Trying to lose weight? It isn’t just what you eat, but how much you eat. I quickly learned that when I spent a couple of months on The Fresh Diet last year. My diet was reasonably healthy, but I was eating nearly the same amount as my husband at meals. A chicken breast is a healthy choice, but when it’s the size of a luncheon plate, it’s way too much!
Portion control is paramount, especially when you’re not already on a portion-controlled diet plan. If you’re not sure what a portion should be, you’re not alone. But I recently was introduced to a clever system called LifeSize that teaches you just how much food you should be eating, and lets you know when you’ve gone over the suggested limit. The system consists of a large plastic holder, into which you place 8 receptacles (called “devices,” but they are just plastic measuring cups), sized for specific food groups, food and beverages. The system is a bit more sophisticated than my explanation, but basically you put your food into the cups, based on how many portions of each type of food you’re going to eat a day. Fill up the cup, but don’t over-fill it or cheat with seconds, and you’ll be well on your way to understanding what and how to eat healthier. For those who simply have no control or who are clueless, this is a good idea. You get the holder with the portion control cups, plus three CDs (written materials to help you learn and plan your meals: Ready, Get Set, Go! and Keep Going), plus a wall chart. On the DVD, Steven Kates and Myles Berkowitz, the two men who created Lifesize, walk you through the 5 steps of the Lifesize Program. They show you how to portion out all the different foods you eat, how many portions you should eat in a meal and how many times you should eat in a day. Their lively discussions will challenge your ideas about food and dieting and readjust your mindset towards eating. And they will re-teach you some basic eating habits that will help you change the way you eat and make Lifesizing and losing weight faster and easier.
At first glance, the “system” is a bit confusing, although once you check out the included materials, it becomes much more clear. Let’s say you want to downsize or should I say, “LifeSize” a steak dinner with a baked potato and salad. First, you’d check the Lifesize Portions at a Glance wall chart (shown above) for the recommended Lifesize portion of steak (in their world, that is a 1 Meats device portion). Then, you put your piece of steak in the Lifesize Meats device (it is actually a plastic measuring cup marked with an M in an orange circle). You can use the serrated edge of the device to cut the right portion size of your steak on to your plate. All vegetables, including your salad and the baked potato, are listed in the FREE FOODS box on the Lifesize Portions at a Glance wall chart. You don’t have to portion out FREE FOODS because they are very low in calories and fat. So you just put the baked potato and as much salad as you want on your plate. Should you not wish to eat these plain, however, the Lifesize portion for both the salad dressing and the sour cream is 2 Toppings Devices. Put the 2 Toppings Devices of sour cream on your potato, and 2 Toppings Devices of dressing on your salad. Now you’re eating the same meal you would have relished preciously, but downsized to a healthier format!
As you can see from the photo above, you are eating the the same meal, but it is just “slimmed down. If you use this for a short while, you will quickly begin to see how much you over-eat (and most people, do).
The Lifesize Ready. Get Set. Go! DVD helps you re-learn how to eat the the “right” way, but if you don’t want to watch the whole DVD, there is also a Quickstart chapter that can get you up and “Lifesizing” in as little as fifteen minutes. Theoretically, there is also a print booklet that covers the basics of the Lifesize program and the material on the DVD, but I didn’t find one in my set. If all you do is use the portions at a glance wall chart and keep your portions similar to those in the Lifesize ” Device” cups, you will start to change your ways and hopefully, lose weight.
The Bottom Line: Like many diet aids, this Lifesize system has merit, but from a consumer’s point of view, it might also have some drawbacks. Not everyone is built the same or has the same requirements for nutrition. A 300 pound man will need more food than a 30 year old woman. You can adjust your servings, but this entire system seems to be a bit more complicated that it really needs to be. And, while measuring your food is a good idea, especially when you are just beginning to learn what a real portion size ought to be, I found the system kind of bulky. If you have a small kitchen, the system, housed in a large and bulky holder, may be too much clutter to handle, and the wall chart is useful and attractive, but it’s really large (although you can fold it up and leave it on your counter).
…and there’s the price. Diet plans and food delivery are costly, so at $79.95 plus $12.95 shipping and handling it might be at first glance to be a bargain. But there are less cumbersome, easier (and cheaper) ways to learn portion control. Last year The Advice Sisters reviewed some novel plates and bowls that also teach you portion control, albeit without the Cds and wall chart. Those plates and bowls stack and store easily and cost a lot less.
If you are resolving to make permanent, healthy chances in how you eat, Lifesize might be that one thing that changes everything around for you and your family in 2013. To learn more, visit the Lifesize web site .