How to Tailor Your Diet to Your Goals

How to Tailor Your Diet to Your Goals

Why Portion Control is Important
Your calorie intake is a key factor in weight control and health.

By controlling your portions, you are more likely to avoid consuming too many calories.

While whole foods are certainly a lot harder to overeat than processed foods, they can still be eaten in excess.

If you are overweight or trying to lose body fat, it’s particularly important to monitor your portion size.

There are many simple strategies to control portion size.

For example, you can use smaller plates and take a smaller-than-average first serving, then wait 20 minutes before you return for more.

Another popular approach is measuring portion size with your hand. An example meal would limit most people to 1 fist-sized portion of carbs, 1–2 palms of protein and 1–2 thumb-sized portions of healthy fats.

More calorie-dense foods such as cheese, nuts and fatty meats are healthy, but make sure you pay attention to portion sizes when you eat them.

BOTTOM LINE:
Be aware of portion sizes and your total food or calorie intake, especially if you are overweight or trying to lose fat.
How to Tailor Your Diet to Your Goals
First, assess your calorie needs based on factors like your activity levels and weight goals.

Quite simply, if you want to lose weight, you must eat less than you burn. If you want to gain weight, you should consume more calories than you burn.

Here is a calorie calculator that tells you how much you should eat, and here are 5 free websites and apps that help you track calories and nutrients.

If you dislike calorie counting, you can simply apply the rules discussed above, such as monitoring portion size and focusing on whole foods.

If you have a certain deficiency or are at risk of developing one, you may wish to tailor your diet to account for this. For instance, vegetarians or people who eliminate certain food groups are at greater risk of missing out on some nutrients.

In general, you should consume foods of various types and colors to ensure you get plenty of all the macro- and micronutrients.

While many debate whether low-carb or low-fat diets are best, the truth is that it depends on the individual.

Based on research, athletes and those looking to lose weight should consider increasing their protein intake. In addition, a lower-carb diet may work wonders for some individuals trying to lose weight or treat type 2 diabetes (31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source).

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