The Secrets of Success: Know How Much You're Eating

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Today we're launching a special 15-day series called "The Secrets of Success." When we were researching and writing our best-selling book, The Spark, we discovered 27 secrets of success that thousands of successful SparkPeople members have used to reach their goals, lose weight and keep it off. Some secrets--including these--are too good to keep to yourself.

We're sharing our 15 favorite secrets of success on the dailySpark and in our daily Best of SparkPeople emails from March 1-15.


Secret #1 Know how much you’re eating.

Members were often surprised by how much they had been eating once they began to use the nutrition tracker. And they were often confused by portion sizes at first. To solve this problem, 65 percent of all successful members measured their portions before they ate.

Ever measure a portion of pasta? I did, and I was surprised by how small one serving was. Turns out, I was eating three portions. Sure, it was whole-wheat pasta with homemade marinara, but calories are calories. It's fine to eat three portions if I budget the calories for them as part of a balanced meal. Now I choose a smaller pasta like penne or fusilli, which makes me feel like I'm eating more, and I measure portions before cooking. My waistline is happy, and I'm still enjoying the food I like. Measuring food is an easy way to stay on track and reach your weight-loss goals.

Are you eating more or less than you think? Find out!

Portion Distortion Quiz

The Portion Distortion Guide

What Does 300 Calories Really Look Like?

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For all 27 secrets and to learn how to fit them into your life, read "The Spark."


