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Portion Management (for Weight Loss)

A LEGO holding some seafood, which looks like a big portion size.

It’s time to discover ways to portion management!

There are all types of “suggestions” and “methods” on the market, however at this time we’re going to indicate you the perfect methodology.

What makes me so assured?

For a lot of of our On-line Teaching purchasers, we create portion management methods for weight reduction that don’t suck. At this time, we’ll share them with you too!

Right here’s what we’ll cowl:

Let’s do that thang!

What Are 5 Strategies for Portion Management?

This photo shows a LEGO in front of his food chart, where he determines portion sizes.

As you would possibly know from our “ reduce weight” information, the important thing to sustainable weight reduction is getting ourselves to eat fewer energy in a approach that doesn’t make us depressing. 

As a result of our brains and our bodies are sophisticated emotional disasters, there are some suggestions and methods we will implement to guard us from…ourselves.

4 Methods for Portion Management:

  1. Use smaller plates. People will usually eat what’s positioned in entrance of them, so utilizing smaller dinnerware has been proven to assist folks eat much less.[1]
  2. Drink a glass of water earlier than your meal. When you chug a glass of water half-hour earlier than you propose on consuming, the H20 will take up some room in your abdomen. This would possibly assist you eat much less.[2]
  3. Take it gradual. It may well take about 20 minutes to your physique to return round to the truth that it’s full, so slowing down your meals will help you eat much less.[3]
  4. Use a meals journal. Recording every little thing you eat and drink is a good way to develop into conscious of parts, which will help you management them.[4] In truth, one of many first missions we have now Nerd Health Prime members full is making a meals journal. 

All of those strategies will work to some extent, and so they’re good to remember and likewise observe.

Nonetheless, nothing will get extra constant outcomes than truly studying the variety of energy within the meals you eat (Portion Management Tip #5)!

That is our primary advice for the right way to reduce weight. 

A gif from the Simpsons that says "interesting."

Research[4] after examine[5] after examine[6] exhibits that our our bodies obey the legal guidelines of thermodynamics and that as a way to reduce weight, we have to burn extra energy than we eat frequently.

  • If you eat extra energy than you burn, your physique tends to retailer these further energy as fats (weight achieve).
  • If you burn extra energy than you eat, your physique will pull from fats shops for vitality (weight reduction).

Nonetheless, as we level out in our Energy In, Energy Out information, figuring out your actual “energy in” could be a actual ache. Not solely that, however many individuals with sure persona traits can develop into neurotic about monitoring each single calorie. They fear in the event that they go 1 calorie over their day by day allotment. 

So, what’s a nerd to do? 

Until you’re going to weigh out all of your meals (one thing I’ve achieved earlier than) and be militant about monitoring, is it doable to “observe” your meals with a excessive stage of accuracy with out having it take over your life?

The reply: sure, by getting darn good at estimating! 

Portion Sizes: Portion Management (The Finest Methodology)

A plate that that contains a portion of protein, healthy carb, veggies/fruit, and unsweetened drink.

You already carry with you the perfect methodology for portion management.

Your palms!

This gif shows the Terminator looking at his hand, who realistically doesn't have to worry about portion control.

Even when you have robotic palms.

We’re going to make use of them to construct a wholesome plate, as proven above.

The “Nerd Health Wholesome Plate” was initially revealed in our Information to Wholesome Consuming, which was impressed by our mates over at Precision Diet

We’re not going to fret about being actual. 

It’s actually laborious to be exact anyway.[7]

Nonetheless, utilizing your palms as a instrument for portion management offers a “ok” technique that may assist your meals consumption:

This graph shows servings sizes for protein, vegetables, carbohydrates, and fats, based off the size of your hand.

As you’ll be able to see, we’re going to focus our portion management technique on:

  • Protein
  • Greens (technically carbs, however vital sufficient to deserve their very own class)
  • Carbohydrates (assume starches and fruit)
  • Fats

Every macronutrient will correspond to an space of your hand, to present you a way of what a correct portion dimension ought to be. 

We’ve realized that utilizing your hand as a information is probably the most useful technique for portion management:

  • You won’t at all times have entry to small plates.
  • You would possibly overlook to drink water earlier than every meal.
  • You might need a brief lunch break with out the posh of consuming slowly.
  • You would possibly develop uninterested in logging all of your meals consumption.

