How to Lose Weight: #20 Weigh and Measure

Weight loss experts are always telling us that we Americans eat portion sizes that are way too big, and consistently underestimate just how much we actually eat. Sometimes people underestimate by over 500 calories a meal! The solution I have found to this problem is to simply measure most everything I eat. Sometimes I do estimate, especially with lower calorie foods, but since I measure the majority of the time, it makes my estimates more accurate. People around me know that I tend to measure portions a lot, although I don’t (yet) carry measuring tools with me when I eat out!

To do this on a regular basis, you will need measuring spoons, liquid and solid cup measures, and a food scale of some kind. Mine are pretty cheap, including the food scale, which isn’t digital and is kind of shaky, but it does the job. Of course, with some foods, like snack foods and crackers, it is easier just to count the items you eat, and then figure out the calories, rather than weighing them.

Let me give you an example of a typical meal I eat, and how I measure the contents. A typical dinner for me is a turkey burger (no  bun), sauteed onions, spicy mustard, baked french fries, and no sugar added ice cream with lite syrup topping for dessert. The turkey burgers are pre-made, so there is no need to measure those. I give myself 6 ounces of fries, and I do this by placing them in a plastic bowl I know weighs 1 ounce, setting that on the scale, and then I add fries until I get 7 ounces.  For the spicy mustard, I give about 4 squirts, estimating each to be about a teaspoon. The onions are so low in calories I just estimate those. The ice cream I measure out, by using a spoon to scoop the ice cream into 1/2 cup measure, and then scooping that out into a bowl. If I want a cup of ice cream I just double it. Usually I then just squeeze the syrup into the spoon I used to scoop the ice cream, because it is a tablespoon size. That may seem like a lot of effort, but it really isn’t, especially once it has become habit. Plus, at the end of the day, I know what I am eating, and I end up consume fewer mindless calories.

Image of yours truly counting out tortilla chips for a snack (notice the el-cheapo food scale by the bag). This is last winter, before I lost an additional 6 or so pounds

About David Bennett

David Bennett is a teacher, writer, and speaker. His articles, about topics from weight loss to popularity, receive over a million hits per year and have appeared in many publications. He writes for The Popular Teen and other sites. Follow him on LinkedIn or Twitter.