Portion Management (for Weight Loss)


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It’s time to learn to portion management!

There are all kinds of “ideas” and “methods” on the market, however immediately we’re going to indicate you the very best 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. Immediately, 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 may know from our “ shed pounds” information, the important thing to sustainable weight reduction is getting ourselves to eat fewer energy in a manner that doesn’t make us depressing. 

As a result of our brains and our bodies are difficult emotional disasters, there are some ideas 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 may provide help to eat much less.[2]
  3. Take it sluggish. It could take about 20 minutes to your physique to come back round to the truth that it’s full, so slowing down your meals may also help you eat much less.[3]
  4. Use a meals journal. Recording every thing you eat and drink is a good way to turn out to be conscious of parts, which may also help you management them.[4] The truth is, 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 in addition follow.

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 find out how to shed pounds

A gif from the Simpsons that says "interesting."

Research[4] after examine[5] after examine[6] reveals that our our bodies obey the legal guidelines of thermodynamics and that as a way to shed pounds, we have to burn extra energy than we eat repeatedly.

  • Once you eat extra energy than you burn, your physique tends to retailer these additional energy as fats (weight achieve).
  • Once 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 turn out to be neurotic about monitoring each single calorie. They fear in the event that they go 1 calorie over their each day allotment. 

So, what’s a nerd to do? 

Until you’re going to weigh out all of your meals (one thing I’ve accomplished earlier than) and be militant about monitoring, is it doable to “observe” your meals with a excessive degree 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 very best methodology for portion management.

Your fingers!

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

Even in case you have robotic fingers.

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 associates over at Precision Vitamin

We’re not going to fret about being actual. 

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

Nonetheless, utilizing your fingers as a device for portion management gives a “adequate” 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 essential sufficient to deserve their very own class)
  • Carbohydrates (assume starches and fruit)
  • Fats

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

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

  • You won’t at all times have entry to small plates.
  • You may neglect to drink water earlier than every meal.
  • You might need a brief lunch break with out the luxurious of consuming slowly.
  • You may develop bored with logging all of your meals consumption.

Nonetheless, having an intuitive sense of what meals must be eaten in what parts will provide help to degree up your wholesome consuming.

When doubtful, match the meals in entrance of you to your hand and keep on.

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

What’s the Right 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 essential elements of each meal: 

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

In different phrases, once you start your wholesome consuming journey, don’t even fear about nixing any particular meals. Simply be sure you 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 checklist of veggies that may fill half your plate:

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

In terms of 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 purpose 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 follow you’ll be able to in all probability eat as a lot as you’ll be able to abdomen (the fiber will seemingly sluggish you down), however purpose 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 is best to prioritize protein and greens should you’re battling portion management:

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

Within the video that kicks off this part, Coach Justin makes an important level: purpose for a bit of higher than you’re immediately.

Which means should you don’t actually plan your meals in any respect, begin by having ONE meal embody a superb 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 underneath your belt, you’ll be able to purpose for doing a bit of bit extra subsequent week (TWO meals that embody protein and veggies).

We’ll shut out immediately’s information with some extra concepts on find out how to get going.

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

What’s the Right 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 may make you nervous. 

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

A serving of carbohydrates is about two fingers cupped collectively:

Showing you a serving of carbs

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

Examples of wholesome carbohydrates:

You additionally need to be sure you’re together with wholesome fats in your eating regimen too.

Fats is definitely essentially 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 scale of your thumb!

A serving of fat should be about your thumb!

Wholesome fats could be present in meals like:

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

The explanation folks name it “wholesome” is as a result of the fats is unsaturated, though science has not too long ago come round on saturated fats too within the right quantities.[14]

We cowl this intimately in our Information to the Keto Weight loss plan.

Saturated fat can come from issues like:

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

In terms of 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 need to utterly ditch each meals teams both. 

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

Right here’s why it’s worthwhile 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, that means they’re greatest absorbed alongside some fats.[17]Fats may also provide help to really feel full, which may also help with general portion management for the day.[18] Whereas a bit of goes a good distance, you wouldn’t need a “zero fats” eating regimen.[19]

Simply watch out right here.

After we analyze the diets of our teaching purchasers who can’t appear to shed pounds, it’s nearly 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 following 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 fingers.
  • How a lot olive oil did you place in your salad? It must be in regards to the dimension of your thumb or a tablespoon. 
  • How large 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 must get this excellent. You simply must be fairly good more often than not.

Even simply consciously excited about in case your portion sizes are underneath or over is a good begin.

And so long as you’re constant along 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.

It’s also possible to 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 got a fast body of reference for portion sizes:

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 large image.

These are some cool glass containers should 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 as if eating places serve you twice the quantity of meals that you simply want.

Right here’s what Coach Justin does within the state of affairs: 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.

Increase! 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 additional bread, a number of rice, loads of pasta, and so on.

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

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

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

Ought to I preserve consuming?

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

This query alone may also help with portion management.

One very last thing: we all know consuming out at eating places is usually a household or friend-bonding expertise, so we’d desire you ENJOY the night time. Meals is extra than simply energy. 

Simply plan for it! When you eat a extremely giant dinner for a celebration, eat barely smaller parts for the following 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 dwelling, however…

Listed here are some ideas 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 quite a lot of spinach, onion, sauerkraut, and tomato (yeah, it’s technically a fruit, whatevs) in your sandwich. 

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 harder when every thing is combined collectively.

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

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 tip product in thoughts:

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

#3) Portion Management Pizza

This can be a little trickier as a result of pizza is generally bread (carbs).

However Coach Justin has an answer for this.

First, he eats one thing he’s happy 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 excellent?


Does it assist Coach Justin attain his targets and permit him to nonetheless take pleasure in 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 start out, I truly suggest you start by not worrying about what to take OFF your plate, however as an alternative what so as to add! 

Make certain 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 best way, we bought 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 decisions, keep accountable, and get more healthy, completely.

As I stated earlier than, we educate portion management to our purchasers who wrestle with overeating, so we’ll present a non-judgmental professional that will help you attain your targets.

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

#2) If you would like a precise 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 degree up your life (actually).

When you observe our Vitamin missions, you’ll study to portion management whereas incomes XP! Sah-weeeet.

Strive your free trial proper right here:

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

Enroll within the field under to enlist and get our Insurgent Starter Package, which incorporates all of our “work out at dwelling” guides, the Nerd Health Weight loss plan Cheat Sheet, and far more!

Alright, I need to hear from you:

Do you have got any ideas or methods for portion management?

Do you employ the hand technique that we lined immediately?

What’s your greatest problem with portion sizes?

Tell us within the feedback!


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


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


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