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Eat Right, Not Less: Understanding Portion Control for YOUR life.

Updated: Jan 2

Have you ever stepped onto the scale, eager to see how many pounds you’ve shed, but to your disbelief, the numbers haven’t gone down. In fact, you’ve actually added a few ounces! It turns out those weight-loss pills were just another scam. 

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misguided advice on weight loss out there. From fad diets to weight-loss pills and patches, only a handful of these seem to work. And even then, most of the time they only work for a short period of time.

To save you from trying out another hyped-up but ineffective strategy, I’ll be sharing one tip that’s guaranteed to work each time. And no, it's not about minuscule meal sizes that leave you dreaming of your next meal. It's all about balance and understanding your body's needs. This simply means determining the correct amount of food to eat each mealtime. This post sheds more light on portion control, from implementation to how it works. Let's dig in!

girl smiling and practicing self care

Okay I'm interested... What exactly is portion control?

I wouldn't be surprised if you saw "Portion Control" and wanted to click out of here immediately. As you may know by now, Be Well With Steph is a place where we learn to eat from a place of abundance, not restriction! And for many, the first thing that comes to mind when they hear this phrase is eating teeny tiny portions, and leaving the table hungry.

But portion control is so much more than that! It's like having a chat with your body, asking, "Hey, what do you really need?" It's about matching your food intake with your body's calorie needs. Whether you're looking to manage or shed some weight, it's all about the dance of calories in versus calories out.

Think of it as a balancing act - too many calories, and your body stores them as fat. But if you're using up those calories with your daily hustle and bustle or that Zumba class you love, your body dips into its reserves, leading to weight loss. Portion control is your backstage pass to getting this balance just right. Think of your body like your car, and you run off of the fuel you put in. If you've only burned off a quarter of a tank today, you wouldn't go putting in a full tanks worth of fuel, right?!

Portion control helps you find that perfect balance between calorie input and output by regulating the quantity of food you eat. So, how much food should you eat for this to be effective? Well, here’s a detailed guide on how to effectively manage your portions:


So How do I Portion Control?

Alright, let's keep it real. Counting every calorie? Who has time for that? But the good news is, you can use this hack to ensure you’re getting various nutrients. 

Don’t worry, this is not the part where I ask you to start carrying a weighing scale or measuring cups everywhere you go. In fact, the solution is ridiculously simple. You can estimate food portions using your hands! Invented by Nerd Fitness, this strategy allows you to gauge portions of vital food groups using different parts of your hands.  

Here's what they say:

  • Protein: One serving of protein should be about the same size as the palm of your hand (¼ of the plate).

  • Veggies: The portion of vegetables should equal the size of a fist (roughly half of the plate).

  • Carbs: Carbohydrates should be the same size as two hands cupped together (¼ of the plate).

  • Fats: The fat portion should be the size of your thumb (about one tablespoon).

In a nutshell, there should be plenty of space for proteins and vegetables, a reasonable amount of healthy carbs, and just a tiny amount of fats. The reason why fatty foods get the smallest proportion is because they’re rich in calories. Here’s a quick breakdown of the calories present in macronutrients:

  • 1 gram of protein = 4 calories

  • 1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories

  • 1 gram of fat = 9 calories

Really, it’s impossible to specify these portions as it depends on an individual’s nutritional needs. The specific number of calories you need to lose or maintain weight is based on factors such as:

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Metabolism

  • Weight and height

  • Activity level

To illustrate this, let’s say that you weigh 100 pounds and your main physical activity is taking a walk to a nearby park. In this case, you only need a few calories to maintain a healthy weight. Conversely, a woman who has the same weight but engages in more rigorous exercises like weight lifting and running, should consume more calorie-rich foods as they’re burning off just as many.


Additional Tips for Portion Control

1. Use small-sized dinnerware

Did you know that the size of your plate can influence how much food you eat? So, even though you didn’t intend to overeat, you might eat more than usual because of the plate size. 

If you don’t believe this, consider this study published in the National Library of Medicine. In the experiment, participants who used bigger ice cream bowls unconsciously served themselves 31% more ice cream than those with smaller bowls. 

2. Go slow on your eating habits

Another fact that many don’t know is that your eating pace also influences how much food you eat. 

When you gobble down food quickly, you’re less aware of the quantity you’re consuming. As a result, you might overeat because you think you’ve not had enough. But here’s the deal: the brain takes up to twenty minutes to convey signals of satiety. 

Eating slowly also allows you to enjoy the meal more. Savor every bite so you can experience all the different textures, flavors, and aromatic smells. 

3. Keep a food journal 

Until you get the hang of how much food you should be serving on your plate, consider keeping a food diary. Write down the different elements that constitute your meals. This makes it easy to track the macronutrients and calories you consume each time. 

Keeping a food journal also makes you more self-aware of your eating habits. If you’re eating foods high in sugar and fats, you can tell that from your diary; hence, make a conscious decision to change. 


Wrapping It Up

So, beautiful, portion control doesn't have to be intimidating. Once you master it, you’ll find it super easy. Your hands are the simplest tool you've got. And with a few other tricks like smaller plates, a food diary, and savoring your meals, you're all set to make portion control a breezy part of your wellness journey. Here's to loving and understanding your body more every day!


I'd LOVE to know. Did any of this resonate with you? What other struggles do you have when it comes to managing your plate?

Share them with me wherever you like to hangout!

Instagram: @bewellwithsteph_



Join our community of friends who are also on their nutrition journey!

Eat Well With Steph is a vibrant online wellness community that's all about elevating your health and happiness! Imagine being part of a supportive network, where your victories are celebrated, your challenges are understood, and your well-being is the top priority. Don't miss out on this incredible opportunity to embrace a happier and healthier life.

Discover how good it feels to fuel your body with healthy, delicious food.


Steph Genco, plant-based wellness & nutrition coach for women.

Not sure if working with a Wellness & Nutrition Coach is right for you? Book a FREE discovery call & let's chat about the areas you need support in, & I'll see if I can help.

PS: You are worthy of living and capable of creating a healthy lifestyle you love. 🤍


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