Matt wanted to become more mindful of portion sizes since reading Racing Weight, so he invested in some measuring cups and spoons. He used them mainly for things like whole wheat pasta, which he eats before long runs. This is a typical box of pasta that Matt would be cooking from:
They say a serving is 2 ounces, or 56 grams. Often, you may also see the serving in cup measurements, usually 2/3 of a cup being a serving.
So, before a run, Matt would take his measuring cup and measure out 8 ounces, what he figured to be about 800 calories.
The problem, though, is that this is a liquid measuring cup - and pasta is clearly a solid. The 2 ounce serving is not 2 liquid ounces (for comparison, a shot glass is typically about an ounce, ounce and a half) but 2 ounces by weight.
This is the kind of measuring cup you need to use for measuring solids:
It was actually 3.4 ounces by weight, or 98 grams. Since a serving is 2 ounces or 56 grams, the bowl of pasta he'd been logging as 800 calories was, in fact, only 350 calories. Needless to say, I think we've figured out why he dropped a ton of weight in the past month and a half or so!
Everyone has his or her own method for losing weight - counting calories, counting Weight Watchers Points, etc. - but no matter what works best for you personally, it's still important to have an understanding of portion sizes. I bought a food scale a few months ago and used it for everything for a while, until I got a good idea of what serving sizes looked like. I don't see the point in neurotically measuring every piece of fruit, every plate of veggies, every chicken breast - after a while, you can more or less eye it, and the difference between a 90 calorie banana and a 110 calorie banana isn't worth losing sleep over, at least not to me. My issues with weight loss in California had nothing to do with small differences in fruits, veggies, and lean protein.
Things I *do* still measure, though? Nuts and nut butters. Avocados. Pasta. Things that are more difficult for me to estimate, or that I tend to go overboard with if I don't have a structured plan in place. I don't know if I'll measure these things forever, but I know that for now, I need them to be weighed out.
What about you? Do you weigh/measure your food? Do you weigh/measure everything, or just some things? Have you ever made any big over/under estimations about foods?