Wednesday, August 7, 2013


My last few posts have been a little running heavy... which I'm sure is boring for my non-running fans.  So, that being said, let's switch it up today!

Although the title of this blog hints at something from this movie:

I'm actually about to talk about something else that also rhymes with the above.


Before I get started, let's take a quiz.  Go to this site and see how much you know about portion control.  Don't worry, I'll wait here for you...


Well, how did you do?  And were you surprised by the correct answers?  I know I was when I first started learning about portion control.

When I started on my weight loss journey, the second thing I did after working on understand why I was eating, was work to understand what I was eating.  And by what, I mean - what is a portion size, how many calories are in it, and how many portions am I typically eating of said item.

I quickly became aware of how much I was overeating.  And not just on one or two items.  I was over eating a lot.  Like... Everything, and at EVERY. SINGLE. MEAL.

I was shocked, really.  I had no idea what I was doing to myself with those huge plates of pasta and the giant pieces of chicken. I mean, I thought those were healthy options... and they are, just not in the volumes in which I was eating them.

To see what I mean, here are a few visuals of what I'm talking about:



It's amazing to see typical servings and proper servings side by side... and also slightly disgusting, right?

If we just focus on the steak dinner example above, it's pretty dramatic to see what portion control does to your daily diet.  Imagine if your proper dinner meal was to be 638 calories per day, and instead you were eating the example that weighs in at 1414 calories. 

Watch out, math time: 

      1414 - 638 = 776 extra calories.  In ONE meal.

Take that a little further and assume that you overeat, on average, a similar amount of calories every day for one year: 

      776 calories x 365 days = 283,240 extra calories.

And if you remember from this post, a typical pound of fat is 3,500 calories, so:

      283,240 calories / 3,500 per pound = 80.93 pounds.

In just that one meal, over the course of 365 days, you could be eating the caloric equivalent of 80 additional pounds of body weight.  YIKES!!!!!!!!  I think I even just pooped my pants.  I wasn't expecting it to be that high either.

But what a great way to demonstrate my point.  Portion control makes a HUGE difference.  Your meal can quickly double or triple in caloric density by misjudging what you are putting on your plate.

So, how can you control your portions properly?  By teaching yourself a few basic visuals, you can make portion control decisions in a snap!

Notice any similarities in the above chart to the quiz I had you take at the beginning?  They used some similar portion controls... so there is a method to my madness, here.

Just as a starting point, here are a few visuals you can associate with serving size.

     1 ping pong ball = 1 serving of peanut butter

     4 dice = 1 serving of hard cheese

     1 deck of cards = 1 serving of meat

     1 egg = 1 serving of dried fruit

     1 computer mouse / light bulb / hockey puck =
     1 serving of pasta, rice, baked potato or chopped or cooked vegetables

     1 tennis ball = 1 serving of yogurt

     1 baseball = 1 serving of "medium" fruit or 1 cup of salad greens

And, another interesting technique to pair with portion control is plating.  Notice how much bigger or smaller a small portion looks when served in a different manner, and how easy it is to disguise a large portion accidentally:

Ok, homework time.  Tonight, when you go home and serve your plate... start imagining the above.  What size is your meat serving?  And how about your veggies?  See if you can make some minor adjustments to make your plate healthier.

I bet you can.  And if you do, your body will thank you for it.

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