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Dallas Boot Camp and Personal Trainer Tip - Portion Control: Watching Your Portions Can Be a Simple Way to Lose Weight

Posted Oct 14 2009 12:16pm
Dallas Boot Camp and Personal Trainer Tip - Portion Control:   Watching Your Portions Can Be a Simple Way to Lose WeightThere is significant research that points to how the increasing size of portions served in America is an underlying cause of serious weight issues and even obesity.   Maintaining an unheathly weight can lead to many other health risks such as heart disease, diabetes and various cancers.   Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in January 2003, a study conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, confirmed that portion size has grown significantly over the past two decades and that this growth trend goes beyond fast-food restaurants to affect meals in homes and other conventional restaurants. Portion control is greatly needed as "portion distortion" is sweeping the nation.Other studies show that given the increase in portions, most people will still eat what is given to them!   This may seem a bit frightening, but maybe many Americans grew up in a household like I did, where the “clean plate club” was a big deal. To further ensure we ate every morsel on our plates, we were often reminded of the starving children in Africa pointing out how lucky we were to have the food.   To this day, it is difficult for me to leave anything on my plate.   Even though this may be a reason people are programed to eat unreasonable portion sizes, it is equally reasonable to see how importantthe role “right sizing” your portions can have in losing and maintaining a healthy weight.The good news is that there are several simple methods to help reteach people on how to easily recogonize the right portion size AND you can start using them immediately – no preparation required!   All of these methods are great tools to help with wieght loss and even better, no calorie counting, wieghing, or food restrictions are involved.   The most available method is your hand.   As you can see from the guide below found on theFat Fighterwebsite and published by the USDA, using your hand will help you easily visualize portion sizes anytime you need!

A fist or cupped hand = 1 cup

For example:
1 serving = 1/2 cup cereal, cooked pasta, or rice
OR 1 cup of raw, leafy green vegetables
OR 1/2 cup of chopped fruits or vegetables

A thumb = 1 ounce of cheese

Handful = 1-2 ounces of snack food
Remember, 1 handful = 1 ounce of nuts and small candies. For chips and pretzels, 2 handfuls = 1 ounce

Palm = 3 ounces of meat

Thumb Tip = 1 teaspoon
Keep high fat foods like mayonnaise to a minimum by measuring the serving with your thumb. One teaspoon is equal to the end of your thumb, from the knuckle up. Three teaspoons equals one tablespoon.

1 tennis ball = 1 serving of fruit
Healthy diets should include 2-4 servings of fruit each day.

***Important Note: Because hand sizes vary, compare your fist size to an actual measuring cup.

If you don’t like the hand guide, be sure to check out these other websites to find a different guide that will work for you.   For example, WebMD publishes one that refers to various every day objects as their visual cues and they have published it in an easy to print and put in your wallet form. If you need more than just visual cues, there are sites that offer an actual plate for purchase that is designed to physically and visually help you manage portions.

Find one that works for you and start taking control of your portions today.

Written by:   Brad Linder M.S., NASM - CPT    
Brad is the founder of   which is a Health and Fitness Company dedicated to helping people get in shape. Dallas Boot Camps, Coppell Boot Camps, Personal Fitness Training, the 40 Day Challenge, Weight Loss, Sports Performance and Nutritional Program are a few of the main services that provides for their clients.
For more information, visit the website or email us at info at
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