Portion Size & Measurements

- POSTED ON: Feb 07, 2017

During my lifetime of weight-loss and maintenance efforts, I’ve experimented with almost every diet.

All weight-loss diets necessarily involve some type of food restriction.  This is because every weight-loss “Diet”, “way-of-eating” or “lifestyle” requires eating less food than one’s individual body uses so that the body will make up the difference by eating itself for nourishment, i.e. consume its own stored fat for energy. 

(See The Essence of Diets - Part One  and  The Essence of Diets - Part Two).

While many Diets limit the Amount of food eaten by focusing on Indirect Restrictions such as limiting the Kinds of foods eaten and/or limiting the Frequency of eating, my own Diet preference is to Directly Restrict the Amount of food that I eat. 

I do this by working to figure out how many calories are in every bit of food that I eat, all the time, every day, AND immediately recording that information in an ongoing computer food journal.  I’ve now been doing this successfully every day for more than 12 consecutive years.   See ABOUT ME for my weight-loss and maintenance information.

When working to count calories, the task of weighing and measuring food accurately is very important. While the calorie numbers obtained will never be perfectly exact,  consistently paying close attention to careful measurements will provide calorie numbers accurate enough to bring weight-loss and maintenance success. 

There are many computer programs available that will help with calorie counting. 
For example: My Fitness Pal offers a basic free online program with a food diary and an excellent food database.

Successful calorie counting involves the issue of Portion Control.  Most of the time the best way to determine the amount of food in One Serving is to look at the Nutrition Facts label and measure it.  

A rough way to figure out how much food is in one serving is to fill a measuring cup with the suggested size portion of food and then empty it onto a plate.  That will help you learn what these serving sizes look like.

I also find it helpful to frequently use very small plates and very small bowls.

Measurement essentials are: 
measuring spoons, measuring cups, and a small kitchen counter food scale. 

When following measurement directions, remember that 1 teaspoon or 1 tablespoon means LEVEL, not mounded or heaping. 

Also ¼ of a cup is a level measurement in some measuring cups, but a distance below the brim for other measuring cups, however it is also never mounded or heaping.

There can be a great deal of calorie difference between 1 level teaspoon and 1 level tablespoon.

For example: butter or peanut butter. 1 level teaspoon is about 33 calories; 1 level tablespoon is about 100 calories…

BUT 1 heaping teaspoon is actually about 1 tablespoon (100 calories), and 1 heaping tablespoon is about 2 tablespoons. (200 calories).


There can also be a great deal of calorie difference between ¼ of a cup; ½ of a cup; and 1 cup.
¼ of a level cup of mixed nuts is about 225 calories. ½ level cup is about 450 calories. 
1 level cup is about 900 calories.  One heaping cup is about 1125 calories.


This past year or so I started recording pictures of some of my various meals in the Photo Gallery section of DietHobby (look under the heading RESOURCES) to record various meals that I’ve actually eaten as part of various experiments-of-one.  Most of these foods are specific to size and measurement and also show a calorie count for that portion size. 

I've also made quite a few Recipe Videos that demonstrate measurements and portion sizes.  You can find these under the header RECIPES.  Below is one of my Recipe Videos which demonstrates the Measurements of Peanut Butter.

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