Download the PDF of the Entire Study Here: Colorado State Study on Lifesize
Effect of a Novel Food Portion Control Program (Lifesize®) on Dietary
Intake and Body Weight
Final Report submitted September 19, 2011
Principal Investigator: Chris Melby, Professor and Department Head
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Colorado State University
Co‐Investigators: Sarah Fawcett, Cassi Freed, and Darlene Weber‐Dewitt
INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
Despite a host of recommendations established by various health organizations for
improving diet and increasing physical activity, the prevalence of obesity has increased
dramatically in the United States during the past two decades. The fattening of America
has spawned a billion dollar weight loss industry, with advertising of diet books, exercise
programs, and supplements offering quick fix remedies to boost metabolism and melt away
fat. Given the confusion, misinformation, and pursuit of the ‘magic bullet’ that
characterizes the weight loss industry in the U.S., it is especially important to identify
approaches to long‐term weight loss that are based on sound scientific principles of body
Body fat stores can be reduced by creating an energy deficit, but severe energy restriction
produced by many fad diets may result in metabolic adaptations that sabotage
maintenance of lost weight. Also many fad diets require the avoidance of ‘favorite foods’,
an approach that can jeopardize dietary adherence. A more realistic approach to body
weight regulation and health is recommended, characterized by an emphasis on smaller
serving sizes without wholesale changes in the types of foods consumed. This approach
could significantly reduce energy intake without perceptions of deprivation, which can
result in rebound eating binges. The portion control approach to weight regulation can
reduce the intake of high energy density foods without eliminating such foods from the
diet. This approach also allows the consumption of a variety of nutritious whole foods
including fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and reduced fat milk.
A novel approach to weight loss and maintenance, the Lifesize Program has surfaced, which
focuses on the use of portion control measuring devices to limit energy intake while
simultaneously allowing the individual to consume their usual foods. The underlying
premise of this program is that by following one’s customary eating patterns, but limiting
the quantities of the most energy dense foods by portion control and allowing unlimited
intakes of vegetables, fruits, and low fat dairy, an energy deficit and weight loss will occur
without a sense of ‘dieting’ and food deprivation. While this approach has a strong
theoretical foundation, important questions remain to be answered including the
• How much weight and fat loss will overweight and obese individuals achieve by
following the Lifesize Program for 12 weeks?
• Do individuals who follow the Lifesize portion control approach to food
consumption lower their average daily food intake relative to their usual intake?
What is the magnitude of the average energy deficit that results from following the
• Given the focus on portion control rather than on avoidance of favorite foods, what
will individuals actually choose to eat, and how will the Lifesize Program affect the
nutritional quality of their diets?
• What are the perceptions of the study participants regarding the Lifesize Program?
A total of 27 individuals (n=22 women, n= 5 men; mean age=40.4+12.2 years; mean BMI=
29.7 +2.6 kg/m2; mean percent body fat = 39.5+7.3%) were enrolled in this 12‐week study.
All participants were informed verbally and in writing as to the purpose of the study, and
provided their informed, voluntary consent prior to enrollment in the study. This study
was approved by the Institutional Review Board of Colorado State University.
Participants were enrolled in a 12‐week weight loss program. Prior to enrollment, baseline
data were collected regarding personal health history, previous experience with weight
loss diets, and habitual food intake using 3‐day dietary records. Body weight, body
composition, blood pressure, resting metabolic rate, and average daily steps taken using a
pedometer were also measured at baseline. After collection of baseline data, participants
were provided with a 2‐hour orientation to the Lifesize Program. At this meeting,
individuals were informed as to the overall principles of the program, were provided with
the Lifesize measuring devices with a detailed explanation as to their use, and were given
the Lifesize training DVD and instructions as to how to use it. Enrolled participants
reported to the Nutrition Center at Colorado State University at regular time periods during
the next 12 weeks for follow‐up and repeated testing as described below.
Preliminary Session 1: Upon obtaining voluntary informed consent, subjects underwent the
following screening tests to determine eligibility.
• Each subject’s height, weight, and BMI were measured using the Tanita Body Fat
Analyzer (Model TBF‐105, Tanita Corporation of America, Inc., Arlington Heights, IL).
