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Yesterday’s discussion on PETA sure got interesting, huh?  I’d venture to say it’s the best comments discussion ever on Healthy Tipping Point!  I really love it when people can have differing opinions without getting all nasty.  If I didn’t hear other people’s opinions, I would never learn anything new!  So thanks. :) 


By the way, the pie-thrower was charged with the lowest degree of assault.  Told you it was assault!




I had a banana and a serving of Pumpkin Yogurt with 1/2 cup of Harvest granola.


I say “1/2 cup of Harvest granola” because I think I’m going to get more specific about serving sizes.  After years of calorie-counting, I now eat intuitively (i.e. I do not measure portions, I just eye ball it, and I do not calorie-count, I just stop eating when I’m full).  But here’s why I’m going to be more upfront about serving sizes on the blog from here on out:


Like a lot of food/fitness bloggers, I hesitate to discuss weight and gains/losses on the blog because I know a variety of people read, and some of these people are suffering from an eating disorder.   My very limited understanding of treatment programs is that focusing on numbers is generally frowned upon.  But, I don’t like to totally ignore the issue because I also know some of you are just into health and fitness and might be looking for ways to  healthily maintain/lose/gain weight.  I try really, really hard to be sensitive to both groups of people.  


You might have missed it, but I said on Saturday morning that I’ve put on a few pounds post-marathon.  Meaning, my pants don’t fit anymore.  Check out this post for the details.  One of the ways I was going to get back down to my normal weight was to pay closer attention to portions (I suspected I was eating ‘marathon-sized portions’).  I was SO surprised to read a few comments from people who thought my portions were too SMALL! 


That’s when I realized that it’s really hard to tell portion sizes in pictures.  My serving of pasta that night looked like one serving, but it was really more like 1.5 to 2.  So, I’m going to make an effort to specify serving sizes because the last thing I want is anyone – whether in recovery or just trying to maintain a healthy weight – to think I undereat (this definitely not the case – as I said, I don’t calorie count, but if you’re curious, I was eating anywhere from 1,800 to 3,000 calories a day during training. I am an athlete, and I eat like one!). 


This morning, I poured what I thought was a “normal” portion of granola into a bowl.  1/2 cup = 240 calories.


After pouring into the bowl, I poured it BACK into a measuring cup and discovered I had actually poured 2 servings (or 480 calories).  I normally eat pumpkin yogurt for a mid-afternoon snack.  I was eating a 600-calorie mid-afternoon snack everyday during marathon training; but I clearly needed it as I maintained my weight throughout training.  But right now… not so much.  :)  Once I get into Century training, things will change again!  Your eating has to change with your activity level!


Anyway, that is my long-winded way of saying you might see more serving sizes on the blog.  This is more for general information purposes than anything else.  I hope it doesn’t bother anyone.  I will never calorie count again, but I also think serving sizes are a good way to help me get back to intuitively eating (instead of frantically stuffing my face throughout marathon training to eat back 1,000s of calories!!).




Off to yoga class.  I’m taking the morning off from work in favor of pulling a later night writing sesh. 



  • Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete January 26, 2010, 8:17 am

    I don’t judge you all for putting this up. You are simply being sensible! I think that it is important to be aware of what you put into your mouth! Once you measure out your granola a few times, you won’t have to do it anymore b/c you will have an idea of how much is 1/2 cup. 😉

    • Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete January 26, 2010, 8:22 am

      I also think that knowing how much you are eating is part of being an athlete. You need to eat healthy so you can succeed and get the times that you want. Any extra poundage that is not muscle will slow you down b/c it isn’t working directly for you.

  • Amy Reinink January 26, 2010, 8:18 am

    Thanks for a helpful and honest post about something athletes and healthy eaters ESPECIALLY struggle with: portion sizes. I, too, have learned that even though I run and swim a lot, and even though I eat mostly whole foods, with lots of fruits and veggies, it STILL isn’t healthy for me to eat absurdly large portions of healthy foods.

  • Jennie {in Wonderland} January 26, 2010, 8:19 am

    I’ve always thought your portions looked small. But it’s true – it’s really hard to tell through pictures. Not to mention, I think our view of what is ‘small’ or ‘large’ is skewed anyway.

