When losing weight, the last hing we want to think about is how much we should be exercising and how little we should be eating, but the reality is that if you ignore your diet and nutrition and stick to exercise alone, you have almost no chance of losing weight. It takes only a few minutes to consume hundreds of calories or more and could take over an hour to burn just 500 of those calories if you are exercising rigorously.
So let’s discuss something called portion control, which is the key to weight loss providing you are eating health foods and eating appropriate quantities and portions of each. If you eat a cup of vegetables, it will generally be under 50 calories. A cup of pasta or candy for example, will be hundreds of calories. In sticking to very small portions of high caloric density foods and large portions of low caloric density foods, you can lose weight easily.
But where do I learn about portion control?
One of the hottest products on the market is a new exercise program and nutrition system called the 21 day fix that includes portion control containers you can use to help you understand how calorie restriction works. The containers are color coded according to the different food groups. Yellow is for carbohydrates while red is for proteins. The largest two containers are green and purple which stand for fruits and vegetables. And you have smaller blue and orange containers which are for seeds, healthy fats and oils and salad dressings.
You will follow a formula to calculate how many calories you need to eat each day in order to lose weight. That number will vary depending on your exercise level and lifestyle. If you lead an active life, you’ll burn more calories on a daily basis and can eat more. If you have a desk job or spend a lot of time sitting down, your calorie burn level will be much lower than someone who is on the go or on their feet all day (like a construction worker or mom for example!)
Do I need to exercise to lose weight?
Of course if you are limiting your caloric intake you will naturally lose weight but you can lose even more weight by increasing your exercise and activity levels each day. The more calories you burn, the larger deficit you create and you will naturally lose more weight. We recommend getting between 30 minutes to 40 minutes of moderate intensity exercise at least 3 or 4 times a week. Walking or power walking alone isn’t enough to truly challenge your body though it is a good start if you are a beginner or new to exercise.
You should slowly start to introduce weight lifting or strength training into your daily routine by lifting light weights or dumbbells and doing various exercises alternating body parts on different days. Be careful not to over exert yourself.
By combining the use of portion control containers and doing an exercise program such as the 21 day fix, you are setting yourself up for success.