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Take charge of your diet tips and tolls

Set goals and use weight loss tools to control you weight.  Change to a healthy lifestyle and select more healthy foods.  Monitor not only what you each but how much and how often you eat. 

Use a food diary to steer your weight loss efforts

Anm excellent method to learn and track of your food consumption is to use a food diary. Write down when, what, how much, where, and why you eat to determin the amount of calories and foods you are consuming so you can learn your pitfalls and try to counter act them.   You can use the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Nutrition Facts label containing  information printed on the back of most packaged foods to log your food consumption.  The label will tell you how many calories and how much fat, carbohydrate, sodium, and other nutrients are available in one serving of food. Most packaged foods contain more than a single serving. The serving sizes that appear on food labels are based on FDA-established lists of foods.

Reading nutrition facts labels to lose weight

A nutrition food label will list all the ingredients in your packaged food.  It will list the amount of calories, their type, fats, saturated fats, sugars and more.  It will also list in order of which ingredient comes the the largest amount first.  Use the food facts label to learn how many servings your food  package has, check the “servings per container” listed on its Nutrition Facts label. You may be surprised to find that small containers often have more than one serving inside.  Determine the total calories for the package food by multiplying the calories per servings by the number of servings listed for that package.

Learn to recognize standard serving sizes so that you can better judge how much you are eating. When cooking for yourself, use measuring cups and spoons to measure your usual food portions and compare them to standard serving sizes from Nutrition Facts of packaged food products for a week or so. Put the suggested serving size that appears on the label on your plate before you start eating. This will help you see what one standard serving of a food looks like compared to how much you normally eat.

It may also help to compare serving sizes to everyday objects. For example, 1/4 cup of raisins is about the size of a large egg. Three ounces of meat or poultry is about the size of a deck of cards. See other serving size comparisons below. (Keep in mind that these size comparisons are approximations.)

Portion and food serving weight loss tools
A “portion” is how much food you choose to eat at one time, whether in a restaurant, from a package, or in your own kitchen. A “serving” size is the amount of food listed on a product’s Nutrition Facts. Sometimes, the portion size and serving size match; sometimes they do not. Keep in mind that the serving size on the Nutrition Facts is not a recommended amount of food to eat. It is a quick way of letting you know the calories and nutrients in a certain amount of food.

The portion size that you are used to eating may be equal to two or three standard servings. Take a look at the Nutrition Facts for macaroni and cheese. The serving size is 1 cup, but the package actually has 2 cups of this food product. If you eat the entire package, you are eating two servings of macaroni and cheese—and double the calories, fat, and other nutrients in a standard serving.

Serving Sizes  for Common Foods 
1 cup of cereal = a fist
1/2 cup of cooked rice, pasta, or potato = 1/2 baseball
1 baked potato = a fist
1 medium fruit = a baseball
1/2 cup of fresh fruit = 1/2 baseball
1 1/2 ounces of low-fat or fat-free cheese = 4 stacked dice
1/2 cup of ice cream = 1/2 baseball
2 tablespoons of peanut butter = a ping-pong ball


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