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Lose the Freshman 15: Sizing up Serving Sizes

Happy Friday!  I hope you all had a great week and that your school work, diet, exercise, and anything else you are involved in are going well!  Things are pretty busy on my end, but I’m still doing my best to make time for exercise and relaxation.  You might try skipping your workouts or cutting them short in order to save time (I know, I’ve definitely considered it!)  Instead, try multitasking!  Bring your book or flashcards to the gym and read or study while you bike.  Or instead of lounging around when you watch TV, do your strength workout while you watch.  Even though it’s better to be 100% focused on one activity or the other, it’s better to multitask when you’re in a bind than to skip one of them completely.

Today when I was at the dining hall, my friend Amanda and I were curious as to how many ounces the bowls at the dining hall hold.  My guess was a cup, or 8 oz, but turns out they actually only hold 6 oz!  I found this fact to be extremely mindblowing because the bowls look like they hold so much more food than that.  I guess I have been overestimating how much food I have been consuming.  At first, I was like hey, at least it’s an overestimate and not an underestimate!  But then I realized that I probably have been underestimating the amount of food in other situations…  When you’re counting calories, it’s so hard to figure how much food is the correct serving size!

Here are some general guidelines for approximating how much food you’re eating, so you have a more accurate idea of the number of calories you are consuming:

  • 1 cup of raw vegetables, cereal, pasta, etc. = size of a baseball– If you can’t visualize how large a baseball is, then you can use the size of an average apple.
  • 1/2 cup berries, cooked vegetables = size of the bulb part of the lightbulb 
  • 3 ounces of beef, chicken, or other meat = size of a deck of cards
  • 3 ounces of fish = size of a checkbook
  • 3 ounces of tofu = size of a cassette tape
  • 1 ounce of cold cuts (deli turkey, ham, etc.) = size of a CD
  • 1 ounce of dried fruit = size of golf ball
  • 1 ounce of cheese = pair of dice
  • 2 tablespoons = size of a golf ball
  • 1 tablespoon = poker chip

If you still are having trouble visualizing and comparing the objects to the portions of your food, try using this method that only involves your hand!

Interesting conversion factor to note: 1/4 cup = 2 tablespoons (who knew?! I never would have guessed that)

It’s important to be able to judge how much food you are intaking because even if everything on your plate is considered healthy, you still need to control your portions in order to lose weight!

Anybody have any fun plans for the weekend?  Unfortunately, I will be spending tonight writing a paper for my religion class.  Tomorrow, however, there is this awesome all-you-can-eat (yikes!) lobster and steak party at my school.  It’s thrown by one of the frats here and should be a lot of fun!  I’ll have to plan my calories accordingly though!  Then on Sunday, I am going on another TYPO with a different professor, so I’ll have to remember my tips for eating healthy at restaurants!  There are so many temptations, it’s so hard to stay on track.  Just have to remember that one slip up cannot ruin your hard work, while one day of being healthy cannot make you lose weight– it takes time both ways.

Enjoy your weekend collegiettes!

To everybody in Boston and those affected by the tragedy, stay strong!  Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.


Nicole Yang is an Editorial Intern at Her Campus.  Before joining the team at HC, she previously was the Managing Editor of her college's weekly newspaper, The Amherst Student.  While at Amherst College, Nicole was also a tour guide and a member of the women's varsity squash team.  Her professional experience includes working as a Communications Intern for Comcast and Monster, and her work has been published by Fast Company, Fortune, and The Sports Quotient.  Follow her on Twitter.
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