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Portion Control

Most people in the USA eat far too much. Americans are easily recognized when traveling overseas, because their obesity makes them stick out from everyone else. Yes, there are obese people in other countries (and increasingly so). But not like in the good old USA.

Among the obese, most will not even admit they have a problem. A person who needs to lose 100 lbs of fat will often say something like, "I need to lose 20 lbs." Being in denial about the problem does not make it go away.

Nor will exercise. Many people will also exercise at the gym, burning 100 calories or so on a treadmill. Then they'll go consume a 1,200 calorie "protein drink" or other shake. Do the math. The key is not in burning off the excess intake (not really possible), but in not engaging in excess intake in the first place.

Many people blame external factors for their excess fat levels. This includes their genes, their work stress, and their age. Here's a fact that puts all of that nonsense to rest: Nobody in Auschwitz was obese.

Have you seen those people who live on chips and soda, but are rail thin? They aren't healthy, but the fact is they don't eat much. Eating the right foods, but huge quantities of them will still result in your being fat.

There is only one reason people are fat, and that is they eat too much. Yes, there are some extenuating circumstances. For example:

  • Some people do have slow metabolism--but the reality is they are eating too much for their personal situation.
  • Some people are on medications that cause them to bloat with fluids--that is different from excess body fat.
  • Some people are on medications that really mess up their hormonal environment, making fat gain difficult to avoid. The fix for them is to select only nutrient-dense foods and eat less.

Here is the basic logical construction that forms the foundation for eliminating excess fat from your body:

  • It takes 3500 calories to make a pound of fat.
  • Food contains calories.
  • Eat less food, and you take in fewer calories.
  • Take in fewer calories, and you produce less fat.
What portion control is not:
  • Starving yourself.
  • Counting calories.
  • Eating carrot sticks.
  • Combining foods in a certain way, to obtain some kind of miraculous results.
  • Eating things you don't like.
  • Seeing food as the enemy.

What portion control is:

  • Eating reasonable amounts.
  • Eating less than what most people consider "normal."
  • Planning your meals, and not gorging.
  • Eating foods you like, just not huge amounts of them.
  • Seeing food as pleasurable, but also dangerous if overdone.

Some tips (apply any or all, as you see fit):

  • Plan your meals ahead of time.
  • Plan any snacks ahead of time--many people do fine with meals, but pile on the calories with snacks.
  • Prepare your meals in batches, ahead of time.
  • Never have "seconds."
  • Rise from the table when you are done.
  • Replace your bowls and plates with smaller ones.
  • Avoid restaurants--portions there are usually a day's worth of food.
  • If eating at a restaurant, always remove half of the food served before you take a single bite.
  • For "dessert," have half an apple rather than a slice of apple pie.
  • Leave space around any food you put on a plate. This results in less food on the plate.
  • Cut dressings and sauces the most--these are the most calorie-dense of your foods.
  • If hungry, eat more greens--these are the least calorie-dense and most nutrient-dense of your foods.
  • Most people binge routinely, then occasionally show signs of restraint. Which is why they are fat. Reverse this. Be consistent with your small portions, enjoying the occasional (as in maybe once a week) "too much" meal.
  • Don't compare apples to oranges (don't you love those food metaphors?), and don't compare yourself to a fatter person and then think you're doing fine. If you can't see your abdominal muscles, you are too fat. For men, having more than single digit body fat is too fat. For women, don't go anorexic but do keep your tummy flat.

Control those portions, and you control your body fat composition. This is only one aspect of being lean, strong, and healthy--but it's one that most people simply don't bother with. Their waistlines, bellies, and chins show the outcome.




Article Authorship

The articles on this site are authoritative, because:

  • Every contributor is an expert in his or her field.
  • The articles comply with the accepted principles of the bodybuilder literature.
  • The articles comply with the teachings of such luminaries as 8-time Mr. Olympia Lee Haney.

 Where an article is not bylined with a specific author's name, it was written by Mark Lamendola (see photos on home page and elsewhere on this site). Mark is a 4th degree blackbelt, has not been sick since 1971, and has not missed a workout since 1977. Just an example of how Mark knows what he's talking about: In his early 50s, Mark demonstrated a biceps curl using half his body weight. That's a Jack LaLanne level stunt. Few people can even come close. If you want to know how to build a strong, beautiful body, read the articles here.

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