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You eat the right foods, plan your meal times to a tee, focus on fresh, natural produce and avoid junk food like the plague. Yet something’s missing – portion sizes. Without the correct serving sizes, all your hard work could be going to waste.

"You can get fat eating healthy food."

Let that sink in for a minute.

As much as you may have heard about choosing the right food, counting calories, focusing on low carb, or low fat, or natural whole foods, none of this matters if you’re still eating too much. Your body sees all food as a source of fuel, and while healthy foods may be far lower in calories than junk foods, you can still gain weight by eating too much.

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Your body runs off calories, and the three macronutrients – proteins, carbs and fat. Choosing the right types of these is certainly important for general health and well-being, avoiding disease and illness, optimizing your performance in the gym, and keeping you feeling fuller and reducing cravings, but none of this matters if you’re over-consuming the foods.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a staunch vegan, zero carb dieter, organic eater, or any other diet under the sun, you need some form of portion control.

As much as the proponents and gurus who follow or promote these diets would like to tell you that you can eat as much as you like following a certain method of eating and not gain fat, it just doesn’t happen.

There are two methods of measuring your portion sizes and both work well, it just depends on what’s easiest for you to follow and stick to. The first method is the calorie counting method.

Counting Calories For Portion Control 

Counting calories appears to be seriously uncool in the nutrition industry at the moment. All the latest diets claim you don’t need to count them and point out the many flaws with calorie counting. However, while the calorie values listed on packaging and counting apps may not always be 100 percent right, it’s still an extremely accurate method, and far better than eating unlimited quantities.

When counting calories, you don’t need to aim for a certain amount of food per meal, rather a daily total of calories, or better still, a daily total for each of the three macronutrients. How you work this out depends on who you talk to, but the best approach is to use an Online calorie calculator or app to work out your basal metabolic rate (BMR) which is how many calories you need per day just to survive.

From here, work out your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) which factors in your activity levels.

Once you have this, simply aim for this many calories to maintain weight, 300 to 500 under to lose weight, or 300 to 500 over to gain weight.

Aim for around 1 gram of protein per pound of body-weight, then split the rest of your calories between carbs and fat.

From here, it’s simply a case of making sure all your meals over the day fit in with these guidelines.

The beauty of this method is that it’s accurate and allows you to vary the amounts you eat each meal. For instance, if you want a large serving of carbs at breakfast but don’t mind foregoing them at dinner, then go ahead. The same goes for protein and fat – those daily numbers are key, and it’s easy to calculate portion sizes using a set of digital kitchen scales. Once you’ve weighed your food, plug it into a calorie counting app, website or spreadsheet and work out your portion sizes from there.

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