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The Magic of Portion Control
Part 1: A Simple Way to Lose Weight Without Dieting

Diet is the only four-letter word that people use freely in polite company. It's a word that truly needs to be banned. Look up "diet" in the dictionary and you'll find an approximation of the following definition: "To regulate the selection of foods." But we all know that dieting means far more than that. It means deprivation. Starvation. Torture. Avoiding good-tasting food. Eating bland, boring cardboard food. It means "I'm fat and I have to stop eating the food I love. I will be miserable until the day I give up, throw caution to the wind and pig out on the nearest bag of chips or carton of ice cream." "Diet" is more than a mere word — it's a minefield!

(Article continued below.)

Do you know what dieting does? It makes people fat. Dieting makes them so unhappy that when they go off the diet, they have to compensate for all the deprivation. Dieting does not teach people good eating habits — in fact, it reinforces bad habits. It implies that there are two ways of eating — the painful, supposedly "healthy" way and the "regular" way (the way that made weight gain happen). When they are done with the diet, most people return to their old way of eating — and the weight returns. Dieting also creates irrational thinking. It reinforces negative thoughts and behaviors. Dieting says, "If I don't look like a supermodel, I am not desirable. I must be stick-thin to be wanted." Since practically no one is stick thin (and even fewer people look good when they're underweight), a person who diets often feels bad about herself. These negative feelings are fed by dieting, even as the body is deprived of nutrition.

It is possible to lose weight without dieting — it's called "eating rationally." Eating rationally does not mean never having chocolate again, saying good-bye to starchy carbohydrates and living only on vegetables and fish. Eating rationally means consuming a reasonable amount of nutritious food and the occasional treat. It's as simple as that. There's no "bad food" list (that is, except maybe for a food you really dislike, but that's a personal choice). What's more important than eating the right kind of food is eating the right amount of food. If you learn what a correct portion is, and if you eat a varied menu that includes protein, vegetables, fruit, some grains — and you toss in an indulgence now and again — you can enjoy mealtime without stress. And your body will find a weight that works for it — a weight that's probably less than the one you weigh right now. A reasonable, rational weight.

Next page >> What Is a Portion? >> Page 1, 2, 3

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