    I try to eyeball portions, but I’m not very good at it. I don’t measure out veggies or fruit, but I do portion and weigh pasta, oil, grains – really calorie dense stuff. It just makes me feel better and I always feel satisfied with the smaller portion. For instance, last night, I made Gina’s Sweet Potato Hash, and I didn’t measure out the sweet potato. I ended up leaving 1/4 of the meal on the plate because I was so full. If I had measured it correctly, I wouldn’t have wasted food. So I think portioning things out really works for me and stops me from being wasteful, which I hate to be!

  • megan January 26, 2010, 8:26 am

    I do the same sort of thing. I just got a small kitchen scale for Christmas (for bread baking), but I’ve used it a few times to measure out granola or other high calorie things that it’s easy to overeat on. sometimes it’s just nice to remind yourself what a normal portion really is. it’s easy for me to keep upping my portion little by little just because i like the food so much (e.g. granola), and not realize how much I’m really eating

  • Jessica @ How Sweet January 26, 2010, 8:31 am

    I think it is awesome you are being so honest about it! What I do wonder is – since you are starting some vigorous training for the tri, specifically 2-3 workouts some days, do you really think its best to cut back on portions right now? I would think the weight will come off as your training increases within a few weeks! Not by any means judging, just trying to look out for you. 🙂 You have some really intense training going on and it is so important to fuel your body for those needs!

    • Caitlin January 26, 2010, 8:32 am

      Haha I knew someone would ask this.

      At this point in tri training, it LOOKS like I’m working out a lot because I’m doing two different activities, but I’m not really. Like on Sunday when I ran + swam, I only actually did 30 minutes of cardio. Once I start stepping up my cardio more seriously, I will increase my serving sizes as appropriate.

      • Jessica @ How Sweet January 26, 2010, 8:35 am

        Gotcha!! Didn’t mean to stir the pot. 🙂 I had no idea it was such a short amount of time right now. I think we hear ‘tri training’ and think you are running, swimming and biking for 6 hours a day!

        • Caitlin January 26, 2010, 8:36 am

          That was a legit comment! Thanks for bringing it up.

  • Carly January 26, 2010, 8:33 am

    I am glad you are addressing this. I’m one of those people who sometimes think the portion sizes are too small, not just on your blog, but on several others. However, I think the camera plays a huge role in that; also, I’m sometimes surprised at what an actual portion size is (like you were saying w/ the cereal)! I think knowing how much are you eating is just as important of being mindful of what you put in your mouth.

  • Shannon (The Daily Balance) January 26, 2010, 8:35 am

    such a great reminder to be mindful 😉

    speaking of yoga, you must check out my blog for yoga week! giveaways everyday — yesterday — mat, today — bag, tomorrow — ?

    Have a great day, hun!

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg January 26, 2010, 8:36 am

    I completely agree with you– it’s really hard to figure out how “big or small” a portion size is just from a blog picture. Just like it’s hard to tell how tall someone is (which would also influence how much they’re eating)–I like getting that information!

    • Caitlin January 26, 2010, 8:37 am

      I am only like 5 ft 3. 🙂

      • Paige (Running Around Normal) January 26, 2010, 10:30 am

        Yep see this totally makes a difference. I’m 5’10, so my portions are larger – but my body requires more food!

  • Ashley January 26, 2010, 8:36 am

    Serving sizes are so important. You’re right — it’s very difficult to tell exactly how much someone is eating on a blog. Kudos to you for making the effort to keep everything as accurate as you can.

  • Megan (The Runner's Kitchen) January 26, 2010, 8:37 am

    I run a lot, so I need to eat a lot, but I agree that portion sizes are sometimes SO difficult to figure out. Especially ice cream…Once I measured the amount that I normally scoop out of the container. It was 3+ portions!

  • Susan January 26, 2010, 8:38 am

    I totally think portion sizes get distorted in pictures!! I see it on my own, and other blogs. I personally NEED to measure and weigh a lot of things. I was chubby back in the day because I ate gigantic portions. I’m talking like 2+ cups of granola in one sitting. Obviously, I know better than that now, but it’s also way easy for me to serve myself more than I intend to without realizing it. I don’t care if measuring out my peanut butter is “obsessive.” It’s how I personally maintain my weight loss, and I much rather scoop my nut butter out with a tablespoon than feel the way I did pre-weight loss 🙁

  • Gracie @ Girl Meets Health January 26, 2010, 8:39 am

    Meghann posted something similar yesterday about how discussing weight on blogs has become a “taboo” issue of sorts, so I’ll give you the same-ish comment I gave her =) I am one of those people that is trying to *healthily* maintain my weight. And to do so, I do have to monitor my portions and a general idea of my calorie consumption. Like you said – addressing these issues in a healthy way is almost like a responsibility of sorts for healthy living bloggers. We live in a society where weight loss is a top priority, yet the majority of the ways we’re told to achieve that are unhealthy.

