I see many people who are not professional athletes and who don´t compete trying to be perfect counting calories, most of them just want to lose weight and get in shape. If the goal is just to get in shape and sustain it, then it´s not necessary to be perfect counting calories or macros. The best tool to use here is portion control.
Having a clear idea of portions will make it easier for us to achieve our goals and we´ll be considering what´s important.
Focusing on the most important things is the best way to achieve our goals and finding ways to make it simple will reduce stress and obsession, portion control is one of those things, as I´ve said before it is better to count macros than to count calories but weighting our food every meal is impossible so a way to get it done is with portion control.
Knowing how a portion size really looks like and getting it accurate is hard at the beginning, most of us are really bad at portion sizes we don´t know how a cup of rice or 4 ounces of meat look like and if we take our plate and take a look thinking on portion control and we measure it we´ll find out we´re eating more than we need, this may be one of the reasons why we can´t achieve our goal.
Portion control gives us the opportunity to focus on macronutrients, as we know now each has its function and job in the body, it´s easier to adjust how much we eat of each food so if we need to lower carbohydrates we can reduce portions or add some protein according to our goals.
Portion control is the amount of food we eat, we can weight our food or use some simple rules that we can find on the internet like 3 ounces of meat is the size of a deck of cards, half cup of oatmeal is the size of a hockey puck, one cup of broccoli is the size of a baseball. With time you´ll get familiar with sizes and you´ll be able to “eye ball” all your portions and get them more accurate with time.
Portion control can also help us reduce the amount of unhealthy foods and keep those in check while increasing healthy foods, this can make it easier for us to start making the right choices by changing or substituting some unhealthy foods for healthier options.
It´s easier to keep portions under control when we´re eating at home or when we prepare our meals but it can get more complicated eating out and specially this days when packages are bigger and when we have the chance to make our meal bigger for some dollars more in fast food chains.
Buffets are a great way to eat healthy and control portions, when we eat out we can ask for one portion of carbohydrates and double protein with some healthy fats we can choose what we want to eat, and in restaurants we can tell the waitress to change fries for salad or to give us only half portion of carbohydrates.
As always don´t get obsessed with this use it as a tool and guide to keep the amount of food you eat under control but don´t try to make it perfect, perfection will stress you, make the best you can and enjoy your meals, if your meals are healthy you don´t need to get obsessed or stressed, if you don´t see results just reduce the amount of food to lose weight or increase it to gain muscle, the most important macronutrient you need to focus a little more is protein, you need to consume enough protein and even when you´re losing weight you want to keep it high.
You also need to consider the macro ratios you are following, if you go with a balanced diet between carbohydrates, protein and fats or if you prefer keto, don´t forget that fats are higher in calories compared to the other 2 macros and it will keep you full longer.
If we get obsessed and want to be perfect we are only making everything harder that it actually is, we need to know how a portion of carbohydrates, proteins and fats look like according to each food and use it as a guide. Keep things as simple as possible by avoiding all unhealthy foods like junk, sweets, processed and refined foods and stick to whole fresh foods, from there we just use portion control as a guide for each meal.
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