Subjects were measured without shoes and socks, and wearing light indoor clothing.
Body weight was measured to the nearest 0.1 kg.
• Each subject’s percent body fat was measured using Bioelectrical impedance (BI). This was
completed with the Tanita Body Fat Analyzer mentioned above.
• Health History Questionnaire‐ Subjects’ age, health‐related habits, and personal and
family health history were measured using a standard health history questionnaire.
Preliminary Session 2
Volunteers reported to the Nutrition and Metabolic Fitness Laboratory in a 12‐h fasted state for the
purpose of baseline testing which involved the following tests:
anthropometric measures were made under identical
conditions for all subjects during the entire study. Subjects were fasted, consumed
250 ml of water after waking, voided their bladders, and wore only shorts and a tshirt.
Body weight was measured on the same calibrated physicians’ balance scale
to the nearest 0.1 kg. Height without shoes was measured to the nearest 0.1 cm
with a wall‐mounted stadiometer. Body mass index was calculated as weight in kg
divided by height in m2.
• Waist, hip, thigh, and upper arm girths were obtained in centimeters using a nonstretchable
measuring tape. The waist circumference was measured at the
umbilicus in men and the natural waistline in women; the hip circumference was
measured at the level of the maximum hip circumference. Bioelectrical impedance
(BI) was used to assess percent body fat using the Tanita Body Fat Analyzer (Model
TBF‐105, Tanita Corporation of America, Inc., Arlington Heights, IL). All subjects
were instructed to follow specific manufacturer guidelines for BI testing. Fat free
mass and percent body fat was calculated using prediction equations supplied by
the manufacturer based on weight, age, and impedance index (ht2/z score).
• Resting blood pressure and heart rate were measured using a standard automated
sphygmomanometer (Dynamap) with subjects resting quietly in a sitting position
for 5 minutes. Systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial pressure values were recorded.
• Basal metabolic rate (BMR)‐ Subjects arrived at the metabolic fitness laboratory
after a 12‐h overnight fast and before engaging in any type of physical activity.
Indirect calorimetry (Parvomedics, Salt Lake City) was used to measure BMR based
on the VO2 and VCO2 measures while the subject lay quietly on a comfortable bed
with a clear plexiglass respiratory canopy over the head for 20 minutes. The
respiratory gas exchange data were converted to kcal expended per minute using
the Weir equation.
• Study participants completed 3‐day dietary records. A co‐investigator monitored
the dietary data entered and verified and corrected discrepancies (e.g. out‐of‐range
kilocalorie intakes) with participants.
• Pedometers were provided for measuring daily step counts during the entire 12‐
weeks of the study. Participants were instructed on how to use the pedometers and
record their daily step counts.
Preliminary Session 3: Study participants attended a group orientation session to learn
about the portion control approach to weight loss. They were given instruction as to how
to follow the program for the 12 weeks, which involved the use of the unique portion
control devices, the DVD, and the wall chart. Participants were also asked to complete a
pre‐program questionnaire to assess their knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes about weight
loss and portion size.
The Portion Control Program
Program Week1: After completion of the baseline tests and the orientation session,
participants began the program. The goal of the program was to provide a means of
measuring the amount of food and types of food they should be eating to be healthy and to
lose weight. The program emphasizes limiting the quantities of the most energy dense
foods by portion control and allowing unlimited intakes of vegetables, fruits, and non‐fat
milk, which theoretically should result in an energy deficit and weight loss without a sense
of ‘dieting’ and food deprivation. At the end of the first week of the program participants
reported back to the Nutrition Center to meet with the project staff to discuss their
adherence to the program based on 3‐day food records and step counter records. Their
body weight, body fatness, heart rate and blood pressure were also measured at this time.
Program Week 2: At the end of the second week of the program participants returned to
the Nutrition Center for further consultation. Body weight, body composition, heart rate
and blood pressure were again measured and participants provided their pedometer
After week 2 in the program, participants reported to the Nutrition Center every two weeks
for further consultation and measurement of body weight, body fatness, heart rate and
blood pressure, as well as providing step count records. During week 6 and 12, they also
recorded their food intake for 3 days. The food records were for the purpose of
determining how effective the program is at helping reduce food intake relative to preprogram
values, and also for examining their diets for macro‐ and micronutrient intake.
