Meal Planning: Portion Control/Cutting

In an age of bulk food and value meals, limit your intake with a little preparation.  Rather than eat directly from the box/container, dole the contents into smaller containers.  In addition to calorie control, it can make grabbing food on the fly easier.

Despite what you read on the covers of magazines, there are no special workouts.  To loose weight means reducing your caloric intake.  “But that’s starving yourself” is often the response.  We accumulate fat by consuming more calories than we need, so no – you are overeating in the first place.  And all your exercise won’t work if you are “eating it back” – justifying foods and quantity “because you’ll work it off”.  Body builders call it “cutting” when you are working towards a weight and/or body fat percentage goal – a daily limit of around 1,500 calories.  It’s to make a calorie deficit, so you’re eating less than what you use throughout the day.

Obligatory warning here about going beneath 1,500 calories can have health consequences, and a long term “cutting” diet might be anorexia/bulimia.

There are studies to support that exercise makes us happy.  “Runners high” is a well known term for the euphoria that can come with running – lots of reformed addicts become long distance runners.  Most of the studies I’ve seen to support the chemical reaction aspect, but I think they miss that exercise means goals and social interaction.  Joining a club (running, cycling, etc) can be very social and humans by nature are gregarious.  This motivates us to continue exercising, and can lead to a better lifestyle.

There’s various ways to implement cutting.  I was very scientific at the start: I picked one aspect and focused on it for a period of time.  Progress was slow, but I knew what was responsible for the results.  The other benefit was that with enough time, the change became normal to me so my lifestyle evolved.  I came to see that I was eating because I was bored, and choosing food that was easy (little to no preparation) to make satisfying the boredom easier.

Looking to make a change?  Try the local marathon or triathlon groups.  Triathlon is nice because of the crosstraining/variety.  My next marathon is Netflix.  Joking aside, marathon training is social and decent amount of time to chat with people and make friends.  Both marathon and triathlon are largely comprised of women.