How to Record and Measure Portion Sizes (Member Download) - CT Workout Personal Training & Boot Camp in Newington, Connecticut

How to Record and Measure Portion Sizes (Member Download)

Do you know how MUCH you are eating?

One of the key ways to promote fat loss is to control your portion sizes. Research has shown that Americans often underestimate how many calories they are consuming each day by as much as 25%. If you are a healthy eater, it is possible to sabotage your efforts by eating more than the recommended amount of food. If nutrients are available at proper times and in the proper quantities, your body can use them for energy to keep you feeling full, promote muscle growth and burn fat.

Importance of accuracy

Under eating or overeating may cause muscle tissue loss or fat gain. A serving isn’t what you happen to put on your plate. It’s a specific amount of food defined by common measurements, such as cups, ounces or pieces.

How to Estimate Portion Sizes

Learn food weights, measurements and portions by using the examples below and by using a food scale, measuring cups and spoons in your kitchen.

Typical Portion Sizes:

  • 1 ounce of cheese is about the size of 4 dice
  • 1 fruit serving is about the size of a baseball
  • 1 serving (½ cup) of vegetables, pasta or rice ½ of a baseball
  • 3 ounces of cooked meat, fish, or poultry is about the size of a deck of cards
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter is about the size of a large marshmallow
  • 1 serving (1 cup) of milk, yogurt or fresh chopped greens is a fist


  • Take time to “eyeball” the serving sizes of your favorite foods.
  • Measure out single servings onto your plates and bowls, and remember what they look like.
  • Avoid serving food “family style.” Prepare plates with appropriate portions in the kitchen, and don’t go back for seconds.
  • Never eat out of the bag or carton.

What gets Measured, Gets Managed

One of the most powerful ways you learn is from yourself, keeping a journal will teach you more about you than any book you read or course you take. Many people are unaware of their unsupportive habits. Denial and vague ideas are of no use in the process of achieving results. You need to be in control of the way you eat and move and all the variables and you can’t control something you’ve never measured! ENTER – The Food and Fitness Journal

Your goal is to keep a journal for at least 3 days. You get to choose three days that are a typical representation of your general eating and exercise habits (one work day, one training day, and one weekend day, for example) and on those days record everything you eat and the workouts that you perform. There are two reasons do this as soon as you get started.

One, you need to see how “off” your nutrition is. Two, you to see how “off” your nutrition is. Even if you don’t record your foods accurately, you’ll have to make a conscious choice to guess or omit – which is an admission to yourself (though not to your Fitness Professional) that your nutrition and exercise habits need improvement.

It is inevitable that there will be some of you who are simply lazy and forget to record, while still others are so deep in denial that they’ll lie outright with no regrets. For both types, sticking to an integrated fitness program will be either extremely difficult or impossible. For most people, journals are excellent motivational tool and will help them commit to new, supportive habits.

FYI: Tracking your daily food intake and exercise habits is a great way to take action and prove to yourself that you are serious about your achieving your goals! Don’t worry about the occasional setback – you are only human! Instead of giving up entirely, simply start fresh the next day. Make an effort to do better than you did the day before. Keep in mind that lifestyle changes won’t happen overnight. Be patient, make small changes and gradually add new supportive habits.

Journal Guidelines:
Time: Write the time of day you ate the food.
What kind: Write down the type of food you ate. Be as specific as you can. Don’t the “extras,” such as soda pop, salad dressing, mayonnaise, butter, sour cream, sugar and ketchup.
How much: Record the amount and calories of the particular food item you ate.
Where: Write what room or part of the house you were in when you ate. If you ate in a restaurant, fast-food chain or your car, write that location down.

Helpful Hints:

  1. Be Honest. There’s nothing to be gained by trying to look good in your journal. Your Fit Pro can help only if you record what you really eat.
  2. Record what you eat each day. Keep your journal with you all day, and write down everything you eat or drink.
  3. Do it now. Don’t depend on your memory at the end of the day. Record your eating as you go. Be Specific. Make sure you include “extras,” such as gravy on your meat or cheese on your vegetables.

By keeping records of your past, you will shape your future. See something you like in your past? Work to replicate it. See something you don’t like? Work to re-shape it.

Click Here to Download the Portion Size and Conversions Guide

About the Author Coach Ben


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