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Portion Sizes & Food Journals

August 17, 2011 –

I found these two videos on Team Beachbody and thought they provided a perfect background to what I believe are two of the most critical items in your nutrition.

Portion Sizes

When I was doing my International assignment, the biggest eye opening thing for me was portions. I started P90X after about 15 months in that job, so the first 15 months was some of the reason I got in trouble. What amazed me when I went to McDonalds was that when I asked for a large fry and large coke in the UK, Spain, Singapore, China or wherever, it was WAY smaller than in the US. Their large cokes were the size of our small or medium. Their large fries were the size of our medium. And it wasn’t just fast food. When you ordered a meal, it wasn’t overflowing your plate.

One of the biggest issues we have in America is portion control. As you can see from the chart to the right, portion sizes of foods commonly consumed outside the home have significantly increased over the years. In 1955, you had one size to choose from. In 2002 (and things have worsened since then), there were numerous sizes and MUCH larger portions.    I had no idea how much 3 oz of chicken was or 1 oz of nuts. I didn’t know how many calories I was consuming (More on that later.) I had no reference. I had never measured a piece of food in my life. So in order to clear up our distorted view, we need to measure our portion sizes. Measure 3/4 of a cup of cereal. Weigh a piece of chicken. Measure and Weight everything! You will soon get a sense for the correct portion sizes and retrain your brain.

Food Diaries

In the video below, they did a terrific study that shows that people who keep food diaries lose twice as much weight. Similar to portion sizes, before P90X I had no idea how many calories I was consuming. I didn’t even know about Protein / Carb / Fat ratios. Keeping a good food diary is mandatory for success. I still do it everyday! I had been using Beachbody’s Meal Planner and I like their tool alot. It melds with your exercise program, provides guidance on P/C/F ratios, suggest meals, and even provides you a grocery list. However, a growing annoyance to me was that I could not copy one day to the next as I eat alot of the same stuff everyday. Additionally, I really wanted an Android app. I started using MyFitnessPal for the past two weeks and have really liked it. It allows me to copy whole meals and has an awesome Android app that allows you to bar code scan in your foods. How cool is that?

As I state in my Baseline Food Plan Post (Click HERE to see it), creating a baseline plan with your food journal is critical to you success. Once you create a manageable baseline food plan, you can start substituting.

I cannot stress the importance of a food diary for not only ensuring you stay on track for your calories and P/C/F, but also holding you accountable. Every thing you put in your mouth should be tracked. EVERYTHING! Make this your accountability tool. If you eat one M&M, track it! Just like Tony tells you in P90X to write things down, it is even more important with your diet. In early days of your program, accountability is critical and if nothing else, your food diary serves this purpose.

I encourage you to watch the two videos below that provide great information as well.

Portion Control

When it comes to weight loss portion control is key. Use Debbie’s technique of “halves and handfuls” to make sure your entrees are the right size for you.

Food Diaries Double Weight Loss

A recent study suggests that keeping even the simplest records of our food intake can double your weight loss results.

6 Responses to “Portion Sizes & Food Journals”

  1. BigSwish says:

    WOW! The your little charts are certainly eye openers! And we wonder why the obesity rate is so high??!??!!

  2. breakpoint says:

    Thanks for the info! Yeah our society thinks bigger is better! No wonder we have more health issues then our grandparents!

  3. James Garr says:

    I have a 32oz big gulp cup that I used to drink soda out of, and now I use it for water. Hard to believe I used to drink that much soda in one sitting. Serving sizes are really out of control, especially in restaurants.

    I have an article on portion control as well. Very important topic.

    • Coach Mike Coach Mike says:

      Soda is the #1 source of calories consumed in America. And it is huge profits. It costs McDonalds $0.02 and they charge a $1.00. “Drink Your Water People!” :)

  4. […] Another great article on portion control. […]

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