PORTION control is one of the first steps nutritionists recommend for people who want to lose weight — as nutritionist Donovan Grant has said, doing portion control will allow for the reduction of calories, thus creating weight loss.
And, it's a diet programme that will work if done right — it includes cutting meal portions to half of what you were eating before, or splitting portions between two meals. With this method, you can stick to having the foods you like, just in smaller portions.
Coupled with exercise, the portion control diet can reward you with great results, personal trainer Lennox Richards said.
How can you implement this with traditional Jamaican meals? Here's what's recommended.
Ackee and saltfish with fried dumplings, plantains and avocado pear
“This meal has several ingredients and components that will lead to weight gain — there's the carbs, the fat that will be used to fry the carbs and the protein, and the sugar that Jamaicans add to their fried dumplings,” Richards said.
The fix: Serve the same meal, but omit the sugar, cut the number of dumplings you'd usually have by half, and substitute ripe plantains for green ones.
“You could even replace the fried dumplings with boiled dumplings,” he said.
“The aim is to cut back on the amount of food you'd usually be eating, cut back on the oil and sugar, while still enjoying your meal.”
Fried rice, sweet an d sour chicken, pasta salad, soda
The fix: Cut the rice portion in two and replace the cut portion with raw vegetables. Opt out of the pasta salad, since you're already getting your carbs from the rice. Cut the usual chicken portion in half. Substitute the soda with sparkling water.
Fix number two: Take the full meal but divide it into two portions, using the rice and half the meat as your lunch, and the pasta and the other half for dinner.
Stewed peas with white rice and steamed vegetables
The fix: Cut the rice portion in two, especially if you have spinners in the stewed peas. Add more steamed vegetables than the usual serving, and this will keep you full, without the added calories.
“In all these scenarios you're enjoying the meals you love as usual, but you're cutting back a bit, which will help you lose weight,” Richards said. “The journey may be slower than if you were to change your entire diet, but with this method you get to enjoy what you like, while slowly weaning yourself on to other food choices.”
Meanwhile, Grant says weight loss will only occur if a person has the will to make the changes necessary.
“In addition, the reasons why you need to lose weight must be more important than the desire for your food. The psychology of weight loss I believe is very underemphasised in weight loss programmes.
“The fact is, if you can see and believe your weight loss in your mind, you can achieve it in your life. Start with portion control. If possible, it is also wise to eat on time and drink sufficient amounts of water throughout the day.”