help optimize the concept in practice, start by maintaining a food journal. Start noting down what you eat, how much you eat, and roughly the calories you consumed. With a food journal, you would be able to adjust your calorie intake for each meal to ensure your desired calorie deficit. The food journal acts as a physical, tangible proof of your efforts, motivating you to stay focussed even if you go overboard on your calorie targets some days.
In the end, your weight loss journey should focus on results and happiness. If your restrictive diet is making you miserable, is it worth your while?