Nonetheless, having an intuitive sense of what meals ought to be eaten in what parts will assist you stage up your wholesome consuming.

When doubtful, match the meals in entrance of you to your hand and stick with it.

Let’s break this down a bit of by speaking about protein and veggies. 

What’s the Appropriate Portion Measurement Half 1: Protein and Greens

The above video is taken from Nerd Health Prime, as a part of our NF Kitchen collection.

In it, Coach Lauren and Justin focus on the 2 most vital components of each meal: 

Right here’s one thing which may appear counterintuitive: our #1 advice for portion management isn’t about limiting meals. As a substitute, be sure to get a correct serving of protein and greens each time you sit all the way down to eat.

In different phrases, while you start your wholesome consuming journey, don’t even fear about nixing any particular meals. Simply be sure to are leaving loads of room for protein and greens.

A serving of protein is in regards to the dimension and thickness of your palm:

A serving of protein should be about the size of your palm, like so.

Protein can come from any variety of sources, together with:

  • Meat (steak, bison, pork).
  • Fowl (rooster, turkey, duck).
  • Eggs![8]
  • Fish and shellfish (salmon, tuna, shrimp).
  • Legumes (black beans, chickpeas).

Not a meat-eater? Learn our huge plant-based information!

A serving of veggies is in regards to the dimension of your fist:

A serving of veggies should be the size of your first (or greater).

Right here’s a fast, non-complete listing of veggies that may fill half your plate:

  • Broccoli
  • Broccolini
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Onion
  • Asparagus

With regards to studying portion management, begin by ensuring you eat sufficient protein and greens.

How a lot?

As we focus on in our protein information, when constructing a plate goal for the next quantity of protein:

  • Dudes: 1-2 servings (6-8 oz or about 170-228 g): two palms
  • Dudettes: 1 serving (3-4 oz or about 85-114 g): 1 palm.

For greens, in observe you’ll be able to in all probability eat as a lot as you’ll be able to abdomen (the fiber will possible gradual you down), however goal for about 2 fist fulls at most meals, or about half your plate.[9] 

Don’t like veggies? I used to be as soon as such as you. Try 10 methods to make greens style good. 

Right here’s why it’s best to prioritize protein and greens in case you’re scuffling with portion management:

  • Protein. Consuming sufficient protein will help your well being as you age.[10]Loads of protein may also assist you retain and develop muscle.[11] Plus, prioritizing protein will assist you keep full and satiated between meals.[12]
  • Greens. Veggies are each excessive in vitamins and low in energy, which makes them ideally suited for a wholesome plate. Plus, the fiber is not going to solely assist your well being, it’ll additionally hold your indoor plumbing in correct order.[13]

Within the video that kicks off this part, Coach Justin makes an important level: goal for a bit of higher than you might be at this time.

Which means in case you don’t actually plan your meals in any respect, begin by having ONE meal embody protein supply and a few veggies.

A gif of fast food being replaced by less processed food, which needs to be portion controlled less.

So perhaps you make rooster stir-fry this week. 

Upon getting that win beneath your belt, you’ll be able to goal for doing a bit of bit extra subsequent week (TWO meals that embody protein and veggies).

We’ll shut out at this time’s information with some extra concepts on the right way to get going.

Earlier than we get there, we have to discuss what else can go into your wholesome plate. 

What’s the Appropriate Portion Measurement Half 2: Carbs and Fat

After making room in your plate for protein and greens, what’s subsequent?

As Coach Lauren and Justin point out within the Nerd Health Prime video above, it’s time to incorporate some wholesome carbohydrates and fat!

Relying on what health camp you end up in and your historical past of “weight-reduction plan,” consuming carbs and fat would possibly make you nervous. 

However as Coach Lauren factors out, they’ve a goal on our wholesome plate! You simply must portion them out appropriately.

A serving of carbohydrates is about two palms cupped collectively:

Showing you a serving of carbs

If it’s raw, it’s about half the dimensions, so one cupped hand.

Examples of wholesome carbohydrates:

You additionally wish to be sure to’re together with wholesome fats in your weight loss plan too.

Fats is definitely probably the most calorically dense macronutrient, so comparatively it’ll take up much less room in your hand.

Here’s a serving of fats, roughly the dimensions of your thumb!

A serving of fat should be about your thumb!

