Here is a really simple weight loss tip to ensure you eat fewer calories and eat the right kind of foods. It’s called the 3-2-1 principle and is a sure-fire way to blast off weight.
I have written in previous blogs that the key to weight loss is in what we eat more than what we do. Exercise is extremely valuable for weight loss and brings loads of other benefits, but it will not help you lose weight if you eat incorrectly.
Many people when they cook will load their plate up with carbs (rice, pasta, potatoes or bread), a big lump of protein (meat, fish, poultry) and add a few vegetables as a concession to health. How many of you have a big plate of rice with loads of chilli or Bolognese on top and a side portion of vegetables. Maybe you prefer a nice big steak, loads of chips and a small salad. Even lunch might be a sandwich that is mainly bread with a little chicken and a limp bit of lettuce.
If instead you aim for a ratio of 3:2:1, with three representing vegetable portions, two portions of carbs and one portion of protein you will rapidly reduce your carbs and be eating healthier proportions of the right foods. Let us take a couple of examples, starting with an easy one-the Sunday Roast. If half your plate is vegetables (excluding potatoes) with a chicken breast or two slices of beef and three roast potatoes you will have a meal that conforms to the 3-2-1 principle. Now imagine it’s summer and you’re having a barbecue. If you have one sausage or burger, between two halves of a bread roll and then pile your plate high with salad you’ll achieve a 3-2-1 ratio. You might be a bit healthier still and have a piece of chicken, with some rice salad (carbs + vegetables) and a vegetable kebab.
The principle can easily apply to a regular evening meal where half your plate should be vegetables. The other half should be split two to one between protein and carbs. It is also important that you don’t load the carbs and protein until you can’t see over them! A portion size is roughly the size of your palm and depth of your thumb. You don’t need to measure or weight food, just use your eye to judge whether the plate in front of you roughly sticks to the 3-2-1 ratios.
Just to remind you, protein is meat, poultry, eggs, dairy and vegetarian equivalents such as Quorn or tofu. Carbs are things like potatoes, rice, pasta and bread. Vegetables exclude potatoes which are carbs, but include any vegetable or salad item.
Put it into practice today and you’ll soon see a big difference.
Jamie Johnston is a Personal Trainer in Birmingham.