Day 6. Meal Planning
The Science Behind Why Meal Planning and Portion Control Can Help you Achieve Your Goals
The food you eat has a huge impact on how your body functions. Although exercise plays an important role, 80% of your weight loss results will come from your diet. In order to improve your metabolism (another way of saying “your body’s processes”), and thus lose weight, it’s important to think about how large your meals are and what you put into them.
Meal planning and portion control can change how you look at your food - and how you look at your life. Small improvements make big changes, so don’t wait to start using these tips!
Why Meal Planning and Portion Control Matters
When you plan out your meals and control your portions, you...
• Consume fewer calories, which helps with your weight loss goals
• Avoid blood sugar spikes, better controlling diabetes •
• Avoid foods with harmful ingredients, such as trans fats
• Eat a variety of foods, providing your body with the nutrients it needs to function
When you don’t plan your meals or eat large portions, you...
• Consume more calories than you realize, leading to weight gain
• Eat more unhealthy foods without realizing it
• Eat foods with empty calories, depriving your body of the nutrients it needs
• May not eat enough of the high quality fruits, vegetables, and meats that make up a healthy diet
The Science Behind Meal Planning and Portion Control
The more you eat, the more weight you gain. If you eat less nutritious food, your metabolic health suffers. And the research is clear that eating larger portions leads to wanting to eat more in the future. Those three habits can snowball, leading you to eat more every day without realizing it.1
Science recommends two different ways to get control of your eating habits, lose weight, and improve your metabolic health: reduce the portion size of the meals you eat, and choose foods that are full of nutrients, low in calories, and filling.2
By choosing foods that are scientifically proven to improve your metabolic health, you can nourish your body and set yourself up for success. All it takes is a willingness to avoid foods that don’t do your body any good and the discipline to plan out your meal before you start eating.
Make it Happen
Are you ready to see the difference that a healthy metabolic diet can make? Are you willing to commit to paying attention to portion sizes and consciously planning out your meals?
Make a Change: Have a Unicity Complete shake for breakfast. Use the plate method to plan out your lunch and dinner every day. Make an effort to cut back on sugary or fatty treats.
Challenge Yourself: Have a Unicity Complete shake for breakfast. Use the plate method to plan out your lunch and dinner every day. Avoid sugary and fatty treats altogether, with the exception of your “reset” meal.
Taking the time to “reprogram” what you view as a full meal will not only help you lose weight over the course of your challenge, it will also put you in the position of making choices that are great for your metabolic health in the future.
Your Next Steps
1. Know What a Healthy Metabolic Diet Looks Like: Meal planning starts with knowing what to eat... and what to avoid.
Here’s what you’ll find in a healthy, well-planned diet:
• Reasonable portion sizes
• Whole grains, rather than processed carbohydrates
• An emphasis on fish and lean cuts of meats
• An emphasis on fruits and vegetables
• Plenty of beans, legumes, healthy fats, and dairy
And here’s what you won’t find:
• High amounts of saturated fats
• Trans fats
1. Rolls, B. J. (2014). What is the role of portion control in weight management? International Journal of Obesity (2005), 38(Suppl 1), S1–S8. http://doi.org/10.1038/ijo.2014.82
2. Rolls, B. J., Roe, L. S., Meengs, J. S., & Wall, D. E. 2004. Increasing the portion size of a sandwich in- creases energy intake. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and DIetics, 104(30), 367-372. doi: 10.1016/j. jada.2003.12.013
• High glycemic snacks (chips, crackers, etc)
• Sugary desserts and treats (cake, cookies, ice cream, candy, etc)
2. Read Your Labels: How do you know if a certain food should be included in your diet? And how much of it should you eat? It’s all in the labels. Read and review our Core Fundamental on reading food labels, and use what you learn to choose foods that are high in fiber, healthy fats, and protein. Labels will also help you decide how much of a given food is a reasonable portion. Pay close attention here - a serving may be smaller than you think!
3. Pick Your Plate: The plate method is a simple and intuitive way to plan out your meals. Draw an imaginary line across a nine-inch dinner plate, dividing it in half. Then, divide oneof the halves again. Your plate now has three segments - one large and two small. For each meal, fill the largest section with non-starchy vegetables (like raw carrots, greens, or peppers). Fill one of the smaller sections with healthy carbohydrates (such as quinoa, beans, or sweet potatoes). Finally, fill the last section with lean protein (such as skinless chicken breast, salmon, egg whites, or tofu). If it won’t make you overshoot your caloric goals, you may also choose to add in a serving of dairy, fruit, or healthy fat. Voila! A complete, well-balanced, and perfectly portioned meal. Enjoy!
4. Be Flexible: You may try the plate method and feel that it’s just not working for you. That’s okay! There’s more than one way to plan a meal. Maybe it’s easier for you to count carbohydrates, or to just stick with tracking calories. Don’t give up if any particular method isn’t working. Check in with your coach for valuable advice and ideas to help you make the most out of each meal.
Think Long Term
Meal planning and portion control isn’t only important during your challenge. Keep these principles in mind as you continue to improve your lifestyle after your challenge is done.
• Keep your plate. Don’t give up on the plate method when your challenge is over! Keep using the same plate to eyeball your meals and you’ll continue to improve your metabolic health and lose weight.
• Embrace the doggie bag. Restaurant portions are notoriously large, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat them all at once. Split your meal in half as soon as you get it. Eat one half at the restaurant, then take the other home to enjoy later. Or split your entree with a likeminded friend!
• Know yourself. Most people have certain types of foods that are likely to make them overeat. Maybe you couldn’t say no to a cinnamon roll every morning, or maybe you always found yourself munching on chips in front of the TV. Don’t let those temptations back into your life! Take the time to examine what your eating habits were like before your challenge and avoid foods that used to tempt you.
• It’s okay to cheat a little. Improving your metabolic health doesn’t mean you can never enjoy a treat again. In fact, cheating a little bit once a week can help keep you on track the rest of the time. Give yourself a one hour cheat window once a week. Start by taking Balance 10 to 15 minutes before your meal, then enjoy whatever it is you’re craving. Finish up within your hour and get back on track. Stay disciplined in how you use your cheat meals, and you can have your cake and lose weight too.