Wholesome fats will be present in meals like:

  • Avocado 
  • Almonds 
  • Walnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Almond butter 
  • Peanut butter

The rationale folks name it “wholesome” is as a result of the fats is unsaturated, though science has just lately come round on saturated fats too within the right quantities.[14]

We cowl this intimately in our Information to the Keto Food regimen.

Saturated fat can come from issues like:

  1. Complete milk
  2. Full-fat dairy
  3. Coconut oil
  4. Grass-fed butter
  5. Lard
  6. Fatty cuts of meat

With regards to portion management, we have to pay shut consideration to carbohydrates and fat, as a result of that is the place folks have the tendency to overeat. 

Nonetheless, that doesn’t imply we wish to utterly ditch each meals teams both. 

A scene from the Princess Bride where the grandpa says "wait."

Right here’s why you have to eat these two macronutrients:

  • Carbohydrates. Do you know fiber is a kind of carbohydrate? Yep. As we talked about earlier, you want loads of fiber for good well being.[15] Carbs are additionally an important supply of fast vitality, particularly fruit.[16] 
  • Fat. Some vitamins like Vitamin A are fat-soluble, which means they’re greatest absorbed alongside some fats.[17]Fats may also assist you really feel full, which will help with total portion management for the day.[18] Whereas a bit of goes a great distance, you wouldn’t need a “zero fats” weight loss plan.[19]

Simply watch out right here.

After we analyze the diets of our teaching purchasers who can’t appear to reduce weight, it’s virtually at all times as a result of they’re overeating carbs or fat.

If you end up on this group, check out your hand the subsequent time you sit all the way down to eat:

  • How a lot pasta are you serving your self? It ought to match inside your cupped palms.
  • How a lot olive oil did you place in your salad? It ought to be in regards to the dimension of your thumb or a tablespoon. 
  • How huge is your serving of peanut butter, REALLY? One serving, a tablespoon, is in regards to the dimension of a walnut:

This photo shows a serving of peanut butter, which is about the size of the walnut next to it.

Bear in mind: you don’t should get this good. You simply should be fairly good more often than not.

Even simply consciously fascinated with in case your portion sizes are beneath or over is a good begin.

And so long as you might be constant together with your measuring strategies, then you’ll be able to regulate your parts based mostly in your progress!  

You may also discover some particular plates or containers useful when serving your self. 

Use Portion Management Containers and Plates

One hack Coach Justin makes use of is easy Tupperware containers to portion management his meals:

Justin holds up the container he uses to portion control his meal.

You may also use some glass containers too if you wish to get fancy:

Here Coach Justin holds up his meal, held in a portion control container.

Don’t stress about discovering the proper container that precisely holds every macronutrient you want.

The purpose right here is that you’ve a fast body of reference for portion sizes:

  • The most important portion of the container: greens go right here.
  • The 2 smaller parts: are to your protein and carbs.
  • The small little holder: your fat go right here.

Once more, don’t stress in case your container doesn’t match this description precisely. We’re all working off estimates right here, so let’s deal with the massive image.

These are some cool glass containers in case you’re searching for one thing to purchase.

Management Portion Sizes When Consuming Out

This photo shows a LEGO looking at a dog, who probably wants a portion-controlled taco.

An space of concern when making an attempt to portion management is eating out.

It looks like eating places serve you twice the quantity of meals that you simply want.

Right here’s what Coach Justin does within the scenario: ask for a to-go field as quickly as you place your order.

Yeah, it’s a bit of bizarre, however as quickly as you get your meals, place half of it within the container.

Growth! An additional meal for later. 

Since this adorable dog portion controls, he's walking home with his meal for later.

One other factor to contemplate: eating places need you to depart feeling full.

They usually do that by piling on the carbs. Assume further bread, numerous rice, loads of pasta, and many others.

So it’d make sense to separate these parts in two, and also you’re set for lunch the subsequent day.

Additionally, in case you get hungry after consuming solely half your meal, no drawback. Simply eat the opposite half. Even in case you’re nonetheless on the restaurant.

The purpose is to consciously take into consideration how a lot you’re consuming. A break midway by means of can be utilized as a call tree: 

Ought to I hold consuming?

Maggie Simpson pushing back from a table cause she's full.

This query alone will help with portion management.

One last item: we all know consuming out at eating places is commonly a household or friend-bonding expertise, so we’d favor you ENJOY the evening. Meals is extra than simply energy. 

Simply plan for it! When you eat a extremely massive dinner for a celebration, eat barely smaller parts for the subsequent day or so and your physique might be proper again on observe. 

