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  1. #1
    Sick ... again MacMan's Avatar
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    Lowering portion size ... how long does it take?

    I've pretty much realized that in order to drop weight I have to change the amount I eat. I generally eat well. I don't eat junk food - having a pizza is a rare event and I get guilt trips over it anyway. My problem is I eat a lot of what I do eat. I eat rice and wheat pasta until it comes out my ears and vegetables and chicken by the ton. I probably eat too much canned food too - baked beans over rice with hot sauce is a favourite! I don't eat too much red meat and when I do it is extra lean. I eat these foods primarily because I prefer the taste - I'm not obsessed about fat per se; I genuinely don't like fatty foods. The problem is that I can eat a pound of pasta in one sitting without too much trouble. I weigh 177 pounds and need to drop 15 for race season. No matter how hard I try, I just can't seem to reduce my portion size.

    Is it simply a case of slowly reducing what I eat, or should I fill up on other foods instead? I just don't seem to be dropping any weight no matter how much I ride the trainer. I'm not a big drinker either.

  2. #2
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    This is uncanny--I have EXACTLY the same problem. Too much good food is not so good! I have not licked the problem, but I'll tell you what's helped me a little.

    One thing is that I try to consciously think about portion control at all stages of food preparation. That is, when I shop for food, store it, prepare it and eat it. So buy smaller amounts, then separate them into small portion sizes when you get home. Only cook your little serving, and check its size one more time before you eat it.

    If that doesn't work, here's something a little more radical that you can try: Throw away 25 % of the food before you eat it. This sounds crazy, but it really gets you to understand that you can get along with smaller portions. After doing this for a week or two, there's a good chance that you will be better able to control serving sizes without "wasting" food.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  3. #3
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    I too seem to have the same tendency...as it's winter now I don't really care about my weight (I might have gained 4-5 pounds since sept.), but I tought of a trick I'll start using when I'll want to lose that extra weight. I've never really planned the amount of calories I'd need to fill the needs of my body depending on the amount of training I'd do in a day. that lead me to eating huge breakfasts and way too much carbs when I didn't really needed it because I was recovering.

    So, what I think will be useful is to plan the amount of calories I'll need at the same time as when I plan my training schedule. For instance, if I know that on Monday, Wednesday and Friday I'll be riding 2hrs at high intensity, I'll calculate the calories I'll need and grossly plan each meals I'll eat (both type of nutrients and amount of food) for the week to come. That way, before I start my day, I'll have a very good idea of the size of my meals to come in the day!

    I think it makes sense to plan your nutrition. You do it for your training, why not for your nutrition as well?

  4. #4
    Sick ... again MacMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    This is uncanny--I have EXACTLY the same problem. Too much good food is not so good! I have not licked the problem, but I'll tell you what's helped me a little.

    One thing is that I try to consciously think about portion control at all stages of food preparation. That is, when I shop for food, store it, prepare it and eat it. So buy smaller amounts, then separate them into small portion sizes when you get home. Only cook your little serving, and check its size one more time before you eat it.

    If that doesn't work, here's something a little more radical that you can try: Throw away 25 % of the food before you eat it. This sounds crazy, but it really gets you to understand that you can get along with smaller portions. After doing this for a week or two, there's a good chance that you will be better able to control serving sizes without "wasting" food.
    Throw away food ... say it isn't so!!!

    I think your idea of discipline may be the only way. I'm going to have to force myself to cook less. I always seem to fall into the trap of cooking extra for "tomorrow's lunch" which then turns into tonight's second helping. This is rapidly turning into one of the hardest things I've ever tried to do.

  5. #5
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    In the beginning, I didn't reduce portion sizes. I just substituted high calorie-density foods like fats, meats and cheesy pastas with lower calorie-density foods like veggies. So instead of a full large plate of fettucini carbonara, I'd have just half and the other half would be steamed veggies. This immediately reduced the calories ingested by about 30-40% for the same volume. Then I slowly reduced the portion sizes too.

  6. #6
    Senior Member jennings780's Avatar
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    I do not think that reducing portion sizes is a viable option for most people. Unless you are already overeating - you will become hungry. You should switch to eating mostly fruits and vegetables like Danno says - they are much bulkier for the calories consumed. Limit the amount of rice you eat and reduce the meat you eat to almost nothing. Eliminate cheese and dairy.

    Here is an excerpt from "Eat to Live" by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Here he is talking about commercial diet plans like Jenny Craig that limit portion sizes - I think it is somewhat applicable to what you are talking about.

