Portion Estimation and Weight Loss (Gain)

Portion Estimation – the next time you eat one serving do this. In this picture on top I tried my best to estimate one serving. 36g. The bottom is a measured serving by weight. 28g. In this case my estimation is off by 8g or 28%. Over the course of a day that turns a 2000 calorie diet to a 2560 calorie diet. Assuming that I was trying to lose a pound per week by cutting out 500 calories per day this means that on my “diet” I would be eating enough to GAIN a pound every 58 days or about half a pound a month

Does this sound familiar?

Thoughts after stably reaching my weight goal range.

So, what should I do now that I’m in the goal range?



The last time I was in my goal range of 73.5-81.5 kg (highest weight = 93.1Kg) for anytime more than a day was in 1996. 22 years ago. Like many of the people doing this, every year there was a tradition of putting on my list of things to do, “1. Lose weight.”

First, why was this attempt successful? I have to attribute it to two things. I had established a pretty good routine prior to the final push. My diet wasn’t bad and I was running 20-30 Km per week. I had whittled down the amount I needed to lose from 13 kg to 7 kg. But the final 7kg kept coming and going. Mostly coming.

In the final push I made a couple of critical changes:
1. I decided what I would eat the day before I ate it and I prepared the food ahead of time. Deciding for “future me” was intellectual. Deciding for “present me” was emotional.
2. I recorded everything I ate in a calorie counting app.
3. I weighed almost everything I ate on a scale. I learned how many grams of different snacks were 100 calories. I realized that even with good intentions I usually increased my portions by 50 to 200% when I would estimate the portion.
4. I eliminated alcohol, candy and crisps except on weekends, and usually just on Saturday. This led to cravings for about 2 days but after that I didn’t even look at the vending machine when I came to the office because it no longer represented a source of reinforcement for me.
5. I stopped eating lunch at restaurants.

Strange thing that did not change despite weight loss:
-When I look at myself in the mirror or in a store window I think I look the same. I still focus on my belly which I imagine being huge. It’s not. It’s a body image disturbance which I can intellectually appreciate. That hasn’t yet changed it. I can, however, see the difference in before and after photos.

Things that have changed:
1. I’m faster. My training times began to accelerate.  At first, I thought it was just a “good period” but the data suggest that it’s a new baseline.  That makes sense.  Running is a power and weight sport.  Shlepping 7kg on a 20Km run is … a shlep.  (Another life goal reached: to use the word “shlep” twice in a sentence.  BTW, spell correct tries to convert shlep to sheep).
2. My new expensive belt is on its last notch. Luckily the guy that made it for me at Hollows Leather (great site, check them out) said he’d punch a new notch in for free if I sent him the postage.  This is not a belt that you drive a nail through.

So, what do I do now?

  1. I’m starting to add calories to slow my weight loss from about 1 kg/week to 1 kg/4 weeks.
  2. When I reach the bottom of my goal zone I hope to know how many calories I can consume that will not lead to any weight loss.
  3. Repeat step 2 for another 18 years which will bring me to age 76, the average life expectancy for men in the United States.
  4. Die

Admittedly, step 4 kind of sucks.