    I actually just found out yesterday that I’m going on 2 (beach) vacations in March. So you know what? I’m going to try to drop a pound or two and tone up. Does that mean I’ll have to pay closer attention to portions? Sure does. Does it mean I have to become obsessive? Not at all! And following blogs like yours and Tina’s (with her Lose the Dough plan ;)) has been helpful in that sense. So thanks for this post =)

  • Marissa January 26, 2010, 8:40 am

    that is so true how pictures are misleading!

  • Karla January 26, 2010, 8:40 am

    Thanks for posting this. I didn’t think your portions looked that small. I’ve read plenty of other blogs whose portions look teeny tiny!
    I think looking at serving sizes can be very useful not only for caloric intake but for saving money. Even when I wasn’t counting calories, I measured my yogurt and cottage cheese (easy to do with a food scale) and stuff because I wanted to to last longer 🙂

    • Caitlin January 26, 2010, 8:41 am

      Pumpkin Yogurt is a great way to make Greek yogurt ($$$$) last longer!

  • Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) January 26, 2010, 8:44 am

    I really enjoy knowing what the true portions are because looks are definitely deceiving. It’s helpful to have a visual guide.

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) January 26, 2010, 8:52 am

    Holy crap!!! You were eating a whole cup of granola!! You must love that stuff 🙂

  • Morgan @ Life After Bagels January 26, 2010, 8:54 am

    hmm if I had to think about my portion sizes I’m SURE I’m eating to much. I wonder how many portions the 5 pieces of pizza I ate last night were?!?!?

  • Andee (LAEasyMeals) January 26, 2010, 8:54 am

    Thanks for this post! You are totally right, after the Goofy Challenge, I feel I am still eating like I used to when I was training. I think it also takes some time for the body to re-adjust itself when you are not training and eat normal portions.

  • Holly January 26, 2010, 8:55 am

    Big fan of adding approximate portion sizes- it is definitely difficult to tell how large or small a dish is by the pics and I do look to blogs as examples of how I should eat and live healthfully.

  • Jenna January 26, 2010, 8:55 am

    No shame in reminding yourself what a true portion is, especially with foods that pack a lot of calories in small amounts. I usually measure granola for that reason. And from time to time, measure about my nut butter so I don’t eat 2 or 3 servings, lol.

  • katherine January 26, 2010, 9:05 am

    I think it’s wonderful that you wrote about this and I appreciate your willingness to expose your meal portions and concerns surrounding them. I have never, and will never, judge a writer for how much/little she eats but I think including portion sizes can help readers get a better sense of what a healthy portion should be. Thank you!

  • Jessica @ Jessica Balances January 26, 2010, 9:08 am

    I respect your attitude about losing weight and the way you discuss it on the blog. Like you, I am also very short (5 ft 2 and a half!) and annnyyy extra pounds show immediately. It’s just how it is. And when I see myself gaining some lbs, I start paying attention to my portion sizes. It’s a healthy solution and doesn’t make you obsessive!

  • Jacquie January 26, 2010, 9:11 am

    I think you found a great balance to address your weight but not call attention to it or focus on numbers. I feel people who are dieting or have one eating disorder or another only focus on a number- a number on the scale, the number of calories in and out, the number of whatever. It’s a focus. By not counting calories, but focusing on sizes, its watching, but focusing simply the size good for your body.
    When I was recovering, I had to get rid of the numbers so my therapist and nutritionist focused on food groups and sizes which helped me transition to intuitive eating. There are definitely times that I still measure, but its more because I know I can eat more of something than I really need (like almond butter) heheh!
    Thank you for your wonderful and thoughtful post 🙂

  • Rachel January 26, 2010, 9:12 am

    I think it’s great that you’re going to be posting your portion sizes now. You’re right — the portions of food in pictures does not always measure up to what it looks like (haha, I’m so corny).

    I understand why you’re a bit hesitant to post actual numbers. I’ve been confused for awhile on the whole “weight taboo” thing, but I hadn’t thought about readers with eating disorders reading & being triggered by the focus on numbers. Apart from that, I still think it shouldn’t be such a big deal. Part of me thinks if I had an eating disorder, just looking at so many pictures of food would in itself be problematic, but I don’t so I can’t really give my opinion on that. Anyone, I get that it’s a personal choice, and I respect you for giving a little more information about why this taboo exists.