    MOST WEIGHT LOSS PLANS ARE A WASTE OF YOUR MONEY

    *What is wrong with every single commercial weight-loss program? THEY ARE ALL TOO HIGH IN FAT AND TOO LOW IN FIBER, because they cater to the American love affair with rich, high-fat foods.

    *Weight Watchers' brand foods contain 24 percent of calories from fat. Lean Cuisine contains 25 percent of calories from fat. The Jenny Craig program requires the purchase of packaged meals with entrée's such as cheese soufflé and Salisbury steak, meals that are almost as bad as what most Americans eat at home. These commercial diet plans, since they are not very low in fat, must restrict portion sizes to offer 'low calorie' meals. These 'skimpy' portions represent an obsolete approach with a dismal tract record.

    *It is merely a matter of time before those trying to keep their portions small increase the amount of food they are eating. The amount of fiber is insufficient, and the nutrient density of the diet is poor. These diets restrict calories, but because the food choices and meal plans are so calorie-dense, the dieters must eat tiny portions in order to lose weight.

    *These choices don't satisfy our desire to eat, and we wind up craving food and becoming frustrated. When dieters can't stand eating thimble-size portions anymore and finally eat until satisfied, they put weight on with a vengeance. You may be able to hold your breath under water for a short period, but when you resurface you will be hungry for air and will be forced to speed up your respiratory rate. In a similar manner, if you cannot eat small portions forever, it just isn't likely to work for long.

    *You can't eat out of boxes and consume powdered drinks forever, either. If you do lose some weight, you will always gain it back. Instead, permanent changes in your eating habits must be made. Learning new recipes and adopting different ways of eating that you can live with will maintain your weight loss and protect your health for the rest of your life.

  7. #7
    Senior Member jennings780's Avatar
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    BTW, if you read Eat to Live and follow what he says to do for 6 weeks, you will lose the weight you are looking to shed.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMan
    I've pretty much realized that in order to drop weight I have to change the amount I eat. I generally eat well. I don't eat junk food - having a pizza is a rare event and I get guilt trips over it anyway. My problem is I eat a lot of what I do eat. I eat rice and wheat pasta until it comes out my ears and vegetables and chicken by the ton. I probably eat too much canned food too - baked beans over rice with hot sauce is a favourite! I don't eat too much red meat and when I do it is extra lean. I eat these foods primarily because I prefer the taste - I'm not obsessed about fat per se; I genuinely don't like fatty foods. The problem is that I can eat a pound of pasta in one sitting without too much trouble. I weigh 177 pounds and need to drop 15 for race season. No matter how hard I try, I just can't seem to reduce my portion size.

    Is it simply a case of slowly reducing what I eat, or should I fill up on other foods instead? I just don't seem to be dropping any weight no matter how much I ride the trainer. I'm not a big drinker either.
    How much do you exercise? How hard do you exercise? How much weight training do you do? What's your body fat composition?

    So many questions... so many unanswered questions.

    If you really want to figure out what's wrong, and you're serious, save up the money and 1) see a dietitian so they can find out where you're going wrong in your diet, 2) get a personal trainer so you can work on a good weight training program and keep track of your body fat composition and alter your program as you continue to progress (or not progress), and 3) get a cycling coach to pull #1 and #2 together. We can't do too much for you here, since we only get about 25% of anyone's story, and if this is what you're depending on to get into shape in time for the next season, I pity you... I really really pity you.

    Koffee

  9. #9
    Sick ... again MacMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koffee brown
    How much do you exercise? How hard do you exercise? How much weight training do you do? What's your body fat composition?

    So many questions... so many unanswered questions.

    If you really want to figure out what's wrong, and you're serious, save up the money and 1) see a dietitian so they can find out where you're going wrong in your diet, 2) get a personal trainer so you can work on a good weight training program and keep track of your body fat composition and alter your program as you continue to progress (or not progress), and 3) get a cycling coach to pull #1 and #2 together. We can't do too much for you here, since we only get about 25% of anyone's story, and if this is what you're depending on to get into shape in time for the next season, I pity you... I really really pity you.

    Koffee
    Valid points. I'm not relying on the forum per se, but I get good information here. To answer a few of your questions:
    1) Exercise - right now 3-4 trainer sessions per week. 2+ hours each. Intensity of medium - burning around 1500 calories a session (20 minute warm up and then 2 hours at about 190 watts)
    2) Personal Trainer - thinking of getting a coach for next season
    3) Dietician - thought about it
    4) Weight training. I'm bad with this - I don't do any. Once I stopped playing rugby years ago I stopped hitting the weights.
    5) Body fat - no idea. Last season (mid summer) I was 9% @ 170 pounds. This was a caliper test not hydrostatic.

    Jennings - nice book suggestion. I'll see if my local bookstore has a copy to peruse.

