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  • Writer's pictureRichard Portugal

The Easiest Diet Plan: Portion Control

There is an instinct that animals exhibit which allows them to survive. In fact, they remain healthy, alert and agile because they adhere to this simple instinctual habit; it is a habit that demands a squirrel bury its nuts, a leopard make safe its fresh kill high up in a tree, and a crocodile wedge its food under a log at the river’s bottom. Animals instinctual know that portion control will assure them the chance to survive to another season. They do not totally consume their fresh kill or ensnared nut. They only eat that amount which sustains and save the balance for a later time. Alas, it is an instinct that has lapsed in our human species. It is a habit that has withered in the tree, decayed underground and gone to waste under water. We no longer horde our food as if it were a precious fuel necessary for a sustained life. Rather, we gorge ourselves as if it were a treat that our bodies demand rather than need. As a result, we gain weight in unconscionable amounts. We do not consume what we require, rather what we desire. The difference in intent is staggering.

Fast food, frozen food, fried food, super-sized meals, large plates and ever larger portions—those are the means of our downfall. They cause weight to increase and health to decline. They insure a population which exhibits heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and low energy. You are what you eat and we eat plenty!

And so a “diet” industry was spawned to save us from ourselves. We now know all about carbohydrates, proteins, fats, food groups, hydration, organic foods, natural foods, processed foods, sodium, and calories. We can choose amongst a menagerie of diet philosophies espousing what to eat, the time of day to eat, how much to eat, and in what proportion to eat. The choices are endless between diets heralding high carbohydrate, high protein, low fat, high fiber, low protein, low carbohydrate and just plain water (tap, bottled, distilled, filtered, glass bottled, plastic bottled or hold your mouth open in the rain bottled). And I thought calculus was confusing!

Perhaps a simple truism will place all this sundry knowledge in perspective: if you ingest more calories than you burn, you will gain weight; if you ingest less calories than you burn, you will lose weight; if you ingest the same amount of calories that you burn, your weight will remain the same. As a car requires gas to run properly, we need food to fuel our lives. The excess fuel we do not burn is simply stored in our bodies as fat, much like gas stored in a car’s gas tank. Both muscle mass and bone density add to weight, but on a simplistic level, the more fat stored in your body, the more you will weigh.

A normal male requires about 2000 calories a day; a female around 1700. If you consume more calories per day than the average, you will gain weight. Those extra calories can be burned off through exercise or other energy demanding activities. If not, they will be stored as fat. The body does not suffer energy waste easily and will store any excess in anticipation of future need. In our society, however, that future need rarely materializes and we simply continue to store more fat on a daily basis. It matters not if the additional calories consist of healthy food choices. The weight will increase nonetheless.

To lose that excess weight, try this simple eating technique: consume whatever and however much you normally eat, but physically remove one-third of the food from your plate; do not replace that food as an extra snack or reward later in the day; eat normally, but eat one-third less. This is portion control.

Naturally, combining portion control with healthier and better food choices will reward you in innumerable ways. Filling your body with food healthy choices combined with portion control will greatly increase your body’s overall performance and life. Refrain from overeating and your quality of life will improve; performance of activities of daily living will ameliorate; and you will maintain your health and independence. And all by simply removing a small portion from your plate!

Copyright © 2018 Richard J. Portugal Fitness Senior Style, LLC; 201-937-4722 All rights reserved.

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