Calculating the Correct Portion Sizes for Weight Loss

Article Featured on Verywellfit

Understanding the right portion size for you is necessary for maintaining a healthy weight and a key ingredient to any successful weight-loss program. The simple truth is that many a good weight loss attempt has been undermined by our tendency to add “just a teensy bit more” if something looks good, believing that it either doesn’t matter or that we can somehow make up the difference elsewhere.

Irrespective of the type of diet you are on, identifying the correct portion size allows you to know exactly how many calories, carbs, sodium, or fats you are consuming. It is the cornerstone to building good eating habits, increasing your chances of not only losing weight but keeping it off.

Portion Size vs. Serving Size

Many of the problems related to portion size stem from misconceptions about what the term actually means. For example, if you use the Nutrition Facts label on a food product to direct your portion size, you may already be setting yourself up for error.

What you’ll find on the label is the serving size, a standard set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to describe “the amount of food customarily consumed in one sitting for that food.” It is simply used as a reference point to describe the amount of food in relation to the nutritional information shown.

Portion size is the amount of a specific food that you actually eat. It is often larger or smaller than the serving size on the nutrition label. If you confuse serving size with portion size, your calorie counts will likely be way off and may undermine your weight loss goals.

Let’s say, for example, that you regularly snack on low-calorie microwave popcorn. A serving size according to the Nutrition Facts label is 3 cups. There are two servings in each full-size bag. If you eat the whole bag, your portion size is 6 cups—double the serving size and double the nutrition values.

Similarly, the recommended serving size of grapes is 1 cup or roughly 16 grapes. Unless you count out the grapes, this “low-calorie” food can increase your carb intake well beyond your intended daily limit.

This is true even with respect to certain diet apps that base their calculations on FDA serving sizes. Unless you have the reference values and make the appropriate adjustments—inputting eight grapes as a half-portion or 20 grapes as a 1.25-portion—the app will be of little benefit to your weight loss strategy.

Calculating Portion Sizes

There is no right or wrong amount of specific food to eat when you want to lose weight. The proper portion sizes of food are the portions that allow you to fuel your body with energy and nutrients and feel satisfied. However, the ultimate aim of any weight loss plan is to consume fewer calories than your body utilizes to remain at your current weight. You need to do so without depriving yourself of important nutrients, including healthy fats and carbohydrates.

Unlike serving size, the portion size is calculated based on how many calories you plan to consume in a day. You would then plan your menus by calculating how much of a certain food you can eat to remain within that limit.

As such, portion sizes can vary as long as nutritional needs are met. These goals are outlined in the 2015 to 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

To determine your correct portion sizes, use a weight loss calculator to determine how many calories you need to consume daily to lose weight. The calculation is based on your age, sex, height, current weight, activity level, weight loss goal, and intended weight loss date.

Your goal would then be to strategically design menus around those dietary constraints, selecting not only the foods you can eat but how much you can eat. Those are your portion sizes. Oftentimes, it helps to work with a licensed nutritionist when first starting to ensure that the diet plan is not only safe but meets your daily nutritional goals.

Tips for Portion Control

Once you know how much to eat, you may need to take extra steps to ensure the portion sizes are accurate.

  • Use portion control dishes. To aid in your weight loss goal, invest in a set of portion-control plates, serving spoons, and beverage glasses. They can easily be found online or at larger retail department stores. The dishes often have clever designs that can help guide proper portion sizes.
  • Measure food on a scale. Throughout your diet (but especially at the beginning), it is helpful to use a digital scale to weigh your food accurately. Other methods are available if a scale is not handy.
  • Try smaller plates and bowls. Eating right out of a box or bag can make it nearly impossible to maintain portion sizes if you’re not paying attention. Instead, aim to portion out food onto a plate or bowl. Smaller dishes make your food look more substantial.
  • Count your condiments. Don’t make the mistake of thinking ketchup or a little extra hummus doesn’t matter when it comes to portion size. Measure these out as you would anything else. A heaping tablespoon of peanut butter, for example, may end up being two tablespoons, doubling your intake from 95 calories to 190 calories.

A Word From Verywell

There is no question that weight loss requires insight, preparation, and discipline. By establishing good habits from the start, you are more likely to reach your goals and keep the weight off for good without unneeded stress or anxiety.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Benefits of Exercising With Osteoarthritis

IF YOU’RE ONE OF THE more than 30 million Americans who, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have osteoarthritis – the degenerative wear and tear and most common form of arthritis – you might be reticent to exercise.

“Joint pain can accompany osteoarthritis, so people assume that movement will worsen the condition,” says Katrina Pilkington, a Nevada-based National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist.

However, lack of exercise can actually increase joint stress and degeneration. Meanwhile, regular exercise can not only ease symptoms, but actually slow progression of the joint disease, according to a 2018 review published in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation.

