It’s hardly news if I tell you that, as a nation, we’re getting fatter. It probably won’t surprise you either that most people who want personal training with me want to lose weight. Although there are many reasons people gain weight, there is nearly always one common cause that the UK is getting fatter, which is non-surprise number three-we eat too much!
OK, that’s blindingly obvious, but the most important thing I tell all clients is to reduce portion size. 99% of diet plans focus on eating fewer calories and the other 1% are too mad to consider! Whether it’s about counting points, avoiding food groups or mainly eating soups and shakes they are all creative ways to make people eat fewer calories, because we eat too much.
Have a look at the crockery and glasses your grandparents used. I would bet the dinner plates and bowls are much smaller and the glasses, especially wine glasses are miniscule. A full dinner plate from 50 years ago will literally hold half the amount of food as a modern full dinner plate. When we also consider that modern food is often processed and therefore has more calories per gramme, then we eat way too much.
So before trying any weird or wacky new approach to eating, try the simplest one out there-eat less. Here are three practical ways to start:
- When you’ve served your usual portion size, take off one spoonful of carbs (potatoes/rice/pasta/bread) and one spoonful of protein (meat/poultry/fish/eggs/cheese). Don’t take away any vegetables because they’re not too calorific and also good for you.
- Use a smaller plate. If you can get an old-fashioned smaller dinner plate then use that (try charity shops or ask an older relative). Alternatively use a side plate for serving your main meal on.
- Don’t have second helpings or pudding. You may feel peckish for the first week or two, but you won’t feel really hungry. Develop a little willpower and after a couple of weeks you won’t crave the extra food and you’ll already be eating less.
Dave Hall is the At Home Fitness Personal Trainer in Nottingham