Testing: After participants completed 12 weeks in the program, they
underwent post‐intervention testing identical to the preliminary tests: body weight, body
composition, heart rate, blood pressure, basal metabolic rate, and circumference
measurements. They also completed a post‐program questionnaire in which they were
asked to report their perceptions of the program regarding ease of adoption, compliance
with the protocol, use of the measuring devices, etc. They were also asked several
knowledge questions to determine their level of understanding of the Lifesize approach to
Data analysis: Data were analyzed for dietary intake, anthropometric characteristics,
RMR, and blood pressure using paired t‐tests and a within‐subjects repeated analysis of
variance with post‐hoc comparisons. Statistical significance was established at P<0.05.
Given the pilot nature of this study, a non‐intervention control group was not be used.
Of the 27 individuals who were enrolled in the study, a total of 23 completed the 12‐week
program. The four individuals dropped out for various reasons including lack of time,
pregnancy, moving from the area, and one individual felt unsatisfied with the program.
The physical characteristics of the remaining 23 individuals are provided in Table 1. The
study volunteers were mostly overweight and obese women, with a history of previous
dieting. Resting metabolic rates were not different than predicted based on body size,
indicating that the study subjects did not have unusually low metabolic rates that would
affect their ability to lose weight when energy intake was modestly restricted.
Table 1. Physical Characteristics of Study Participants (n=23) at Baseline Prior to Implementing the Lifesize Program
Anthropometric changes: Table 2 provides the data on the changes that occurred in
body weight (also shown in Figure 1) and body composition over the 12 weeks of the
program. The mean weight loss during the 12 week program was 2.24 kg (~5.0 pounds)
with the men losing about twice as much weight as the women (8 pounds versus 4
pounds). There was a small decrease in percent body fat, which did not reach significance.
*Mean weight loss of 2.24 kg, week 12<baseline, p<0.05
Figure 1: Changes in weight during the Lifesize program.
Figure 1 illustrates average total weight loss during the Lifesize study. As seen above,
although weight loss was modest, it was consistent throughout the program.
Figure 2: Average changes in circumference measurements for 22 participants. Blue bars=pre‐program; Red bars=post‐program.
In accordance with the modest weight loss that occurred during the program, there was a
significant decrease in the sum of the waist, hip, thigh, and arm circumference
measurements of 6.5 + 7.1 cm (p<0.01) from pre‐program (baseline) measures compared
to those obtained at the end of the program.
Pre‐ and post‐program basal metabolic rates for the Lifesize study participants.
There was a decrease of approximately 125 kcal in basal metabolic rate over the 12 weeks
of the program. This decrease was expected with the modest weight loss that was
Changes in calorie and macronutrient intakes: Table 3 provides information regarding
the changes in energy and macronutrient intake based on 3‐day dietary records that were
reported during the 12 weeks. The decrease in self‐reported average daily energy intake
relative to the pre‐program baseline energy intake was on the order of 400‐500 kcal per
day for weeks 1, 6, and 12. The decrease in reported energy intake was fairly consistent
across the entire 12 weeks of the program. The decline in energy intake was reflected by
decreased intakes of all three macronutrients—protein, carbohydrate, and total fat. At
least a portion of the total reduction in dietary carbohydrates during the Lifesize Program
was due to a significant reduction in sugar intake. Dietary saturated fat intake was also
reduced from pre‐program and baseline compared to intake at weeks 1,6, and 12. There
was no significant reduction in dietary cholesterol. Dietary fiber intake in grams was also
reduced at weeks 1, 6, and 12 relative to the pre‐program values; however there were no
changes in fiber intake relative to total calorie intake from pre‐program to week 12.
Table 3. Mean energy and macronutrient intakes of study participants before implementing the Lifesize Program and during weeks 1, 6, and 12 of the Program.
Table 4. Mean intakes of specific micronutrients in the study participants before implementing the Lifesize Program and during weeks 1, 6, and 12 of the Program.
a denotes statistically significant difference from pre program, p< 0.05
Changes in micronutrient intakes: Table 4 shows the changes that occurred in specific
vitamins and minerals from self‐reported pre‐program values taken from 3‐day dietary
records for those reported at weeks 1, 6, and 12 of the Lifesize Program. There were
significant reductions in sodium intake from baseline (pre‐program) at weeks 1, 6, and 12.
