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I was having a conversation the other day that made me realize, most people don't know the difference between a portion, and a serving size. It's funny, because with all the info out there that we all look up about food, calories, diets, pills, witches brew and other things to help us knock off the weight, the simple things seem to slip under the door for many of us.

Basically, a portion is what you're given! "Wow, check out the portions you get at Mamma Lamborghinis (the names were changed to protect the not so innocent)." Yeah, a portion of fettuccini alfredo in that restaurant maybe bigger than in another, or the one you give yourself at home. A portion is usually what you're given or take.

A serving size is based on what one person should consume in one sitting. Say you're having dinner, and you're having chicken and pasta. Well, the serving size for the chicken is generally the size of your palm (but look it up to see what it actually is, it will give you a weight or size). The pasta is usually about a cup AFTER it's cooked. Throw in a cup of broccoli and you've got your meal made up of a serving of chicken, pasta and vegetables. That's a serving. (just go easy on the pasta, use whole wheat pasta, and NO sauce :)

Watch out though. Some portions are several serving sizes. So if a serving size of some food you eat is 250 calories, and your PORTION is actually 3 serving sizes, you didn't consume 250 calories, you consumed 750! (plus multiply how many carbs, sugars, saturated fats, etc)

Serving sizes were determined in the late 70's and early 80's (1978 and '81 I believe). They are based on food consumption surveys done to determine what people eat and how much. After the early 80's, weight was on the increase and so was obesity. There hasn't been a food consumption survey to change a serving size since then. I can only speculate that that was done because weight was going up and up. We can't change serving sizes because we ate too much...those serving sizes will keep you at your proper weight. So pay attention when eating, cooking, ordering out.

Here's the deal with weight loss or gain.
  • Eat the same amount of calories everyday that you basically eat now, and your weight stays the same
  • Eat MORE calories than you eat now, and gain weight.
  • Eat LESS calories than you eat now, lose weight.

Check the labels folks. To read them, FIRST look at serving size! Then look at calories, then sugars. You want to make sure you only eat ONE serving size. A small bag of chips may have 140 calories...but if you looked at the serving size, and saw it was 2 or 2.5 serving sizes, you'd know right away it was 280 - 350 calories for that small bag...that's a meal that you could have had of something healthy, and full of protein and healthy fats and carbs, not just a big mistake filled with calories, unhealthy fats and sodium! And, that was just an extra snack.

It's really that simple. Find out how many calories you need a day to be at a certain weight and you can find out how long it will take you to get to that weight, and to stay at that weight.

Add in resistance exercises and add lean tissue to change your body and to prevent you from going back up in weight (reduced body fat and increased lean tissue burns calories at rest and prevents you from rapidly increasing in weight if you go off your diet a bit).

Add in Cardio to burn extra calories. Don't use diet and cardio alone as it does not change your body dynamics, but rather, helps you lose weight..which is good, but you want to change your body and your weight....right?

It seems like everyday they are recalling or stopping some weight reduction substance. Everyday someone comes up with a new magic pill or product that is meant to sell quickly, and they make a boat load while you spend your hard earned money on something that doesn't work, and that can harm you.

But all along, the answers are right in front of you. And now the holidays are approaching, candy, cake, massive amounts of sleep inducing carbs, and BINGO, you've added on weight...5 - 10lbs of holiday weight that is.

Eat Right (it's not as hard as you think..don't over think, just don't overeat)
Resistance Training - Change your body
Cardio - Increase your cardio vascular health and burn extra calories.

Don't wait anymore for that "Perfect" weight loss remedy. It's all in your hands and in your power. No one is going to come up with that one Perfect thing...You've already go it!

Come down and lets talk about what we can do for you and how you'll be healthier and happier for doing something positive for yourself, for being proactive and for simply starting!



  • Personal Training - 30 and 60 minute sessions from $35 for individuals.
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  • Tell a friend that signs up for Personal Training 2 x a week or more, get a free session every month that they train!

Mark Falk
Fitness By the Bay