Here are five science-backed ways that exercise improves the symptoms and progression of osteoarthritis:

  • Lubricating joints.
  • Replacing damaged cells with new, healthy ones.
  • Strengthening muscles.
  • Reducing excess body weight.
  • Relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Learn more about the benefits of exercising with osteoarthritis.

Lubricating Joints

A soft tissue called synovial membrane surrounds your joints and produces a fluid that acts like gear oil for your joints. This synovial fluid reduces friction to prevent further damage to the cartilage and bone – and exercise stimulates its production, Pilkington explains. Plus, by increasing the flow of oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to the synovial membrane, your joints are able to stay lubricated both during and between your workouts.

Synovial fluid also prevents the collection of inflammatory proteins within joints that can lead to osteoarthritis’ trademark pain, says physical therapist William Behrns, a board-certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

Replacing Damaged Cells With New, Healthy Ones

In osteoarthritis, cartilage wears down, degrades and stops cushioning the joints. However, a 2019 animal study published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine suggests that exercise stimulates cartilage autophagy, the process by which the body clears out and recycles old, damaged cells so that new ones can take their place.

Joint movement during exercise may also activate genes associated with cartilage rebuilding, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

Strengthening Muscles

Even if you’ve never considered yourself a bodybuilder, when it comes to managing osteoarthritis, there’s good reason to pick up some weights, says Chris Kolba, Ph.D., a physical therapist with the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Your muscles are in charge of both bracing the joints as well as absorbing shock when you walk, jog or do anything that involves impact.

“The stronger your muscles are, the more protected your joints will be,” Behrns says. That’s especially true of the knees and hip joints, which constantly support the weight of your entire body.

Reducing Body Weight

Maintaining a healthy body weight is important to making sure that those knees and hips aren’t under any excess stress.

“Joint stresses are directly related to the amount of weight placed on the joint during an activity,” Behrns says. “The less you weigh, the less joint stresses will exist.” He explains that every pound lost results in a four-fold decrease in stress placed on the knee.

If you’re already at a healthy body weight, you’re already enjoying this benefit and losing more weight is not advised.

Relieving Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety

One in five adults with arthritis suffers from anxiety, while depression symptoms occur twice as often in people with arthritis than in those without the disease, according to a 2018 analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pain, mobility limitations and side effects from pain and anti-inflammatory medications are leading reasons for an increase in depression and anxiety in men and women with arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

Exercise is an established method for treating mood disturbances and mental health disorders, and a 2003 analysis published in Exercise and Sport Science Reviews concluded that, “in osteoarthritis, the psychosocial benefits of exercise are as important as physiological improvements.”

 


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

3 Lifestyle Choices for Healthier Knees

3 Lifestyle Choices for Healthier Knees

Article Featured on Active Implants

The knee is one of the largest, most complex joints in the human body and the most common joint injured. While several common causes for knee pain exist, many lifestyle choices may reduce pain and postpone or eliminate the need for knee surgery in the future. Here are 3 tips for maintaining healthy knees and a healthier life:

Take care of your overall health

Taking better care of your physical and mental health will not only make for a happier and more fulfilled life, but can also improve the strength of your knees. Studies have shown that ailments such as back pain and depression have been linked to knee pain, so making even the simplest of changes like strengthening your core and losing weight can help stave off the prospect of knee surgery. Did you know losing 10 pounds relieves about 40 pounds of pressure on your knees?

Drink more water

Water is not only vital to healthy bones and skin, it is also vital to knee health. The cartilage in our knees is made up of mostly water – up to 80 percent when we’re properly hydrated. But as we get older, the water content gets lower, resulting in unhealthy cartilage and possibly degenerative joint disease. Lack of water can also lead to dehydration, which can drain your energy and make you tired. So drink up! The Institute of Medicine recommends an adequate intake is roughly about 13 cups of total beverages a day for men, and 9 cups of total beverages a day for women.

Keep moving

Knee cartilage depends on movement to stay healthy and heal. Aim to be active up to 30 minutes a day, five days a week doing any of your favorite knee-safe activities like walking, yoga, swimming or low-impact aerobics. Consider adding in knee exercises to your routine, such as marching, sit to stand/stand to sit, hamstring curls, heel raises and squats for added knee strengthening.

Even after making these healthy lifestyle choices, you may still experience knee pain or injury. If your pain gets to the point that you are unable to enjoy your favorite activities or if it affects your quality of life, it’s time to see a doctor to determine the cause of pain and choose a treatment plan that’s right for you.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Rotator Cuff and Shoulder Rehabilitation Exercises

Rotator Cuff and Shoulder Rehabilitation Exercises [PDF Handout]

To ensure that this program is safe and effective for you, it should be performed under your doctor’s supervision. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about which exercises will best help you meet your rehabilitation goals.

After an injury or surgery, an exercise conditioning program will help you return to daily activities and enjoy a more active, healthy lifestyle. Following a well-structured conditioning program will also help you return to sports and other recreational activities.