Despite the decrease in reported food intakes during the program, there were not
significant reductions in vitamin A, B‐carotene, and ascorbate (vitamin C). However, there
were significant decreases in iron and calcium at weeks 1, 6, and 12 relative to preprogram
Change in water, vegetables, fruit and lowfat
dairy:Table 5 shows the changes that
occurred in water, vegetables, fruit and low‐fat dairy intake based on 3‐day dietary records
reported prior to the start of the program and at weeks 1,6,and 12 of the Lifesize Program.
Vegetable and fruit consumption increased at week 1, 6, and 12 of the Lifesize Program.
However, this increase was only statistically significant at weeks 1 and 6 and when
vegetable and fruit intake was calculated relative to total energy intake. The percent of
low‐fat dairy relative to total dairy intake also increased throughout the program. This
increase was found to be statistically significant at week 6. Despite continually
emphasizing the importance of increased water consumption, there was no significant
change in water intake.
Table 5: Mean intakes of water, vegetables, fruit, and lowfat dairy in the study participants before implementing the Lifesize Program and during weeks 1, 6, and 12
a denotes statistically significant difference from pre program, p< 0.05
b denotes statistically significant difference from Week 1, p<0.05
There were no differences in the average daily number of steps recorded from pedometer
counts from pre‐program (x=8950 steps/d) to week 12 (x=8800 steps/d).
Knowledge and Perceptions of the Participants in the Lifesize Program: After 12
weeks of the Lifesize Program participants completed a questionnaire (see appendix), in
which they were asked to report their perceptions about the program relative to their
expectations. The graphs below represent the response percentages of individuals to each
of the questions. Two participants that had dropped out of the program also completed a
questionnaire, increasing the n for questionnaire responses to 25 for most questions. Not
everyone answered the questionnaire in its entirety, therefore some figures report
different total n values, and they are noted below the figure.
*n=24 for this question
The results of this question show that 56 percent of participants were somewhat or
extremely happy with their weight loss. Referring to the open comments from participants,
further explanation as to the factors that affected their satisfaction are apparent. Some
participants stated that even though they did not lose as much weight as they wanted, they
were happy because it wasn’t a restrictive program and they could still eat the foods that
Figures 5,6 and 7 show responses to questions about the usefulness of Lifesize supporting
materials. Overall, participants found the CDs, DVD and wallchart to be helpful. Most
(59%) only watched the DVD one time, and did not refer back to it.
Figures 8 and 9 refer to the portion control devices themselves. Figure 8 shows that 89
percent of participants believed the devices were easy to use. Figure 9 shows that 70
percent believed the devices were easy to incorporate into their lifestyle.
Figures 11 and 12 refer to questions regarding the difficulty or simplicity of the Lifesize
program. When looking at the program as a whole, 81 percent responded that the program
was somewhat or extremely easy. However, when looking at the simplicity of the program
while dining out or away from home, that number dropped to only 59 percent finding the
program somewhat or extremely easy.
Figures 13 and 14 refer to the questions regarding the number and sizes of Lifesize
portions. When looking at the size of the portions, 70 percent of participants agreed that
the size of the portions was appropriate for weight loss. Looking at the number of Lifesize
portions, 70 percent believed that the number of portions were appropriate for weight loss.
Figures 19 and 20 provide more information regarding the number of Lifesize portions.
Figures 15 through 18 represent the questions concerning changes in consumption of
fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy and water throughout the Lifesize program. Looking at
these responses, 66 percent of participants stated they increased their intake of fruit, 74
percent stated they increased consumption of vegetables, 33 percent stated they consumed
more low fat dairy, and 64 percent stated they increased the amount of water they
consumed throughout the study. Almost 15 percent of participants believed they
consumed less lowfat dairy, while only about 4 percent said they consumed less fruit,
vegetables or water.
Figures 19 and 20 address the questions about deviation from the Lifesize program.