    Thanks!

  10. #10
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    How do you know if you're really burning 1500 calories in that two hours? I don't know very many people that are burning that much from riding a trainer (or other bike) for 2 hours. I'd think more like 600 cal... maybe, depending on how much you're fuelling and what you're fuelling with.

    Get to a performance lab and have them do a full analysis on you and determine what you're truly burning when you're working out. I don't believe in anything except what the tests tell me. Everything else is an estimation based off some bozo you don't know.

    9% on calibers is very good... even with the statistical % error, it's still very good.

    Koffee

  11. #11
    Sick ... again MacMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koffee brown
    How do you know if you're really burning 1500 calories in that two hours? I don't know very many people that are burning that much from riding a trainer (or other bike) for 2 hours. I'd think more like 600 cal... maybe, depending on how much you're fuelling and what you're fuelling with.

    Get to a performance lab and have them do a full analysis on you and determine what you're truly burning when you're working out. I don't believe in anything except what the tests tell me. Everything else is an estimation based off some bozo you don't know.

    9% on calibers is very good... even with the statistical % error, it's still very good.

    Koffee
    Calories recorded by HR monitor and Energy recorded by my PowerTap - 600 calories over 2 hours would be extremely low. My HR is in the 140s solid for 2 hours. I know it isn't exact, but it sure is more than 600!

    I'm actually planning on doing what you suggest - I'm going to go and get the Performance Testing package from Robbie Ventura's Vision Quest. Probably sometime in the early new year. Part of my weight is my build - I'm "solid" (short and squat!), but even so ... I gotta drop some bulk!

  12. #12
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    As usual, Danno and Koffee have great advice. I think I can add some additional value though given my long history with the same issues. (Except that I LOVE high fat foods too)
    1) Drink a big glass of water before and after eating.
    2) Always eat a price of fruit or a salad prior to your rice/pasta/baked beans feast.
    3) Serve yourself a platefull...and then put half of it back. If your still hungry, eat additional fruit, salad, or veggies.
    4) Cook/prepare less food. (Now don't go and tell yourself you need to make 'extra' so you can eat it for lunch tomorrow. We both know it will get eaten tonight)
    5) Finally, have your wife or significant other prepare your plate.

  13. #13
    Fly sillygirl's Avatar
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    I suggest the same as Danno - add more nutritious bulk to your food. For example, one of my favorite quick comfort foods is pasta like you - I just make sure I have at least as many cups of veggies as i do pasta on my plate (i actually try to double). One of my favorite "i dont have time meals" is to boil up some pasta, throw a bag of cut broccoli in the microwave (one of those fresh bags where you just cut the corner off), then mix pasta and broccoli and then add sauce (my fav is 1/4 cup boiling pasta water, lemon juice, and basil whisked into lowfat riccotta). Or if you have more time, cut up some zucchinis, and eggplant, and mushrooms and add 2 cups to 1/2 cup of marinara sauce.
    "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." F Scott Fitzgerald

    Check out my new food blog!!

  14. #14
    Senior Member angelo's Avatar
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    Okay, I've lost serious weight (40lbs+) in the last couple of years. Everyone is very different but here's what worked, _very_ well, for me:

    * Count calories. With a little bit of research and some practice it is pretty easy to at least estimate how many calories you are consuming. Find out what your daily intake should be, then stick to it and limit fat intake to <30% of those calories.

    * No snacks, no grazing. The calories for coincidental eating are summed (not forgotten) by your body. Before you know it you're consuming 300+ calories extra per day.

    * Exercise regularly. Cross train. Do things other than cycling such as running and going to the gym. Don't make excuses to avoid exercise.

    Ironically, I have found that permanently following strict rules without exception is deeply liberating.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMan
    Calories recorded by HR monitor and Energy recorded by my PowerTap - 600 calories over 2 hours would be extremely low. My HR is in the 140s solid for 2 hours. I know it isn't exact, but it sure is more than 600!

    I'm actually planning on doing what you suggest - I'm going to go and get the Performance Testing package from Robbie Ventura's Vision Quest. Probably sometime in the early new year. Part of my weight is my build - I'm "solid" (short and squat!), but even so ... I gotta drop some bulk!
    Definitely go to Ventura's crib and have your tests done. I really do think you're going to find that you're not burning as many calories as you think you are (many people make that mistake). I have some friends that are coaches for him... they are solid folks with an excellent reputation.