Portion Management for Weight Loss (Subsequent Steps)

Within the video above, Coach Lauren and Justin stroll you thru consuming a Nerd Health Wholesome Plate IRL (In Actual Life).

It’s all properly and good to construct a wholesome plate at house, however…

  • What in case you’re at a restaurant? 
  • What if you have to order a sandwich?
  • How about pizza?

Listed here are some suggestions from the Coaches for portion management IRL:

#1) Portion Management a Sandwich

The trick right here is to pack in as many greens as you’ll be able to. Yeah, you’re in all probability not going to get two fist fulls in, however you’ll be able to squeeze in numerous spinach, onion, sauerkraut, and tomato (yeah, it’s technically a fruit, whatevs) in your sandwich. 

  • Your carbs will be some kind of whole-grain bread (you are able to do an open-face sandwich if you wish to restrict this). 
  • Your protein can come from some turkey. 
  • Your fats could be a little avocado. 

This is a gif of an avocado


You now have a turkey sandwich that matches our wholesome plate technique.

#2) Portion Management Chili or Soup

This could be a little more durable when every little thing is combined collectively.

When you’re making it your self, maybe you measure out your hand parts as you prepare dinner.

  • Put a palm-size portion of floor beef in.
  • Your greens will be onion, garlic, and tomatoes (once more a fruit, however who cares).
  • Your carbs will be pinto and/or kidney beans.
  • Your fats could be a little little bit of cheese sprinkled on high.

Positive, perhaps you’re doing lower than two fistfuls of greens, and greater than a cupped hand of carbs (beans).

It doesn’t matter. Once more, the purpose is you’re placing a bit of thought into correct parts.

When you’re consuming out and ordering soup or chili, perhaps simply consider the top product in thoughts:

“After portioning every little thing out, it ought to be about two fistfuls of meals. In order that’s what I’ll eat. Every thing else I’ll take house.”

#3) Portion Management Pizza

It is a little trickier as a result of pizza is usually bread (carbs).

However Coach Justin has an answer for this.

First, he eats one thing he’s pleased with, like a salad. 

Then he parts out his pizza, which if he makes use of his hand technique, could be about two slices:

Justin holds up his hands, to show how he portion controls foods like pizza.

Is it good?


Does it assist Coach Justin attain his objectives and permit him to nonetheless get pleasure from life?


So experiment a bit of by creating some tough pointers, see how you are feeling, and course-correct as you go.

Bear in mind, any step you tackle leveling up your diet is nice.

Wayne is stoked that he made his small change for weight loss.

When you don’t know the place to begin, I truly suggest you start by not worrying about what to take OFF your plate, however as a substitute what so as to add! 

Make sure that each meal you eat has a wholesome protein supply and a vegetable. Upon getting that dialed in, THEN you’ll be able to fear about portion controlling your carbs and fats. 

When you need assistance alongside the way in which, we acquired you.

Listed here are 3 ways to proceed your journey with Nerd Health. 

#1) Our On-line Teaching program: a training program for busy folks to assist them make higher meals selections, keep accountable, and get more healthy, completely.

As I mentioned earlier than, we train portion management to our purchasers who wrestle with overeating, so we’ll present a non-judgmental skilled that can assist you attain your objectives.

You may schedule a free name with our group so we will get to know you and see if our teaching program is best for you:

#2) If you need an actual blueprint for leveling up your diet, take a look at Nerd Health Journey! Our enjoyable habit-building app helps you train extra continuously, eat more healthy, and stage up your life (actually).

When you observe our Diet missions, you’ll be taught to portion management whereas incomes XP! Sah-weeeet.

Attempt your free trial proper right here:

#3) Be a part of the Revolt! We want good folks such as you in our group, the Nerd Health Revolt.

Join within the field beneath to enlist and get our Insurgent Starter Package, which incorporates all of our “work out at house” guides, the Nerd Health Food regimen Cheat Sheet, and rather more!

Alright, I wish to hear from you:

Do you’ve gotten any suggestions or methods for portion management?

Do you employ the hand technique that we lined at this time?

What’s your largest problem with portion sizes?

Tell us within the feedback!


PS: When you’re simply beginning your weight reduction journey, be sure to take a look at:


Picture Supply: Contemporary lobster rolls, bean-there-donut-that-40358-2, Taco trike, Peanut/Walnut


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