Approximately 80 percent of participants reported deviating from the program by eating
larger quantities of food, with the most responses (26 %) being in the range of three to
seven occasions during the program. When looking at deviation by eating smaller
quantities of food, 90 percent of participants reported some deviation, with 60 percent
reporting that they deviated on three to eleven occasions throughout the study. This
correlates with the finding that 22 percent of participants believed that the number of
allotted portions was not appropriate for them.
Figures 21 and 22 refer to questions regarding the “wait 15 minutes” concept of the
Lifesize program. During the first 6 weeks, 55 percent of participants said that they waited
15 minutes most of the time or always before getting a second helping of food. During the
last 6 weeks, that number dropped to 37 percent.
Figures 23 and 24 refer to feelings of deprivation during the program. During the first 6
weeks, only 11 percent of participants indicated that they felt deprived of eating their
favorite foods. During the last 6 weeks, this number dropped to about 7 percent. These
values are typically well below any reported percentage of feelings of deprivation in other
weight loss programs.
Figures 25 and 26 give information concerning the participants’ perception of their
compliance with the Lifesize program. These graphs demonstrate that compliance was
greater during the first 6 weeks of the program compared to the last 6 weeks.
*n=23 for this question
Figures 27 and 28 deal with responses to questions asking what percentage of food was
measured using the devices and natural portion guidelines. During the first 6 weeks, 85
percent of participants said they used them at least half the time. During the last six weeks,
only about 50 percent of participants stated that they used the devices/natural portions
more than half the time.
This study was designed to address specific questions regarding the Lifesize portion
control approach to weight loss.
Question 1: How much weight and fat loss will overweight and obese individuals
achieve by following the Lifesize Program for 12 weeks?
The major finding of this study is that the average weight loss for overweight and mildly
obese individuals was approximately 5 pounds, with the four men losing an average of 8.5
pounds and the 19 women losing an average of about 3.9 pounds. The men had higher
body weights and resting metabolic rates compared to the women, and thus were more
likely than the women to create a greater energy deficit on the Lifesize Program, which
uses a fixed number of portions for all participants. This finding is not unexpected as men
typically lose weight more readily than women owing to greater daily energy expenditure.
As the investigators have discussed with the inventors of Lifesize, weight loss would be
predicted to be quite variable across study participants, given that the number of portions
allowed with Lifesize is constant, regardless of the individual’s initial body weight and
The magnitude of the reduction in body fat was small and did not reach statistical
significance. However, the method used in this study, bio‐impedance analysis, is not the
gold standard and was likely lacking adequate resolution to identify small changes in total
body fat. We used a second approach to indirectly measure weight and fat loss using
circumference measurements of the waist, hips, thigh, and arm. There was a statistically
significant reduction in the sum of these girth measurements.
Question 2: Do individuals who follow the Lifesize portion control approach to food
consumption lower their average daily food intake relative to their usual intake?
What is the magnitude of the average energy deficit that results from following the
While on the Lifesize Program, the subjects reportedly reduced their daily energy intake an
average of 400‐500 kcal per day based on their three day records. The energy intake while
using the measuring devices was fairly constant for weeks 1,6, and 12, indicating the
sustainability of this approach to lowering energy intake. The magnitude of the reported
energy deficit over the 12 weeks would have predicted a greater weight loss. However, as
expected, there was an average decrease in basal metabolic rate by approximately 100 kcal
after 12 weeks on the program. This is a common finding in weight loss studies. Also, it is
well recognized that study participants who are expected to lose weight by lowering their
energy intake, often under report their food intake when asked to provide this information.
Thus, the lower actual weight loss compared to what would be predicted based on the
magnitude of the reported reduction in food and energy intake, is not surprising.
Question 3: Given the focus on portion control rather than on avoidance of favorite
foods, what will individuals actually choose to eat, and how will the Lifesize Program
affect the nutritional quality of their diets?
The dietary quality data as determined from the 3‐day food records, suggest that the study
participants changed the amount of food ingested rather than changing the types of foods
consumed. There were decreases in the absolute amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, and
fats consumed which reflects a reduction in total food intake rather than targeted
reduction only of specific high fat, high sugar, or “forbidden” foods. This notion is further
substantiated by the lack of significant decreases in the percentages of these
macronutrients consumed relative to calories, suggesting that individuals were in fact just
lowering their food intake without attempting to specifically lower their intakes of fat or
carbohydrates. This would be expected given the emphasis that the Lifesize approach
places on portion control while eating foods that one enjoys.