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite January 26, 2010, 9:13 am

    Hi Caitlin, it’s great that you’re bringing this up! Portion sizes are very personal. Everyone’s body is different. Their metobolism is different. I’m 5ft 2inches and eat small portions, but that’s my body. I know my body and my metobolism. I have friends who are my height and can eat larger portions and stay thinner. That’s their body and their metabolism. It’s easy to judge people by their portions, but really, we shouldn’t.

    Great post 🙂

  • Danielle (Coffee Run) January 26, 2010, 9:14 am

    I think measuring out portions every once in a while is good. Sometimes living in our society (or training for a marathon) can really skew things!

  • Katie January 26, 2010, 9:14 am

    this is a cool visual collection of what 200 calories looks like for different foods: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-does-200-calories-look-like.htm

    why anyone would ever need to know what 200 calories of splenda looks like, i do not know.

  • Jenny January 26, 2010, 9:18 am

    Thanks for the reminder to watch portion sizes, Caitlin. This has always been a struggle for me. Let’s be honest. I love to eat and I have NO PATIENCE for measuring. I have a keen eye for measurement when I’m doing a craft project or whatever, but when it comes to food? 1/2 a cup easily becomes 1 and then it’s out of control because my body thinks…ooo! I’m supposed to get this much!

    I’ll be joining you in the portion control. I’m glad you posted this! It’ll be interesting to see how to adjust your portions according to you training. Have a good day!

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat January 26, 2010, 9:19 am

    I have a hard time in the past adjusting between training and “regular life” so hearing that someone else has done that too is comforting. Portion control works the best for me so I’ve been practicing that more lately. 🙂

  • Laura Georgina January 26, 2010, 9:22 am

    I’m really glad that you’ve addressed this! It’s really important for both athletes/health conscious folks AND people recovering from eating disorders to understand what a portion looks like so they can make informed food intake decisions. By focusing on portion sizes as specified on containers of stuff you’re giving a really good, objective view.

    Oh, and I want your bowls (especially that maple-leaf one)!! And can pretty bowls be classified as blog-related expenses??

    • Caitlin January 26, 2010, 1:13 pm

      Yes, definitely. 🙂 Bowls are very important!

      • Laura Georgina January 26, 2010, 1:19 pm

        Now printing and pasting to fridge to justify trip to sexy kitchenware store!

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday January 26, 2010, 9:22 am

    I have this same problem with PEANUT BUTTER!! I love it so much and eat it out of the jar, but I always eat more than I should be.
    I actually mention it in my most recent blog post, which will be up later today.

  • Katie@ Two Lives, One Lifestyle January 26, 2010, 9:24 am

    When I started reading blogs I thought everyone was eating such tiny amount but once I started my own, I realized how hard it “see” the size in a picture. I think measuring your portions is a reasonable idea- you aren’t restricting yourself in any way, just remembering what a portion looks like after months of training and giving your body what it needed!

  • Kristi January 26, 2010, 9:25 am

    Thanks for sharing your portion amounts – I normally don’t measure what I eat but when I do I’ll find that I’m eating at least 2 portions of things I love, usually cereal and yogurt.

  • RhodeyGirl January 26, 2010, 9:25 am

    I always measure portions at home. PB laughs at me, but it helps me keep portions in check. I love my food scale!

    • Hallie January 26, 2010, 2:17 pm

      My boyfriend laughs when I pull out the food scale. Oh boys…

  • MelissaNibbles January 26, 2010, 9:26 am

    I think your photos are beautiful. You’ve done a great job figuring out how to work that camera.
    People might want to see a nutritionist if they’re having trouble figuring out what true portion sizes are rather than trying to emulate what they see on a computer screen.
    You can’t please everyone 🙂

  • Jenny January 26, 2010, 9:29 am

    I think you do an awesome job of “catering” to a wide variety of readers, Caitlin. I appreciate all of your posts and thoughts!

    I will always consider myself in recovery from an eating disorder, and I just wanted to say that yes, numbers can be very triggering for unhealthy behavior and cause many ED sufferers to become obsessive. However, I’ve realized that if hearing and reading those numbers bothers me, I can either choose to ignore them, not read the post, or rethink “where I am” recovery-wise. If numbers bother me too much, I know there is a bigger issue at hand. It’s definitely a struggle in the blog community to post about sensitive issues, and I know that personally, I worry about how some readers will take my posts.

