Many diets require you to reduce what you eat in order to lose body fat and get in shape. In fact, some diets recommend that instead of trying to do excessive exercise and lessen how many calories you ingest, you focus on diet first and gradually up the intensity of your movement.
However, there are many conflicting ideas about how much food you should try to not eat per day, depending on what type of weight loss result you are after. The final outcome, as in how you want to look, plays a large part. There are programs for:
Every program has a common theme: the idea of a weight loss meal, as in a recipe for what you have to eat and how much you have to eat at a certain time of the day. The intention is that using these unique recipes you can ultimately end up at the required physical result.
- Getting toned and slim but not too muscly (if you are a woman this may be what you want)
- Getting ripped and very buff
- Losing a few stones if you are seriously overweight but not worried about being muscularly defined
I do not have a problem with this thinking. If you are currently in the middle of such a weight loss program or fat loss plan, then you should see it through to the end.
The intention of this article is to talk about a general rule of thumb for gauging a good size and portion of food that can be applied no matter what you are eating. This should be the basis of any weight loss meal.
The kind of eating plan I use and write about is not specific to any outcome other than helping to reduce belly fat, though it does reduce fat in general. From my own experience, this is what has worked best.
Before considering the quality of the food you are going to eat, it is always good to look at what you are currently eating. You do not have to immediately change all the foods you eat; in fact it is advisable not to do this. If you change one or two types and quantities of food, for example, having more carrots and broccoli instead of potatoes or chips, then you will find lots of new meal ideas using what you already eat.
These new recipes can also be created in the moment. To aid this spontaneity, this is my tip.
It is best to reduce what you eat by only 10 % of your current calorie intake. You can do more, but again it depends on what your long term outcome is and how permanent the change in lifestyle will be. Reducing what you eat by only 10 %, with reference to a starting point, is sustainable for a long time. Note that by this I mean, you do not continuously reduce what you eat each successive week by 10 % and end up starving yourself! You maintain 10 % less of what you used to eat before you went on your fat or weight loss plan.
To work out what 10 % less looks like:
This obviously works best when you are eating a full plate of food, which is not uncommon for most people. The width of your thumb will reduce the area by roughly 10 % (maybe a little more, if you have big hands) but this can be compensated for if your food is slightly piled in the middle of your plate.
- The next time you have a plate of food (typically 10 inches in diameter) put your hands on each side of the plate such that they mark the boundary of the food on the plate.
- Have your hands at right angles to the plate, stretched out with fingers together so the palms are flat. Think of measuring a big fish with your hands.
- Bring your thumbs in so that the tops are in line with the tops of your index fingers. It will look like you have no thumbs if you flipped your hand over.
- Where your thumbs now are, make a visual note, and then move both hands closer so that each hand is where the corresponding thumb was i.e. essentially moving 1 thumb width closer.
- The area of food between your hands is now 10 % less and is how much you should eat for that meal.
Hence, the rule of thumb applied here is literally that: you are using your thumbs as a quick way to reasonably estimate a 10% reduction in your food for that meal. Applied where appropriate, it helps build a sense of how much less food you need to eat day to day. It can also form part of your overall eating plan strategy.