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Comments

This article gives the very simple key to successful weight loss Report
this is absolutely essential. i still go through phases where i convince myself that i can eyeball measurements...then i get a rude awakening when i actually pull out the measuring cups. Report
DELLMEL
I don't measure my food but I have cut my plate way back from where it use to be. I find that I can't eat as much as I use too. Thank God for his blessing. Report
LADYDEE54
I was surprised to find out that I wasn't that far off in my portions although I did go over in some areas and less in others. Now I am right on target since I measure everything I eat. Report
I find I do much better when I measure when I make my meal. This means pre-measuring a lot of things, the first time I thought about this I was like....are you kidding me that will take forever. Now I just find it is habit and one I actually enjoy because I know how much I am eating before making it, so I don't over eat. Report
What makes me laugh is the conversations I have with myself trying to deny the size of the portions when I am over my calories for the day! who am I kidding? I'm only lying to myself!! Report
I measure almost everything but had great difficulty with pancakes today especially when doing enough to feed all 5 of us. It made it tricky!! Report
I have the tracking down. Now if I could get regular exercise in the mix, Yeah! Report
It truly is amazing when you start writing down what you eat and measuring or weighing your food. No wonder I kept gaining weight! I bought a digital scale, and use it daily. It makes it so easy to measure out servings of meat especially. I also have a set of 1 cup and 1/2 cup measuing scoops (like big ladels or spoons), which work really well for measuing things like rice, chili, etc. I need to start using those for pasta too. The one thing I know I still have trouble with measuring and limiting myself is cheese!! I'm working on it.....sigh..... Report
This is definitely one of my secrets to success! Measure it and log it -- two things I must do to help me learn new, healthy eating habits. It's working for me, too! Report
NEED_TO_TRY
Ignorance is bliss...but after learning bite it, write it in WW, can no longer enter a plea of ignorance, going to have to go for glutton. Once I stopped and went back to old habits, that bliss has once again brought me to misery. Knowing what you eat each day is important, and reopened my eyes. I agree about the pasta, there has to be an easier way to measure. Report
ITCANBEDUN
When I started measuring my food and reading labels I was shocked at the amounts. Report
No food goes into my mouth unless it's measured, written down, with calories. Report
It really does make a big difference. And it does not take long before you can just look at something and know. At first it seems the recommended sizes seem really small, but after a while it becomes almost second nature. And it is ok to eat the larger portion, as long as you know how much you are eating so you can track it correctly. Report
I'm heading out to buy a scale right now. I've been measuring, but I don't own a scale to weigh. This seems really important. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Report
GAARAMA
Visuals are good too, seeing what a 300 calorie portion really looks like was an eye opener for me. I will continue to weigh and measure. Report
i just ordered the spark, i look forward to reading it and using it in my life, and if anyone has any advice for me on staying motivated, i would love to hear it... Report
ITCANBEDUN
I measure everything now and sometimes I don't eat the full serving because it is too much. Report
I weigh all my food and use the nutrition tracker everyday.. Report
I agree that this is an integral part of losing weight. I used to measure my portions, but now I eyeball it. I keep in mind what the actual serving portions look like and I track the foods I eat most days. Report
PAULINEZI
I do not understand the measuring process, can someone please assist me? Report
Pasta is the one food I am completely uncomfortable with regarding measuring. I can never tell if it's cooked or uncooked from the package or the nutrition tracker. I wish that it was more frequently measured by volume. Report
I've been using the nutrition tracker but need to start weighing and measuring portions, should make a huge difference! I'm sure I'm way off alot of times. Report
ALEXIAAG
I always measure my food. I also have a digital scale for measuring. I do believe this is one of the keys to success. Report
Yes, 95% of what I eat gets weighed or measured. Report
I record everything I eat and know exactly how much I'm eating....I plan out my meals and know each calorie before I actually take the bit...My husband teases me about even counting crackers... Report
The most effective result of tracking what I eat is AWARENESS. I am learning to PAY ATTENTION to what I am eating. That is actually 90% of the problem! Report
Using the food tracker, has been an eye opener for me. Report
I stopped using the nutritional counter for awhile and just did journaling. I wasnt losing so I went back to the counter and measuring my portions. Much better! I like how the tracker shows a graph of my progress. Report
KNELSO2
Measuring and weighing everything is important - for me, that's when I really started losing weight. People tend to undercalculate their calories when they don't track them. Report
STARSHINE67
I really know this helps..I just really hate to do it...I must discipline myself to track my eating every single day !!! Report
I didn't realize how important tracking foods is until I started doing it. It's definitely eye-opening when you see the actual calories. My weight loss was really slow until I started. Once I started tracking and paying more attention to what I put in my mouth the pounds started to come off. Everytime I slack up on tracking, my weight loss slacks. Report
The food tracker is definitely an eye-opener! Report
SUNNYDAYZ4ME
I rely on the Nutrition Tracker to keep me honest. I cannot function without it. And I enter everything that I put into my mouth...its amazing how it adds up...but at the same time...it makes you think twice about what you are consuming...thats where I usually make the healthier choice. I also like the fact that it tracks nutrients also. Report
The nutrition tracker is absolutely my #1 secret of success. No matter what I'm doing or how busy I am, I make sure to log my food (and drinks)...it keeps me on track and aware of just how much (or little) I am taking in. Report
THINMAMAWARD
I like monitoring my food portions because my eyes are bigger than my calories and that gets me in trouble. I also love the tracker because I am really trying to watch my saturated fat intake along with sodium and it really helps in comparison to some other programs I been on and their food trackers. Thanks Sparkpeople Report
KT-NICHOLS-13
Weighing and measuring food is always an eye opening experience. Doing that and logging my nutrition with SP really is key. Report
I am getting out all my measuring tools to get back to portions. I know that I have got away from the portions that I should be eating. One reason that my scale has started creaping up each week. Now I am going to get my kitchen ready to help with my weight loss. Report
Gotta remember to measure the pasta! Report
I have tracked in the past but have stopped but now reading this and take the quiz is going to make me track and measure out now this was great!! Report
It is amazing when you look at a serving size after measuring it compared to what you may eye ball as a serving size. I am more successful at weight loss when I weigh and measure my portions. Report
Thanks for the reminders. Report
This is so obviously the solution to my problems because it is so obviously what I have been doing wrong all these years! Report
I think this is definitely the #1 step to success! Report
JUHOEG
Eye opening Report
JCAL1003
I love reading all these testimonials! I just had hip replacement surgery 3 months ago and decided...FINALLY....that being over weight just doesnt make sense. My sister told me about SP and I havent looked back. The nutrition tracker has changed my life! I've lost 30 pounds since New Years Day, and the strange thing is I have been enjoying such pleasures like steak, pasta, bacon, eggs and potatos! It's all portions and I'm loving it. Of course my commitment to 30 minutes of cardio a day really excelled my weight loss, but I must say SP is the best!!!!!!!! Report
Ok this is number one, I was planning on reading about all five and seem only one is put up to read about....I went to LA weight...before coming here and learned to cut down on the size meat and everything I read agrees with the same size 3 0z..but it wasn 't the same as here ...you go in weight and out the door...ok where the friendiness...time to talk about this ...time to ask your questions--- here you can do all that.. lost more here than there...will be looking for the other four secrets for success. Report
Absolutely...I feel that I have portion control under control. And If I eat more I know that I must track 2-3 servings.This has helped my weight loss 110%....Thanks Report
Absolutely agree 100%! I have always eaten quite well, just too much. The tracker is my lifeline. When I am at home I measure most things or I have bowls and glasses with a mark that indicates the portion I'm shooting for. I think make pretty accurate measurements when eating out. Gourmet places are really the only ones with accurate portion sizes....most anywhere else is ridiculous! I order half portions when I can, or split with a friend. No wonder people are so big and have lost sight of portions! Report
I was shocked when I started measuring my portions. I was eating WAY more than what I needed. Report
 
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