Portion Size Control For Runners

Portion Size Control For Runners

The best way to reduce unwanted weight gain is by monitoring your food intake using the portion size control method, and by increasing your daily activity levels to at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. By motivating yourself and setting realistic targets to lower body weight (recommended 1lb-2lbs/week), perhaps target a race in the next 3-4 months and also introducing a healthier eating pattern, will contribute towards reaching your goals.

Balance of Nutrients

Each meal should include all macronutrients; protein, fat and carbohydrate. However, it is important to ensure that the amount of each nutrient is balanced for a number of reasons; too much fat will increase the amount of calories due to fat containing twice as many calories as protein and carbohydrate. In addition, it is essential that saturated fats (eg. some butters, visible fats on meat, cakes, high fat cheese) are kept to a minimum and a greater amount of healthier fats (found in seeds, nuts, oily fish) are consumed daily.  However, excess carbohydrate will be stored as fat if carbohydrate is consumed in large quantities. A balance of nutrients maintains a healthier body and lowers the risk of disease and illness.

To assist with weight loss and weight management, it is necessary to shift the nutrients to a more balanced amount and also by eating foods at certain times can aid weight loss. By consuming a smaller quantity of carbohydrates for your evening meal, a greater quantity of protein rich foods and healthier fats, will encourage the body to use your fat stores for energy. An example of a meal would be; peppered mackerel (healthy oils and protein) with a quarter mug of couscous or rice (carbohydrate), instead of half a mug and a bowl of stir fry vegetables or boiled vegetables (contains carbohydrate, a high fibre content and rich in vitamins and minerals). Alternative food options include; turkey, chicken, other fish or tofu.

Portion Guidelines

Weighing food on kitchen scales can be time consuming and impractical for many, an easy guide is using your palm as a measurement to control portion size. Foods such as; chicken, fish, turkey, need to fit within your palm size to be defined as a recommended portion size, if the food is larger than your palm, then the portion size is too generous.

Carbohydrate foods such as; rice, pasta, couscous, quiona should be measured rather than just being poured into a pan, as the quantity will generally be greater than a portion size. Using a mug will allow you to control your intake of carbohydrate, by measuring half a mug of uncooked carbohydrate counts as a portion.  A baked potato should fit into your palm size but a portion of baby sized potatoes, (approximately the size of an egg), 3 potatoes will equal a portion.

Fats should be monitored in your diet the same as carbohydrate and protein to ensure there is a balance of nutrients. Using a teaspoon for oils in stir fry or salads will count as a portion. Spreads (margarine, butters) and mayonnaise, choose the lower fat options, a guide of approximately a teaspoon equals a portion.

Increasing Satiety Levels

It has been scientifically proven that by consuming protein suppresses the appetite. By adding nuts (8-10 cashew nuts, almonds, walnuts)  to salads and cereal, also fish, eggs, salmon, chicken as part of your main meal or as a filling in a sandwich will provide a rich source of protein. Other protein options include; quorn, turkey, low fat cheese, all of which can be mixed with wholegrain rice or couscous or quiona.


Refined sugars found in confectionary, biscuits and cakes for example, need to be eaten in moderation. Refined sugars do not encourage a feeling of fullness and also these types of foods raise blood sugar levels dramatically then cause the blood sugar levels to drop. This can result in the body craving additional food which can cause an unbalance of nutrients and increase the number of calories consumed.  Choosing foods high in fibre will increase satiety levels due to high fibre foods having a low glycaemic index, meaning it is slow releasing which is related to increasing satiety levels. Foods such as; bran flakes, porridge, oatcakes, wholegrain rice, wholegrain pasta, vegetables and some fruits (bananas) are all rich sources of fibre.

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