Click to view and download this handout.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

How to Exercise When You Work in Manual Labor

How to Exercise When You Work in Manual Labor

By Sara Lindberg | Article Featured on Verywellfit

When the end of the day rolls around, the last thing a lot of people want to do is head to the gym. With the stress of the day, both physically and mentally, still occupying your mind and body, it can be challenging to shift your attention to working out, especially if you’ve spent the day working a physically demanding job.

Read more

What May Cause Foot Pain After Running

What May Cause Foot Pain After Running

By Christine Luff| Featured on Verywellfit

Are you feeling post-run pain in your arch, top of foot, toes, heel, side of foot, toenails, or maybe more than one spot? Foot pain is a common ailment among runners and also one that can be confusing because the causes and treatments for the pain can vary widely.

Read more

How to Stay Active in Warm Weather

How to Stay Active in Warm Weather

Article Featured on American Heart Association

When the temperature goes up in the summer months, exercising outside can become challenging. Even heat-loving, sun-seeking exercisers can become overheated when the sun is beaming down in the heat of the day.

Read more

The Best Exercises for Spinal Cord Injury Survivors

The Best Exercises for Spinal Cord Injury Survivors

By Erin Jones | Article Featured on US News

AFTER A SPINAL CORD injury, it’s no surprise that life changes. Even daily tasks, like getting dressed in the morning, may become more difficult. Depending on a patient’s injury, however, certain exercises can help those with spinal cord injuries improve function and adapt to using a wheelchair.

Read more

Tailoring Exercise to Your Age

Tailoring Exercise to Your Age

By Len Canter | Article Featured on US News

Exercise is a great way to stay youthful and even turn back the clock on aging. If you’re new to exercise or simply want a fitness reboot, here are ideas by the decade.

In Your 20s: Experiment with different workouts to find what you enjoy. Make exercise a regular habit that you won’t want to give up, even when career and family make heavy demands on you.

In Your 30s: Short on time? Try three 15-minute walks spread throughout the day. To stay fit and retain muscle, do cardio just about every day and strength training two or three times a week. If you’re new to exercise, take classes or have a personal trainer create a program for you.

In Your 40s: Enhance your weekly routine by doing both low-intensity exercise, like yoga for stress relief and flexibility, and high-intensity workouts, like interval training or a spin or kettlebell class, to boost calorie burn and muscle elasticity. Expect longer recovery times after high-intensity workouts, so make sure to get enough sleep.

In Your 50s: Regular exercise remains a must, but ask your doctor for modifications if you have any chronic conditions. Varying your workouts or taking up a new sport will engage your brain as well as different muscles. Get in at least one or two high-intensity workouts a week and try to take active vacations that include favorite pastimes like biking, hiking or even walking tours.

In Your 60s and Beyond: Stay fit and strong to stay independent longer, and stay socially engaged by taking group classes. Stick with strength training, but consider using machines rather than free weights for more control. Water workouts may be easier on joints, too, especially if you have arthritis. But always keep moving. Try tai chi for flexibility and balance, and go dancing for fun and fitness.

More information

The American Council on Exercise has more, including nutrition and sleep requirements by decade.

Step-by-Step Exercises for a Stronger Back

Step-by-Step Exercises for a Stronger Back

By Len Canter | Article Featured on US News

Are you neglecting or even unaware of the muscles in your back? If so, you’re putting yourself at risk.

The trapezius is the diamond-shaped muscle that runs from neck to middle back and from shoulder to shoulder across the back. The latissimus dorsi — or “lats” — are the large back muscles that run from either side of the spine to your waist.

Here are two strength-training exercises that will help you develop these muscles for better upper body fitness.

Important: Start with a weight that allows you to complete at least eight reps with proper form, perhaps as low as 2-pound dumbbells. Build up to 10 to 15 reps for one complete set, and progress from one to three complete sets before increasing the weight. Never jerk the weights — controlled, steady movement is what brings results.

Standing dumbbell rows target the trapezius muscles as well as the upper arms and shoulders. Stand straight, feet shoulder-width apart, with a weight in each hand. Your elbows should be slightly bent, the dumbbells touching the fronts of your thighs, palms facing your body. As you exhale, use a slow, controlled movement to lift the weights straight up by bending the elbows up and out to bring the weights to shoulder level. Hold for a second, then inhale as you lower your arms to the starting position. Repeat.

Bent-over one-arm rows target the lats as well as the upper arms and shoulders. To work the right side first, stand to the right side of a bench. Place your left knee and left hand on it for support. Your back should be nearly parallel to the floor. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing inward. Using only your upper arm, bend at the elbow to lift the dumbbell straight up to your waist as you exhale. Hold for a second and then lower it with control as you inhale. Complete reps, then switch sides and repeat.

You can also do bent-over rows using both arms at once. Stand with feet about shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and, bending from the waist, bring your back to nearly parallel with the floor. Keeping arms close to your sides, bend the elbows to lift the weights, bringing them up to waist level. Hold for a second and then lower the weights with control as you inhale. Repeat.

More information

The American Council on Exercise has more on exercises targeting the back muscles.