    I just wanted to give you some insight, but again, I think you do a great job, and I hope you continue to post anything and everything you feel is relevant and helpful to readers! 🙂

    • Caitlin January 26, 2010, 1:14 pm

      I think you are really aware of yourself, and that must help you so much with recovery. I’m always so proud of you, Jenn!

  • Kristen January 26, 2010, 9:34 am

    This post is so timely for me right now. I just finished nursing my baby after 9 months. I have gained 5 lbs in a month from eating the same amount as I did while nursing! I also am a granola addict and probably putting way too much on my yogurt. Thanks for the tips!

  • Lindsey @ Eat, Read, Run January 26, 2010, 9:36 am

    I’m pretty sure I always eat way more than 1 serving at every meal. One serving just seems so small to me. I should actually start checking the serving sizes to see. Although. I just started my spring marathon training – so maybe two servings is actually okay at this point. 😉

  • Kelly January 26, 2010, 9:38 am

    Greatly appreciate the approx/loosely reported serving sizes…it really IS hard to tell how much someone is eating when they photograph and post their food! (bowls/plates are different sizes, etc)

  • Lindsay Perrone (goodiesgalore) January 26, 2010, 9:38 am

    Last night I ate a gigantic cupcake and it looked mini on my blog. But yeah do what you gotta do with the portion sizes. I definitely need to be more aware of that.

  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie January 26, 2010, 9:39 am

    photos definitely do skew the portions. They definitely look smaller that in real life. Do what you need to do to be what you need to be. Good luck!

  • Jenny @ nutmegger January 26, 2010, 9:45 am

    I totally agree that sometimes you think you are having a normal portion but in reality its waaaay more than you need/want for whatever reason (weight maintainance/loss/gain). i think this will be a great addition to the blog!

  • Maya January 26, 2010, 9:51 am

    Sometimes I measure too just to be aware of portions. Usually when it comes to things like cereal I weigh it because it’s easy to accidentally go overboard with measuring cups, especially with large cereal pieces like shredded wheat.

  • Neely January 26, 2010, 9:54 am

    This is why I don’t buy granola… I love it, but like to eat volume. When I eat granola I literally probably pour in over 4 servings. I can’t see eating just a serving. It seems so dinky.

    • Shelly January 26, 2010, 9:57 am

      That’s why I mix it with other stuff- like yogurt and fruit (instead of plain or with milk). Then you get more volume overall, and you get the crunch of the granola in each bite without eating a ton of it.

  • michelle January 26, 2010, 9:55 am

    It’s important to note serving sizes because the vitamins and nutrients found in the food are in relation to serving sizes. If you aren’t paying attention you could be getting much less than what your body needs or more of the wrong things. Balance is key- part of balance is being hoenst with what you are putting in your body -amounts and all. Part of balance is awareness. It’s all about balance. 🙂

  • Shelly January 26, 2010, 9:55 am

    I don’t pay attention to all of my portion sizes, but I always measure out my granola. I love it and have it for breakfast with yogurt and fruit almost every morning, but it is definitely calorically dense!
    I make sure I only eat a single serving of stuff like cheese and crackers or store bought juice, or frozen waffles too.
    When I want to lose weight, I get a little more strict with my portion control, but I also substitute lower calorie stuff- like Kashi for granola, and 0% greek yogurt for 2%. I also stop drinking a glass of wine on weeknights and try to avoid sweets after dinner as well. A cup of herbal or decaf tea in the evenings is my salvation for this reason. I still get a treat- just a lower calorie one. 🙂

  • Jenna January 26, 2010, 9:56 am

    I like how you don’t focus on weight and numbers as it might be triggering!
    I like the way you blog and I hope you continue to Leto doing what you are doing!
    I think it is a great idea to not calorie count and focus
    more on portion sizes! Keep it up Caitlin 🙂

  • Gwen January 26, 2010, 9:57 am

    I love that you talked about measured portions! I tend to be an excessive person. Example – I know the speed limit, but I have a little bit of a lead foot, so I usually go 5 to 10 miles over probably without thinking about it. Same with food, I know that a portion is a half cup, but being a little heavy handed, it is easy for half to become a full cup without much thought. I have been doing WW for nearly five years and weighing and measuring simply are a part of my life now, even though I could probably pour a “real” portion of most foods if I tried, simply out of habbit!. Measuring is a way to hold myself accountable. I’m excited that you are going to share some more of this!