There were reductions in sodium intake, which likely reflects a reduction in nondiscretionary
sodium found in foods. In other words, if individuals consumed smaller
portions of food, most of which contained at least some sodium, the intake of this mineral
was necessarily reduced. Similar findings were also found for iron and calcium. The latter
finding was somewhat surprising, as dairy products provide approximately 75% of the
dietary calcium for most Americans. Given the use of low‐fat milk products as free foods,
which the study participants could freely consume, we hypothesized that dietary calcium
would increase, even in the face of a reduction in calories. This was apparently not the
Fruits and vegetables are also ‘free’ foods in the Lifesize Program; thus we hypothesized
that participants would exhibit increased fruit and vegetable intakes. The responses to the
final questionnaire showed that the majority of individuals reported increases in
consumption of these foods. Additionally, based upon the 3‐day dietary records we found
that fruit and vegetable intake increased relative to calories consumed. This phenomenon
should in turn be reflected by increased dietary intakes of vitamin C and beta‐carotene.
However, the intakes of these nutrients did not increase as determined by the 3‐day dietary
records. The reason for this discrepancy could be related to the types of fruits and
vegetables consumed, wherein study participants increased their intakes of fruits such as
apples, pears, and bananas which are not rich sources of vitamin C and beta‐carotene.
Question 4: What are the perceptions of the study participants regarding the Lifesize
The participants’ responses to the final questionnaire used to address this question
revealed some interesting findings. The majority of the participants were at least
somewhat happy with their weight loss, although some clearly expected larger amounts of
body weight loss than they achieved. We might recommend that a smaller number than 6
portions, possibly only 4 or 5 portions depending on the person’s goals, be allowed initially
to ‘jump start’ the weight loss. Then the current approach using 6 portions could be used
for slower weight loss later in the program and also for weight maintenance.
The majority of the participants seemed to understand the essence of the Lifesize approach,
and found the DVDs and wall charts to be helpful. Most participants stated that they only
watched the DVD once, and did not refer back to them. This may be useful to know for
future evaluation of the resource materials. Why some individuals did not find the
materials helpful is unclear. The majority of participants found the devices easy and
convenient to use, more so when eating at home than when dining out.
Participant Comments to OpenEnded
Questions Asked Upon Program Completion:
The respondents were asked to provide open‐ended comments at the end of the program,
and these are provided below as brief summaries and the individual comments.
QUESTION: Please Tell Us Briefly Why You Are Happy Or Unhappy With Your Weight
10 participants stated that they were unhappy with their weight loss. They stated that they
were unhappy because they would have liked to lose, or had expected to lose more weight.
But half of those cited life events as the reasons they didn’t lose weight. 11 participants
stated that they were happy with their weight loss. They stated that even a few pounds
made a difference in how they felt, they experienced health benefits, such as a decrease in
reflux, and that they only had to make minor changes to the food and drinks they already
ate. They said they experienced healthy weight loss, and learned how to eat better foods
and control amounts taken at each meal.
“I am happy I found a program that is practical but not life altering to use.”
DID YOU WANT OR NEED TO SEE FASTER WEIGHT LOSS
17 participants said yes, they wanted faster weight loss. But some commented that they
understood why the weight loss was slower. 4 participants stated that they didn’t want
faster weight loss.
IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE LIFESIZE IN 3 SENTENCES, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
*It’s simple. It’s user friendly. It’s a solo program.
*It trains you to eat the right amount. You can still eat balanced. It’s a long term plan not a
quick weight drop.
*You can eat what you want, just not as much as you think you need. It is simple and
straight forward. You can always be drinking more water.
*No counting calories, carbs, point, etc. Fairly simple to follow. Effective if program is
*It provides a new perspective on eating. It promotes well‐being. It’s not a “diet”, it’s a
*Easy portion control system. Allows you eat what you like. Helps add fruits and veggies to
*Realistic. Portion control. Exercise.
