beth israel deaconess medical center a harvard medical school teaching hospital

To find a doctor, call 800-667-5356 or click below:

Find a Doctor

Request an Appointment

left banner
right banner
Smaller Larger

Week Two: Eating Less

Step 1: Read Lesson


Eating Less:The First Step

There's no getting around it: to lose weight, you've got to eat less. We are only going to focus on this first step of eating less for the time being. Any time you learn a new skill, it's much easier and more effective to break it down into manageable pieces.

Law of Thermodynamics

  • Energy In (calories from food) > Energy Out (calories burned) = weight gain
  • Energy In (calories from food) < Energy Out (calories burned) = weight loss
  • Energy In (calories from food) = Energy Out (calories burned) = weight maintenance

Fact: 1 pound of body fat stores ~3,500 calories. To lose 1 pound in 1 week cut back on 500 calories per day x 7 days = 3,500 calories.

Calories are calories, but some foods are more calorie dense than others (Example: fat carries 9 calories per gram, carbohydrates and proteins carry 4 calories per gram), so it is important to understand how to read a label and use your calorie count booklets until you get more familiar with high calorie vs. lower calorie options.

Eating less can leave you hungry. When people try to "be good" and eat less, they often create a more difficult situation because they leave themselves feeling hungry. This leaves them open to overeating at their next meal or giving into temptation. BTYSP teaches you two principles that will make it easier.

Rule 1. Feel full with 450

To feel full and satisfied until your next meal you should eat at least 450 calories.

Spend at least 20 minutes eating each meal.Rule 2. Take 20

Spend at least 20 minutes eating each meal. The gut hormones and stretch receptors in your stomach that send an "I'm full" message take 15-20 minutes to reach your brain. Over time you will train yourself to take 20 minutes and you will not find yourself wanting to go back for seconds.

  • Divide your plate into four, five-minute sections
  • Set a timer
  • Be more mindful

Portion Distortion

Did you know that portions are different than servings? Servings are what you are served at a restaurant for example, but your portion is what you decide to eat! It is always important to remember that while you may not be able to control your serving size, you can always control your portion sizes.

Determining a healthy portion size can be downright confusing. It is a lot simpler than you think. You can use your fist, palm, thumb and thumb tip to estimate helpings for different types of foods.

Use this handy guide to measure your portion sizes.

Step 2: Watch Video

Watch Kristina Spellman's video to get tips and information to help you understand this week's principles.

Step 3: Review and Complete Activities

Activities Workbook (pdf)

Step 4: Listen to Podcast

Listen to Dr. Blackburn's podcast to keep yourself motivated.

Step 5: Take Quiz

Take the quiz to test what you've learned this week!

Step 6: Perform Weekly Tasks

» Continue to keep track of your daily intake and assess R-K-O status and daily weight
» Practice using Eat Less strategies: 450 in 20 minutes, measure portion sizes