Rule #5 When Eating Meals Prepared at Home; NEVER Eat More than Ten Ounces Per Serving.
Weigh servings made at home for the next 30 days. Eat as many meals as you need but NEVER put more than ten ounces of food on your plate at one time.
How much food am I allowed to eat? Many people assume that Rule #5 means that they should drastically reduce the total amount of food they eat. This could be no further from the truth.
“Release yourself from the low-calorie diet mentality.”
Remember, hunger is undefeated against willpower. Never allow yourself to become hungry. It is recommended that you eat at least four to five meals per day. Also, this is not one of those fad diet recommendations to eat small meals. In general, ten ounces is only slightly smaller than a normal portion size.
More importantly, you should be carrying an abundance of small snacks throughout the day. This means that you should not be starving before any meal. Improving our eating habits is already difficult. Doing so while on an empty stomach is almost impossible.
This is why Rule # 2 is so important. Lowering your caloric intake from meals without increasing calories from snacks is a recipe for disaster. The goal is not to see how long you can maintain a calorie deficit diet. The goal is for you to become comfortable eating moderately portioned nutritious meals which are complemented by healthy snacks.
As you progress, you will naturally desire less snacks. In essence, I am asking that you eat more so that you are able to eat less.
When I began the 5 Rules for Healthy Living I ate at least five meals per day plus six to eight snacks. These included things like, apples, oranges, grapes, celery, carrots, cucumbers, whole grain crackers, mixed nuts, potato chips (yes potato chips) raisins, non-butter lightly salted popcorn, melons, seeds, low-fat yogurt, dark chocolate, small salads and the occasional fiber one bar, granola bar and candy bars (yes candy bars). Gradually, as my diet became more fiber and protein rich, I began to naturally crave less food. This is when I began to notice weight loss and more energy.
Why only 30-days; and what about counting calories?
There are four ways to measure and control the portion sizes that you consume.
Counting calories is unnatural, tedious, misleading and a poor measure for healthy eating. Calories have basically nothing do with your health. Rather they are a scientific measurement of heat-energy which has been loosely applied to food.
In addition to it being difficult to monitor the calories of every single piece of food you eat; most healthy unprocessed whole foods don’t fit into a convenient calorie calculator.
Moreover, not all calories are created equal; which often leads to confusion. For example, eating a 100 calorie banana is going to give you a lot more food than a 100 calorie candy bar. The banana, which is packed with nutrients, will also do a better job of staving off hunger than the candy bar. Visually, however, the portion of banana will look larger than the portion of the candy bar because the candy bar is much more calorie dense.
Finally, notice that I had to compare a whole food (the banana) to a chemically manufactured food (the candy bar) to make this point. Counting calories doesn’t make much sense when comparing too modestly portioned unprocessed whole foods. Even if they have different calorie count, whole foods contribute to proper nutrition in their own way. There is no need to view either through a bad vs good calorie paradigm. Eat real food, and the calories will take care of themselves.
Listen to Your Body:
While this is a bit more natural than counting calories, the problem is that your body also listens to you. When you continuously give your body large portions it begins to tell you that it requires large portions.
Imagine working for a company that gave 10% raise each year (the key word being imagine). The employees will begin to expect the annual 10% pay increase. Do you think they will eagerly give up the annual raise? Of course not. It is the same way with your body. Your body initially doesn’t want to give up the large portions. However, unlike the relationship between employees and owner , you and your body are on the same team. There is no conflict of interest; in the short-term.
Long-term however, there is a major conflict. Start eating normal portions and your body will begin to feel better as well as tell you to lay off the super-sized meals. It will communicate this in the only way it knows how; less fatigue, less gas, less belching, less illness, less disease and of course weight loss.
Trust Your Eyes:
Using your eyes to visually prepare a healthy portions is by far the most natural way to control portion sizes. The problem in America is that we have been conditioned by Big Food and other cultural norms to view normal portion sizes as too small.
Not so long ago, I viewed normal as being too small. At resturants, I remember always asking servers, “How filling is this entre”; that was restaurant code for, “I am looking for a dish that will have me staggering out of your establishment after suffering from food comatose.”
During the first 30 days of healthy living you should re-calibrate your eyes to recognize what a normal portion should look like. Understanding what a normal portion size looks like does not mean that you never over-indulge. It means that you understand and enjoy those occasions that you do. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with eating a full rack of baby back ribs. The problem is eating a full rack of baby back ribs and thinking that the portion size is normal.
Weigh Your Meals:
Weight is the cousin of your sight. It is also a standard unit of measurement that everybody understands. Weighing your food for 30 days serves as the boot camp for the long-term goal of achieving portion control through Trusting Your Eyes.
Commit to weighing food prepared at home 30 days. Afterwards your eyes will be all you need to know when you have had enough.
I am not overweight? Do I still need to weigh food eaten at home? Weighing your food is not a fad diet weight loss gimmick – it is deeper than that; almost spiritual.
Everyone needs to have a “plate in the mirror moment”. Weighing you food each day, within the privacy of your own home, will force you to pause and reflect on the food that you are about to consume. It is sort of like your own moment of truth. For me, this experience was transformative. I still weigh my food at least once per week. Even if your goal is to gain weight- you would just eat more portions; not larger ones.
Taking time each day to reflect on what you eat completes the circle of the 5 Rules of Healthy Living.
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Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and cannot even spell nutritionist or dietitian, which in my opinion makes me overly qualified to share common sense healthy eating tips. However this blog is for entertainment and informational purposes only. Please consult your doctor for specific medical advice.