While completing my Masters in Holistic Nutrition, the entire focus of my studies was on learning what real, whole foods were all about. So instead of turning to the back of a product label to check the calorie content, I just became adept at eating as natural as possible. I felt better, had more energy and was very healthy overall. But one thing constantly fluctuated without my understanding of why-my weight. Can you relate? This is when I discovered the importance of perfecting my portion control. Eating healthy is a key component to a long and happy life. In addition, how much you are eating is just as important.
How much you need to eat is not a cookie cutter answer-it really does vary person by person. For example, some experts will tell you to go by your basal metabolic rate (BMR) to determine your daily calorie intake. Well my BMR is just over 1400 calories (go to http://internetfitness.com to calculate yours). This is how many calories I burn at rest, not taking into account how active I am throughout the day. However, whenever I have tried to shoot to consume 1,400 calories, I have always gone over and still felt hungry. So what gives?
Being the curious gal that I am, I wanted to get to the bottom of this. I had the opportunity to wear a Bodymedia Armband monitor to see how many calories I was really burning on average. What a wakeup call! On average, including workout days and off days, I burn an average of 2,785 calories! This creates a huge gap between my BMR and reality. I found this number extremely exciting and empowering. Now I have been able to perfect my portions to make sure my body is getting the fuel it needs. This is even more important for exercisers as well.
So once you have your magic number, how do you perfect portion control? You may not like my old-school answer, but the most accurate way is food journaling or logging your food online. It is time-consuming, but you will not have to do it forever-just long enough for you to get a good idea of how much you need to be eating for you. Remember, this is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It will be a highly enlightening experience-I promise. For example, did you know that there are over 900 calories in one cup of walnuts? You can still enjoy foods such as nuts, but you will just need to watch your portions.
At first, it may feel a bit daunting, but learning to perfect your portion control is very motivating once you have it down. By obtaining a precise count on your daily calorie burn, you can accurately adjust your portion sizes to maintain weight, lose weight, or even gain weight. This puts you in control, while taking out the guess work once and for all!
*The information on this site is designed for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Thank you!
~by Kimberly Olson