*Safe way to lose weight. It helps you portion food without being deprived. I think it is a
program for everyday life.
*Easy to use and understand. Never feel deprived. Gives you the power to stay in control.
*Portion control. Portion control. Portion control.
*Lifesize uses portion sizes to lead to weight loss. Lifesize uses number of portions to lead
to weight loss. Lifesize lets you eat any food you want.
*Portion control. Begin with water. Wait 20 minutes. Free foods are a good thing.
*Portion control. Limit number of portions. Don’t go hungry, fill up on healthy choices.
*It’s all about moderation so you can eat what you like. It teaches you how to portion food
reasonably without counting calories. It’s fairly easy to use with the tools they give you.
HOW IS LIFESIZE DIFFERENT FROM OTHER DIET PROGRAMS?
The participants said unanimously that it is not restrictive, they felt they could eat what
they wanted, and that it was more of a lifestyle change than a diet. They all understood that
the focus of the program was portion control. A few mentioned that the devices and wall
chart made it simple.
“Because you don’t go without your favorite foods, just learn how to eat correct amounts.”
WHAT DIDN’T YOU LIKE ABOUT THE PROGRAM?
Most participants stated that the program was harder to follow when eating away from
home and on vacation. Some participants said the program was actually too simple, that
there weren’t enough examples of typical restaurant choices or combo meals, and that
there weren’t a lot of ethnic foods discussed. Some participants stated that the portions
were too large, and that they felt they were adding in food to get all 6 portions in.
Participants stated that they thought the program should be more individualized, that
there wasn’t any emotional support for overeating/emotional issues related to eating, and
that because it was very simple, it was easy to go back to having larger portions by
DOES LIFESIZE WORK?
Seventeen participants agreed that the program works. They felt it worked because they
didn’t feel deprived and they had freedom to eat what they wanted. Most felt that it
worked because they realized the importance of portion sizes. Six participants that stated
that the program doesn’t work stated so because it wasn’t individualized, it doesn’t address
what they were eating, or why they might be overeating, and that the program should
reinforce the importance of exercise. They stated that they found themselves making poor
nutrition choices because there was no structure.
“Yes, because it allows a person to still enjoy food, but understand the need for
*Needs to have some form of support: online or group.
*Learning portion control has had health benefits beyond weight loss. Prior to participating
I had terrible reflux problems. I have not needed medication for that since about the
second week. I’ve also learned what it truly feels like when my body needs food and when I
am full. Overall this has been a good learning experience. I think the counseling and
guidance component of the experiment has been beneficial. I am not sure that someone
using the program without it will be as successful or satisfied.
*I think calories are slightly overlooked. Some portion sizes seemed to have much higher
calories than others. 3 slices of pizza pack a lot more calories than a lifesize portion of
grilled chicken breast, yet they count the same. And pizza is a whole lot easier than grilling
chicken. I tended to stray towards the easy “big” portions that probably gave me more
calories than I needed.
*The videos were helpful, however they showed the same food items over and over. It
would have been nice to see more variety to give me a better idea, instead of just mac and
cheese and steak.
*Being able to eat as much fruit as I wanted was a down fall for me.
*If there was an interactive program online that could be used in tandem with Lifesize, I
could see it being beneficial.
*Travel size wall chart would be great.
*There should be a square dessert measurement tool along with the pie shape. Most cakes,
brownies and cobblers are in square servings.
*Foods like sushi and crystal light should be included in the chart. Otherwise, THANK YOU!
*The portions were sometimes bigger than what I would normally eat. I think the pizza and
hotdog portions should be smaller.
*I see lifesize as working for maintenance, but not really as a weight loss program. I also
don’t agree with some of the portion sizes. For example: I don’t think a granola bar,
especially a 90 calorie one, should count as two portions.
* I think exercise could be emphasized more. THANK YOU!!
*I am glad I attended the lifesize program. Not only because I lost about 5 kg but also
because I know I can lose my weight in a healthy way even if I don’t have a lot of time for
*It can be a little difficult to compare natural portion size for food that is not listed.
*didn’t change “what” to eat.
*Controversy over diet soda.
*The scoop versus portion idea confused me a lot.
Download the PDF of the Entire Study Here: Colorado State Study on Lifesize