#176 Why Portion Control Doesn’t Work for Most People

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Why Portion Control Doesn’t Work for Most People

Why portion control doesn’t work for most people…

Take out your phone. Then go to the top of the nearest building, head straight up to the top floor, and chuck it out the window. First, though: Really focus on the idea that, when you toss your phone into the air, it won’t actually fall to the ground and break. See if you can use your willpower to protect you phone from the impact of the fall.

You haven’t budged, have you? That’s because nobody in their right mind would believe they can prevent their phone from falling to the ground and smashing into pieces simply by focusing their mind on that result. But for some reason we’ve long applied this sort of logic to our eating habits.

Portion Control Works for a While

You’ve probably heard the advice, “eat less, move more.”  While studies show that eating less, or portion control, works for a short period of time, there is no proof that it will work for the rest of your life.

Simply put, most people can only muster up enough willpower to starve themselves on a new diet for a month or two.  In the end, hunger always wins.  This is why portion control doesn’t work for most people.

Hunger is Like Gravity

Hunger is like gravity. It always wins. And while you can avoid food to lose weight in the very short term, you’ll never be able to maintain that weight if you’re constantly hungry. And you’ll be miserable to boot.  That’s why studies show that the advice to just “eat less” of all foods is doomed to fail.

What causes hunger?

Hunger, after all, is complex. While hunger can be your body telling you it is time to eat, it can also be due to a messed up metabolism from too many processed carbs, a lack of certain micronutrients, or even simple thirst. It can also be the result of a psychological desire to eat that has absolutely nothing with how much you actually need to eat to thrive.

Whatever the reason, though, one thing is clear: Battling hunger is a losing game.

Tip: Eat, for goodness sake!

There is absolutely no limit to the amount of non-starchy vegetables you eat. None at all. I’ve yet to meet a single person who has gained so much as a pound of weight from eating too many cucumbers, too much broccoli, or too many carrots. As long as you are not adding unhealthy foods to your veggies, it just won’t happen.

From asparagus to zucchini — and every veggie in between — there’s simply no such thing as overeating. That’s why it’s silly for anyone to purposefully subject themselves to hunger.

The key to keeping your belly full while losing weight is simple: Eat more vegetables, fruits and legumes while avoiding sugar and processed carbohydrates. That alone won’t solve all of your cravings for every sort of unhealthy food, but it will allow you to battle those desires on an level playing field — one in which you aren’t trying to make good decisions on a grumbling stomach.

What helps you to stop feeling hungry all the time?  Please leave your thoughts and questions below.

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Disclaimer Policy: This website is intended to give general information and does not provide medical advice. This website does not create a doctor-patient relationship between you and Dr. John Day. If you have a medical problem, immediately contact your healthcare provider. Information on this website is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Dr. John Day is not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your medical decisions.

2 Comments
  1. I only eat when I am hungry, (I am 88 and I am sure my metabolism is different from 38)
    I eat only enough to satisfy, small meals, healthy snacks. Many of my older friends are thin, so if we live long enough……

    • Hi Betty,

      You bring up a good point. Unfortunately, metabolism does slow with age so over the years people either need to eat less or increase their activity levels.

      Hope all is well with you!

      John