Campus Life

Portion size, activity keys to weight loss

Weight loss is complex, but two key factors for successful weight loss strategies are correct portion size and physical activity.

Food portions have increased considerably over the past 30 years. Couple a portion size increase with a decrease in activity levels and it's no wonder Canadians are struggling to achieve a healthy weight.

Examples of proper-sized food portions can be found on Canada's Food Guide for Healthy Eating. For instance, one serving of cooked pasta is just 125 ml – a lot smaller than most people think. Try measuring your food portions for a day and comparing this to the serving sizes on the food guide and you'll get a clear picture of your personal nutrition plan and how many servings per day you're eating from each food group. If you're within the recommended number of servings per day then you're on track for a healthy weight. Unbalanced food groups usually lead to health or weight management problems.

Ways to 'eyeball' food portions

• 5 ml of oil is about the size of a stamp or a quarter

• One serving of fruit is about the size of a tennis ball (larger fruits usually equal two servings)

• 125 ml of pasta, fruit or vegetables is about the same size as a hockey puck

• 30 ml of peanut butter is about the size of a golf ball

To track your food intake and physical activity, visit the Dietitians of Canada website eat tracker at for an interactive tool that provides personal feedback.

For individual nutrition appointments, call the Health Centre (SU020) at 403-329-2484. All sessions are $20 for U of L students and employees.

Diane Britton is the registered dietitian for the University of Lethbridge