What Do We Factor in When We Calculate Calories

Portion sizes and how you can follow this simple strategy to track your food.

PORTION SIZES: Are you eating the right amount for your goals? The simple strategy to track your food. 

As you get in the habit of keeping a food journal each day, it is important to start making it more and more detailed to get the most benefit. 

Tracking all your food choices is important and can give you lots of good information, but starting to add in portions can really help break through that weight loss plateau. 

In these modern times, food portions have gotten out of control! Nowadays, when you go to a restaurant you are getting two to three times the food you used to get. While some people see this as a benefit (more value for your money), it’s also more girth for your waist. 

If you are someone who is trying to lose fat, make sure you are accurately recording your food portions in your journal each day.

Remember that “the secret to success is eating high quality foods in the right quantities for your goals”


What is an accurate portion? If you look at some literature, it talks about how many servings of protein, vegetables, and fats you should be eating each day. Those ‘servings’ can be expressed as ounces, grams or even tablespoons.  

I don’t know about you, but last time I went out to eat, I did not bring along a scale or measuring spoons!


Is there a more practical way to measure out food? Precision Nutrition was one of the first companies to start using a different type of measuring device that you always have with you: your hand. A lot of other organisations have now started adopting this strategy as well, so it is becoming more mainstream. 

You just use your hand to help measure the amount of food you are eating or should be eating. 

  • One portion of protein = size of one palm

  • One portion of vegetables = size of one fist

  • One portion of carbohydrates = size of one cupped hand

  • One portion of healthy fat = size of one thumb


Men and women do not need the same amount of food in each of their meals. Using the measurements above, here are some guidelines for portions based on genders.


  • 2 palms of protein dense foods with each meal

  • 2 fists of vegetables with each meal

  • 2 cupped hands of carb dense foods with most meals

  • 2 entire thumbs of fat dense foods with most meals


  • 1 palm of protein dense foods with each meal

  • 1 fist of vegetables with each meal

  • 1 cupped hand of carb dense foods with most meals

  • 1 entire thumb of fat dense foods with most meals

Use this guide to help build your meals each day. Record the portion sizes on your food journal and see how you feel. If you are very active and are still feeling hungry one to two hours after a meal, increase the portion sizes slightly. 

Remember we are not going to depravation here. That is not sustainable. We are looking for a satisfying feeling, but not uncomfortably full!


Tracking food portions in all your meals can really help discover any problem areas. Maybe you are making pretty good food choices overall but are just eating way too much of it. Or maybe your protein intake is too low and carb intake is too high. 

Whatever the trend, use your journal to help recognise and adapt! 

If you’re interested in becoming a member of our small group or personal training membership at our Paddington or Waterloo locations, click here to learn more and apply. 

What Do We Factor in When We Calculate Calories
You can only track what you measure

Brandon Hasick

Director and Head Coach





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