I think portion control/calorie counting is helpful for people who are looking to loose weight and trying to train themselves to eat more healthfully. It's particularly helpful for people who do overeat.
The problems of it is when people portion control unhealthy foods down to caloric restriction, which leaves them ver frustrated and hungry, and often malnourished.
When you focus on healthy foods, though, and find the right balance for you (fat/protein/carbs, and sources for all of these things so that you don't ahve stomach problems, etc), and THEN you retrain into the right caloric amounts, there is more chance of success.
But, you have to maintain it. And that's what works for people.
The problem is that most people diet, loose weight, and then go back to original eating habits. . . and there you go.
I think portion control as a diet strategy is not enough. As a training tool, though, I have found/find it very helpful. When I was still eating mostly SAD type stuff, I told myself repeatedly "4 bites is enough" and if I was paying attention, it often was. Then I graduated to "1 bite is enough" and that was true too a lot of times. I do think that the pressure of a calorie budget made me think much harder about what was "enough". If I had just been winging it, I'm pretty certain I would have talked myself into one more (or even more) bite without really weighing what it was worth.
It's also what brought me to primal eating, because when you can't eat unlimited quantities, you pay much closer attention to which foods keep you feeling full and which make restricted calories a misery. I had cut way back on grains before I ever heard of primal.
Now I usually have no problem eating one cookie, one small sliver of pie, one piece of candy. I did eat 6 conventional fig and almond biscotti last week (like some kind of sugar/wheat junkie), so every now and then, portion control fails me. The women I know who have been naturally slender all their lives naturally control their portions most of the time, so I'm not going to write it off just because I can't do it every single time.
Portion control has worked for me. I've called it "chronic restrained eating." I actually lost a lot of weight at one time going out to breakfast every morning and having a super huge scone with my coffee. The deal was I only ate half or less of the scone. Always eating a smaller portion worked great and I lost a lot of weight. I really should do it again since I've been gaining weight eating bigger portions. I've been eating bigger since I have been super hungry lately. Either that or I should try some kind of IF scheme, although my recent attempt at it didn't do anything for my weight at all.
I am still in weight loss mode, so I portion control everything. Well, not true. Just the last few days I quite worrying about my veggies. But everything else, I weigh it or measure it out, and I track it.
Only takes a second to weigh it. I use measuring cups instead of serving spoons. My scale does ounces and grams.
When I first started, I was measuring out serving sizes or trying to. I didnt see real progress until I started tracking.
i'm not even trying to lose weight, but i still make an effort to control my portions. cause if i eat the 20oz ribeye at every meal, i'm sure as shit going to get fatter. some people - take me for example - will always have to [I]consciously[/I] eat sensibly. maybe we're just natural gluttons or something; you know if you're one of us... we're not talking monk-like restraint or anything, but just a conscious effort to eat paleo in sensible amounts.
Yeah, worked for me, and still does. I lost my first 90 lbs just restricting all calories. Calories matter. I still count them even when micromanaging my macros.
No, because it's empty food and my cravings only intensify after a few bites of it. Body says, "Vitamin B12, NOW!" and I gave it a Ho-Ho instead. Satisfied? Not remotely. Answer? Eat ALL the Ho-Ho's, hoping I'll accrue enough of what I'm missing. FAIL. Now it's liver and eggs, some seafood (And now veggies?! Changing things up lately!) and the craving is quenched because my body got whatever it was short on. Portion control is stupid. Better off overeating real food and being slightly overweight and fully nourished. Guaranteed.
I don't have a problem with portion control when it comes to real food. I eat as much as I want. Chocolate and junk food, however, sends me down a slippery slope of doom. No sense of control there.
I've always had to portion control to some degree or another, due to having messed up my body!
When I was 13, I was basically mentally anorexic and not far off from being physically gone too (I gauged how "well" I was doing by how much rib/hip-bone I could see). After going in and out of diets I lost all appetite control. I'd eat until I was in physical pain. Obviously, between that and a highly refined diet, I put on weight.
When I decided to do something about it, I was a size 16 (and not one of the ones that wear it well!), flabby, unfit and uncomfortable. To lose weight, I underwent and unsustainable lifestyle. I cut out almost all red meat, only had one "treat" a day (so a small slice of cake, or a few bits of chocolate), sometimes not having any. I cut back on portions, walked a lot and made a point of playing with my niece and nephew. Dropped to a small size 12 (10.5? 11?) in three months! But it was unsustainable. And my appetite was still all over the place.
Desperate to keep the weight off, I began eating CW "really healthy". Almost all whole-grain bread (not even wholemeal, it had to have cooked, but solid grain and nuts in it to count), brown basmalti rice, lots of fish, limited fats, fresh fruit and veg... And, of course, close portion control. I felt sluggish after meals, had worse acne than ever, sometimes had NO energy for P.E. (obligatory in A-level courses at my then-college) and was continually worried about my weight. I tried to eat my three meals a day, make them small, have grain to "fill me up" and never snack. And yes, I stayed thin, but it wasn't exactly the best thing I'd ever done to myself. Stupidly, being both extremely proud of my Slavic heritage and TERRIFIED of sunburn (I once got 2nd degree burns from not wearing sunscreen for ONE day at scouts -- hottest day of the year, apparently!), I avoided sunny days like the plague and always wore long sleeves and men's shirts over my clothes, to keep myself from burning. I was having vitamin D supplements, as well as my usual iron supplements (been on them since I started menstruating). I was "CW healthy". Healthy as I'd ever been. I never guessed I could be EVEN healthiER.
After discovering Arthur de Vany's Evolutionary Fitness, I decided to try out Paleo. After only a few weeks I'd worked out that dairy was no problem for me (apart from homogenized cow's milk) and the only thing left to eliminate was my breakfast oats. I'd lost a bit of fat, was more awake and happier and was off my iron pills! :D
I felt it was time to try my first fast. 36 hours.
And it went SWIMMINGLY. In fact, the next day: I didn't feel like overeating or binging. This was surprising as 1: I'd not eaten for a day and 2: I ALWAYS felt like binging. The effects slowly wore off after five days. Over the next month, I fasted three times for 24-36h, each time having better appetite control and mainly craving vegetables when I broke the fast.
However, after reading up on the potential effects fasting could have on a young, fertile woman with a heavy period and realising that iron-deficiency symptoms were creeping again, I stopped. Slowly, the "continual hunger" came back. I didn't get fat any more when I indulged it, but it didn't quite feel right and I never knew if a craving was hunger, thirst, a deficiency or just my body malfunctioning again.
Slowly, I've regained that natural satiation and appetite control I used to only have post-fast. I only noticed last week!
I've went from starving, to binging, to portion-control, to surrendering to cravings, to fasting, to surrendering again and all the way back to having a normal hunger response!
My body practices portion-control for me now. :)
I eat "warrior" style these days, mostly because I like to eat a lot when I do eat.
It's worked great for me so far.
I hate portion control, and even though it may work for some, I find it hard to believe that it can be maintained for very long after someone's ideal weight is reached.
It feels much more natural for me to eat very little during the day, and have a nice big meal at night without having to sweat portions.
To each, his own.