    Koffee

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    1500 for two hours sounds about right according to every calorie calulator I've every seen, esp. for a 170lb guy. How do you figure calories burned ?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjjone
    1500 for two hours sounds about right according to every calorie calulator I've every seen, esp. for a 170lb guy. How do you figure calories burned ?
    With a test in a performance lab where someone measures your oxygen intake while exercising, and slapping a heart rate monitor on you to let you know what percent of your calories burned come from fat or carbs. That I would believe, not some enter the number online calculator comparison based on some dude's test results.

    Koffee

  18. #18
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    With all respect to the others here: If the dude is eating good clean food, and he is exercising regularly, and he is still fat? Probably he is eating too much. You don't need a bunch of expensive "professionals" to tell you that.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    Senior Member Pedal Wench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMan
    Throw away food ... say it isn't so!!!

    I think your idea of discipline may be the only way. I'm going to have to force myself to cook less. I always seem to fall into the trap of cooking extra for "tomorrow's lunch" which then turns into tonight's second helping. This is rapidly turning into one of the hardest things I've ever tried to do.
    I have this exact problem - I solved it by putting 'tomorrow's lunch' away BEFORE I start to eat dinner.

  20. #20
    Banned wagathon's Avatar
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    There is 3,500 calories in a pound of fat. So, if you eat less per day than your body burns in a day, you'd lose, e.g., 350 fewer calories per day equals minus one-pound of fat per 10-days.

    A complicating factor is that, if through a reduction in daily calories, you lose weight faster than you put it on, your body may switch to a "surviival" mode and that changes everything, e.g., in that mode you can live on less and the body will try to convert and store everything that you eat as fat.

    I think that the reason high protien and fat combined with low carbs allows some people to eat more without gaining weight is that the body is faked out: it is programmed to "think" that if you're getting that much "quality" in your diet, you obviously have no problem hunting and your environment is very abundant so, no worrries about storing up for the winter.

  21. #21
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    About 10% of the fat calories are loss in conversion, so you only need to turn off 3200 calories to lose a pound.

  22. #22
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    I am not an expert on nutrition, just an every day ordinary USCF racer who after a 8 year hiatus has returned to the sport and wanted/still wants to lose 15 lbs to boost my power to weight (5’9” and 280 watts at LT).

    I started training 8 months ago and the first 8 lbs came off easily. Going from golfing twice a week to training on average 10 hours/week (using Friel's periodization plan for a 450 hour season) helped me go from 167 to 159 pretty easily.

    Getting to my goal of 150-152 is going to be a lot tougher. What’s working for me right now is...

    1. Using MyFoodDiary.com ($ 9/mo) to track calories – the site makes it easy to keep track of what I eat and the impact exercise has on my ability to eat more. I’m so much more aware of the volume I take in but still don’t feel deprived. Why?...
    2. I’ve added fat to my diet. A ¼ cup of Sunflower seeds as a 10am snack REALLY takes the edge of my appetite. Even a square or two of good chocolate (usually my desert), or a teaspoon of Almond Butter (anytime snack) can send me away happy until my next meal.
    3. I eat 5 balanced meals a day so I never feel like I’m starving.

    So far so good. In the past 6 weeks my Tanita Ironman scale tells me I’ve gone from 159 to 155. I think getting to 150 will be even tougher, so who knows if I’ve hit “the wall”. All I know is I’ve tried to lower portion size before and go the veggie/fruit/high protein route but by 10 am or 3 pm or 9 pm I was like a junkie looking for a fix. A little more fat has done the trick for me and allowed me to go with right-sized portions.

  23. #23
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    www.fitday.com + weigh (food scale, available at amazon.com) and measure *everything* you eat and drink for six weeks. You'll probably be shocked at how many calories you're eating every day, but after six weeks your expectations regarding food portions will realign themselves to more realistic levels.

  24. #24
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    ok, here what i did...
    a little bit ago, i needed to lose around 10 lbs to get down to race weight for swimming. Instead of going on some elaborate diet I did 4 things:
    1. no more junk food
    2. drink a big cup of water before every meal
    3. bought smaller plates and bowls (this limited portion size)
    4. stopped eating after 9pm.

    i kept everything else in my life pretty much constant, and lost the weight in about 1.5 months (slow, but it came)

    i'm not saying that this will work for everyone, and it sure hasnt helped now that i stopped exercising (back up where i was before), but it seems to me that a healthy diet and exercise will keep much of the population where they need to be.

  25. #25
    Maglia Ciclamino gcasillo's Avatar
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    Two things help me greatly:

    1) Eat more often. I don't put myself in a position to get real hungry.
    2) As soon as I wake up in the morning, eat something. I have little appetite in the morning, but I have to wake up my metabolism. A glass of milk and some oatmeal or a Nutragrain bar gets the body working. Starting the day well makes success possible.

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