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**This article about Portion Control was originally written by Tulsa Holistic Doctor and Tulsa D.O. Doctor Chad Edwards on DECEMBER 25, 2009 BY DOC 3 COMMENTS

As stated previously, controlling intake is an essential component to weight control. You must know how much you are taking in. Otherwise, you will never know what adjustments need to be made. The scientific method requires the manipulation of only one variable and evaluating the results. The fact is, many people are inadvertently manipulating multiple variables without even knowing it. This results in erratic responses and, ultimately, frustration. They will make some changes without knowing exactly what they are changing and hope for the results they want. This often leads to further frustration, depression, and failure. It doesn’t have to be this way!

The first law of thermodynamics states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. The body requires energy for nearly every function it performs, even during sleep and rest. If this is a foreign concept to you, spend some time in the metabolism section of this website. We must eat in order to fuel these functions. However, excess energy (calories) in the human body is mostly stored as fat. When our consumption exceeds the resupply of carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, and proteins, the rest is stored as adipose tissue (fat). If you don’t take in enough calories to meet the energy demands, we will typically begin utilizing fats. For example, if we need 1500 calories per day in order to meet all energy needs but only consume 1200 calories, we have a 300 calorie per day deficit. 1 pound of body fat contains approximately 3500 calories. Therefore, you should lose a pound every 12 days or so. Since energy cannot be created, taking in less energy (calories) than required forces the body to utilize energy stores. This will result in a reduction in fat stores (although it can also be due to muscle loss as well – the subject of another article).

The problem is that most people are horrible at being able to accurately estimate the number of calories they consume. Even if they are accounting for everything they put in their mouth, they often fail at estimating the quantity. They are inaccurate at estimating the actual size of that chicken breast, amount of green beans, volume of rice, or weight of food X. This is a huge problem if you are trying to accurately state your caloric intake and make adjustments on it. There are a couple of options: weight all of your food with a food scale and/or utilize meal replacement shakes or bars.