**Please Note : I am not a dietician or a doctor. What I am writing about is just my experiences and my opinions.**
So if you are counting your calories... then why be concerned with portion control? I mean isn't calorie counting a way of portion control?
By eating NutriSystem meals you will quickly see what a proper portioned diet meal should be. You will notice that your entree's are smaller than what you are use to.
I feel they do this for two reasons.
1) Lower your calories : The most obvious reason is to eat fewer calories you will inherently eat less food. So this one is a given... not much of a mystery.
2) Shrink your stomach : Everyone knows that your stomach grows or shrinks depending on your eating habits. By eating less your stomach will shrink and then you will get full easier. This is key for sustaining your weight lose.
There is a fact that you have to accept and understand. It takes ~15-20mins for food to reach your stomach. This is a big reason why people over eat. If we start shoving food into our mouths our stomachs will not be able tell our brains it is full until ~20-25 minutes... which may lead to the over consumption of calories.
Other diets teach you how to eat slowly. It's gives your stomach time to react to the food that you have eaten and allows it time to signal you when it is full before it's too late. You do eat slower with NutriSystem, but not for that reason. Since the meals are pre-portioned for you then you know that meal will fill your stomach. (You typically eat slower with NutriSystem because you want the meal to last, haha).
I have told many people that the hardest thing about NutriSystem is to stop eating even though you are still hungry; but ~20 minutes after the meal and the food hits my stomach and the hunger goes away. It's a strange concept but one you have to understand otherwise you will just convince yourself that you are not eating enough.
Now portion control doesn't mean you can never eat a full steak, sandwich, or enjoy a fulfilling meal. What it means is that you will quickly start to measure calories with your eyes. After eating smaller portions and eating slower, you will create a good perspective of how much to eat. You will find yourself ordering from kids menus because they are portioned better than adult meals.
* Make sure you always do your research before going out to eat. Look up the calories and nutritional information online before going. This way you don't get mislead or tempted by the restaurant. Example: Macaroni Grill has a "Lite" menu which has entrees under 600 calories... but if you are on a diet then 600 calories is probably still too high. Pollo Caprese is 550 calories which may be great if you are trying to sustain your wait. A better choice for dieting is the Grilled Chicken and Pasta from the kids menu which is a total of 310 calories but filling.
If your entree is filling your whole plate or in a large bowl, chances are it has too many calories and will lead to making your stomach larger. Don't make it harder on yourself... do the research. Lower calories and smaller portions go hand and hand. Give yourself a chance to fill up before ordering or eating more.
** Warning : Sometimes your eyes can be deceiving. Smaller doesn't always mean less calories, which is why research is so important. Example : an Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich from Wendys (just the sandwich) is 390 calories... a much smaller option Jr Bacon Cheeseburger actually has 400 calories. Remember that saying "Know Thy Enemy"... it truly applies with dieting. Another great example (one my wife and I love) is splitting the Margarita Grilled Chicken dish at Chili's which is 550 calories. Divide that 550 calories into two and my wife and I get a 275 calorie dinner... and the dish is huge!!
*** Create your own Eat This / Not That list : I am creating my own Excel sheet with places in Northern VA I like to eat at along with entrees that I am able to eat when dieting and entrees I am able to eat when I am ready to sustain my weight. Once I am done I will post it on this blog. I recommend you do the same. Make it easier on yourself by doing the research now... don't go into a tempting place without knowing. You will be amazed how many calories most salads have. A Market Chop Salad (with Dressing) at Macaroni Grill is 1020 calories!!!
Hope this helps :)
Next Up... Keeping your metabolism going.