Whether you are trying to lose, gain or maintain your weight, portion control is the key to getting in great shape. If weight loss is your goal you must have a calorie deficit, if weight gain is your goal you must have a calorie surplus.
The best way to ensure you get your portion control spot on is to work out your daily calorie target and macros, you can do this on the Ultra Nutrition macro calculator. Just input your details and it will generate your calorie goal and how much protein, carbohydrate and fat you should consume. You can then use this to track your food intake via MyFitnessPal.
Once you have been tracking this way for some time, you will begin to understand how many calories are in certain foods and you will be able to get your numbers right without tracking them at every meal.
Here are some calories to think about:
|Kcal||Protein (g)||Carbohydrate (g)||Fat (g)|
|Starbucks Hot Choc||400||14||50||16|
|Big Mac Meal (medium)||1,090||30||147||45|
|Tin of Tuna||122||14||0||1|
When trying to lose weight, to start with you should have 3 meals per day. You can add in healthy snacks, but be aware of your total calorie intake for the day when you have them.
Avoid food that are high in calorie but have little nutritional benefit, this is things such as fast foods, processed foods, alcohol, chocolate and deep-fried foods. You should cut them down or if you can, cut them out completely.
Initially you may feel a little hungry and the best way to target that is to bulk out your meals with fibre from vegetables, make sure you have an adequate amount of protein and have fat with every meal. This will help to reduce your calorie intake without feeling hungry all of the time.
Here is an example of portion control per meal, its important to remember we are all different and it’s not a case of one size fits all.
Fill your plate, vegetables are packed full of nutrients and contain fibre, which is great for your health, keeps you feeling full and slows down the digestion of food.
In 1 Kilogram of spinach there is: 280kcal, 31g protein, 5g carbs, 8g fat and 30g fibre. Obviously, you would not eat 1kg of spinach in a sitting but that should put in perspective how much food you get for very few calories.
As a very rough starting point aim for around the size of a deck of cards with meat, fish or eggs as they are quite protein dense, if you are following a plant based diet double this and ensure you eating a variety of high protein plant-based foods.
Start with a fist sized portion of starchy carbs like pasta, bread or rice in each meal.
To begin with 1 tablespoon per meal, this could be oil, nuts, seeds, or any natural type of fat.
How to eat
It takes your brain around 20 minutes to process that you have eaten, if you eat food too fast you may think you are hungry because you haven’t processed the meal. Take your time to eat, enjoy the food and aim to eat in a 20-minute period.
Follow these simple rules:
- If you are losing weight too fast, eat more.
- If you are gaining weight, eat less.
For the process of this explanation we will talk about gaining muscle rather than how to gain fat.
You should follow a quite simple process like the weight loss section but look at having 4 meals per day or 3 meals with 2 snacks between.
Ensure that following your workouts you have protein and carbohydrates and no fats to ensure rapid absorption of the protein and carbohydrate.
Follow these simple rules:
- If you are gaining weight too fast, eat less.
- If you are losing weight, eat more.
This will be a good starting point for you, whatever your goal being healthy is the first start point, the healthier you are the better your body will work and the faster your results will come.