Various portion control/everything-in-moderation type diets?
March 9, 2015 5:59 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for recommendations for diets that focus on portion control something along the lines of The Zone or The South Beach diet. I had both these books a long time ago but don't anymore and need some good online resources/outlines or suggested books for similar types of diets.

Ideally I want something that would outline what a typical meal and portion control should look like. I looked at the Weight Watchers points system but don't really like it. There is so much crap to wade through online I feel overwhelmed and there are about 1000 books in the diet section of my local library.

I'm not looking for an extreme diet and or any diets that cut out or minimize food groups. Balance is key here. I mostly want something that will drill portion control into my head so I can learn how to eat proper meals rather than actually "diet" as a quick fix for weight loss.

I'm also very familiar with the paleo diet but I'm actually trying to move more towards a standard diet with grains, beans, legumes allowed.
posted by atinna to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Have you looked at It's a great resource, has the info you are looking for, and is FABULOUS for keeping track of your food. It also has great smartphone apps.
posted by harrietthespy at 6:10 PM on March 9, 2015

I saw an infomercial a couple of days ago for a diet/exercise thing called the 21 day fix. It used color coded plastic tubs (Tupperware) to set out portions of specific food categories, so for example, you'd get 6 of the green tubs of veggies each day, two of the carb ones or whatever.

It seemed kind of brilliantly simple. Its certainly pretty low on accuracy, but it's the first portion control method that seemed like it would be easy (and not terribly time consuming) to actually implement. I have no idea about the quality but it seemed to be an interesting approach.
posted by pennypiper at 6:17 PM on March 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

You might look at for ideas.

The menu planner involves the portion amounts, # of food group servings, includes recipes, and for being designed by dieticians is not too "and then a crisp wheat bread to really satisfy." You can make substitutions in the little menu rubrics , too.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 6:43 PM on March 9, 2015

I lost 60 pounds a couple years ago and have kept it off. What I did:
  • MyFitnessPal, as mentioned above
  • an elliptical I bought for my basement (I watch *action* movies while riding it 35 min a day most days, be sure to put the exercise in MFP since it will give you more calories you can have)
  • I paid attention to what my body was saying vis my limits of self-control (I can eat 3 or 6 hard pretzels a day without overdoing it, but I can't have donuts or candy bars or sandwiches or ice cream or chips) to stay on the daily calorie that MFP suggests you have to find what works (I now like caramel rice cakes, I like tuna from the can with light mayo and a V8 drink as a meal)
  • similar to the previous point, I found what filled me up (24 ounce cups of coffee with Splenda and a couple non-refrig. sugar free creamers, 200 calorie cans of soup, 50 grams measured of extra fancy nuts (cashews, almonds, pistachios, pecans)
  • I accepted the fact that it takes a while to gain wait and will take at least as long to lose it...I lost about 3 pounds a month for 20 months = 60 pounds
I'm not an expert, but what I did sounds like what you're asking for (if I read correctly).

You have my best wishes for success in whatever scheme you use!
posted by forthright at 6:49 PM on March 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

Using your hand as a calorie control guide.
posted by Comrade_robot at 7:22 PM on March 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

The DASH diet is good for this. It was designed for those with high blood pressure and such but it's an overall healthy but not extreme diet. It'ss done very well in scientific studies.
posted by Aranquis at 7:27 PM on March 9, 2015

Best answer: The "no-S" diet seems like it might fit you, even though it cuts out one food group (sugar). If I remember right, though, they say some people might not do all the "s"s, so you could apply the "no snacks, no seconds" and keep eating sugar within those constraints if you want.

I think the point of it is that if you don't snack and don't take seconds, you quickly learn how much your body needs to eat at each meal to get you through to the next without hunger, but you are unlikely to overeat.
posted by lollusc at 7:48 PM on March 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

The replacement of the USDA food pyramid is I believe using your plate divided into parts in order to determine how much of each food group you should have in proportion to the plate. For example, filling half your plate with non starch vegetables, 1/4 with lean protein etc. This probably is the roughest method possible of portion estimation but it definitely is easy : see for more info.
posted by NikitaNikita at 8:32 PM on March 9, 2015

I came in here to recommend No S.
posted by Anne Neville at 6:26 AM on March 10, 2015

Believe it or not, you may want to try doing bentos for your lunch. Not, like, the insanely food-stylist bentos where you carve cheese into a Rodin sculpture or anything super-styled like that, though. Rather - making sure you get the right portion is kind of the point of your average bento box, especially if you get one that's been well-designed.

You're supposed to make sure you get a bento box designed for your specific nutritional needs - kids' bento boxes are different sizes from adult men's, and adult womens' are different from both of them, based on how many calories you're "supposed" to have. Then, you just make sure that a third of what you pack into it is carbs, a third is protein, and a third is fruits and vegetables. If you get one that has divided containers, this is even easier to do.

The beauty of this is that you're encouraged to pack each section of the container, so you'll feel satisfied appetite-wise - but the size of the container is still keeping things under control. And you're also encouraged to have variety in the kinds of things you pack into the containers (if you've put your broccoli into the vegetable bin, and there's extra room, you can tuck in a couple of cherry tomatoes or whatever), which also just sort of psychologically feels more plentiful - even though you've still got the right caloric proportion in balance.

I've been doing a lazy-ass version of the bento every day for lunch for a couple weeks now - mainly to save money. And it's actually pretty easy, even when I'm half awake in the morning - I stock the fridge each weekend with a bunch of single-serving size containers of rice, and in the morning all I need to is pull one out and microwave it and throw it into the carb container, get some leftover meat or some potsticker dumplings and throw that into the "protein" container, and then stuff fruit and vegetables in both of their containers and in all the rest of the holes. No measuring, no portion guessing, just "fill this with what I'm supposed to, done." I've not ever felt unsatisfied with a meal, and I"m getting a decent variety of things - and I've already sort of started to notice a tiny difference in my waistline, after only a couple weeks.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:06 AM on March 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

Portion-control plates and bowls can help reinforce what you're learning. There are many styles, from cafeteria-style plates with sections for protein, vegetables, etc. to cups and bowls with different portions that you can fill with anything. Googling returns a lot of mystery click-baity sites so here's a link to Pinterest.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:00 AM on March 10, 2015

Response by poster: lollusc, I love the concept and website of the No-S Diet and I'm about to buy the book soon!
posted by atinna at 3:51 AM on March 14, 2015

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