Luckily, fad diets (like cabbage soup diets and weight loss shakes) are becoming a thing of the past. Today, fitness experts, nutritionists, and health-conscious celebrities all tout the benefits of eating moderately. Extreme diets are unsustainable. Instead, eating in moderation allows you to develop healthy habits that can last forever. What you need to do is simple: eat moderate portions and balanced foods, plan your meals ahead, learn portion control, and prepare to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Practice portion control
Use your plate to divide meals into portions. A balanced meal is made up of 1/2 plate of vegetables, 1/4 plate of lean protein and 1/4 plate of good quality carbohydrates. If you’re eating a calorie-packed meal and looking to lose weight, use a smaller plate to make yourself think you’re eating more.
Measure food when necessary. You don’t have to overwhelm yourself measuring everything you eat, but if you can’t resist certain high-calorie foods like pasta, determine your portion sizes with a measuring cup. Since measuring cups won’t always be close at hand, learn shortcuts to calculating portions.
A closed fist equals 1 cup.
Your open palm (excluding fingers) is a good estimate of a serving of protein.
Save the excess food after serving your plate. Don’t leave pots of food on the table or nearby counter when you eat your food. Once you’ve portioned out appropriately, save any leftover food to avoid unnecessary repetition.
In order not to forget, place the storage containers on the counter before you finish preparing the food.
Avoid eating with distractions. When you get distracted, you tend to over-consume. Therefore, do not eat in front of the television or while driving your car. Instead sit at the table, focus on the food and savor every bite.
Eat as slowly as possible. Eating slowly allows the brain to get the message that you are full. You often need much less food than you think.
Take small bites to control your pace.
Put your fork or spoon down between each bite.
Share desserts to eat small portions. You don’t need to finish an entire slice of cake or an entire scoop of ice cream. Share with your friends or family to decrease portion sizes. If you are alone, share with your future self and save at least half of the dessert before finishing.
Control your snacking habits. Don’t just open and eat a bag of chips. Instead, portion snacks by placing them in small plastic bags or pre-portioned containers. Better yet, whole foods like apples and carrots make great snacks, as they make it easy for you to determine how much you’re eating.
Practice restraint when eating out
Eat a healthy snack before dining out. Never go to restaurants or parties feeling hungry. You will have a hard time controlling portions if you are hungry or chatting with your friends.
Eat snacks like carrots with chickpea paste, yogurt or fruit, and low-fat cheese before you leave the house.
Use takeout containers when you’re at the restaurant. Most restaurants serve portions that are double what you need. Ask for a container to go as soon as the dish you’ve ordered is brought to remind you not to eat it all. Before you eat your meal, set a goal for how much you’re going to take home, for example: 3 slices of pizza or half a plate of chicken.
Pour takeout onto a plate instead of eating it straight from the box. It’s impossible to estimate how much you’re eating when you’re sharing multiple takeout containers with your friends. Serve the food on a plate to gauge how much you really need.
plan your meals
Find out what your ideal calorie intake is. Although moderate food intake tries to avoid obsessive calorie counting, you should make sure you have a general idea of what a healthy meal is for you. The average person requires 2,000 calories a day, but this varies based on your age, gender, weight, and height.
Visit the following website to calculate how many calories you need per day: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/weight-loss/itt-20084941.
Plan and prepare meals during the week that fit your dietary requirements. By preparing these foods in advance, you will avoid impulse snacking. It will also allow you to control portion sizes ahead of time for most of your meals.
You can use apps like Cook Smart and Plan to Eat to plan your meals.
Consult a nutritionist or doctor if you plan to fast. Lately, many people have reported their success stories with “intermittent fasting,” which involves eating normally most of the time while heavily restricting food intake at scheduled intervals. Although scientists have found some evidence for such an approach, recent fad diets exaggerate the benefits and downplay the risks.
The 5:2 diet consists of eating regularly for 5 days and then limiting your caloric intake by 25% for 2 days.
The 16:8 plan sets hourly recommendations. It requires you to eat normally for 8 hours and fast for the remaining 16 hours.
Adopt a healthy lifestyle
Spend time with other people who eat healthy. While you don’t need to break up with unhealthy eaters, research shows that people who hang out with other healthy eaters also pick up the habit. So make plans with people who already have the habits you want to have.
Exercise regularly to keep yourself in a healthy mindset. Exercises increase your appetite, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to eat too much. In contrast, setting a goal of exercising 3-5 times a week will help you develop self-control and a commitment to maintaining good health.
Get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. Resting well will allow you to control impulse eating. Research shows that getting 8 hours of sleep dramatically decreases impulse snacking and binge eating.