  • Lara January 26, 2010, 10:12 am

    I personally measure out a lot of foods. It is so easy to guesstimate wrong and it really all does come down to portion sizes. If someone can lose/maintain without measuring more power to them but doesnt work for me. I once gained 10 lbs eating all very healthy foods–just too much of them.

  • Haleigh January 26, 2010, 10:18 am

    I think that taking portion control into consideration is a great way for any one trying to lose/gain/maintain their size. Portion control isn’t calorie counting, and I think it is much better to focus on portion sizes than all the crazy calorie numbers. Keep it up girl! 🙂

  • Heather (The Single Dish) January 26, 2010, 10:18 am

    I lost a lot of weight by getting my portions back in check, it is amazing to see how much smaller actual portions are. One thing that I still measure is pasta, I can eat a lot more than I should so I measure it out not to over eat.

  • Jo January 26, 2010, 10:23 am

    Yes! please list portion sizes. It is very helpful.

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) January 26, 2010, 10:26 am

    I can definitely see why you’d need to tip toe around this issue. But this is a healthy living blog, and portion sizes have to do with healthy living. However, I haven’t ever noticed that your portions have been to big…at all! That said, different bodies need different amounts of food, and it’s all subjective. For me, the minute I start actively focus on slashing my portion sizes, I think about it too much and it leads to obsessive thinking. Kinda sucks, but I do better eyeing out my portion sizes instead of measuring them (except for while cooking and baking, of course:))
    Bottom line – you know your body better than any of us do, obviously 🙂

    • Paige (Running Around Normal) January 26, 2010, 10:28 am

      I do agree, though, with needing to eat more depending on your activity level! Then it might be a little more necessary to know how much you’re eating.

  • Kristen January 26, 2010, 10:27 am

    As much as I don’t believe in counting calories, I think every once in awhile it is good to re-train yourself on what a portion size actually is. I am always surprised!

  • Meredith January 26, 2010, 10:32 am

    I always appreciate how honest you are while still being sensitive to your readers. It’s obvious that you put a lot of thought into your always articulate posts!

    I’ve been measuring my cereal for at least 6 years now so that I don’t have to worry about over-eating it. When I buy cereal I empty it into a plastic tub right away and keep my measuring cup in there. It’s an easy way to control how much I eat while transporting it into my bowl!

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers January 26, 2010, 10:32 am

    I think it’s funny the pie thrower was charged with assault. And I think it’s good that you point out your calories need to change with your activity level–so true!

  • Teacherwoman January 26, 2010, 10:36 am

    I agree. It is hard to tell the portion sizes from the photos, unless compared to something. Thanks for doing this… I think this will help me pay more attention to portion sizes and how much I am really eating.

  • Katharine January 26, 2010, 10:41 am

    It’s so easy to “over serve” when it comes to portion sizes. While I agree it’s not necessary to always measure exactly, it’s good to check-in every once in a while to make sure you’re eating the appropriate amount for your activity level. Love this post! Well said, Caitlin. 🙂

  • Tracey @ TropicalHappiness January 26, 2010, 10:43 am

    I think portion sizes are a huge factor in a lot of people’s daily food intake. Most people don’t realize that a serving size is usually pretty small. Restaurants often serve 3, 4 or 5 times as much food as a single serving. People equate this with value for their money, but don’t realize all of the extra calories. Same thing applies at home.
    I think as long as you don’t become obsessive (which you’re not), it’s VERY important to pay attention to portion size.
    Also, I don’t think people should jump to judge you. You should do whatever you think is right for your body. And you can’t really accurately judge portion sizes in photos, unless you always include a particular item (like a dollar bill) for size reference. So I think it’s great that you are opening up the dialog, but continuing to do what is best for you.

  • Katie @ Health for the Whole Self January 26, 2010, 10:43 am

    I think that your decision to share more portion sizes with your readers is a good one. You are doing the right thing by discussing it openly up front (in order to give a fair “heads up” to anyone with eating problems/issues that might be triggered by it). But really, the key to maintaining a healthy weight for life is all about portion sizes – proper portions are what make the phrase “everything in moderation” a healthy reality! For those of us striving for balance, knowing portion sizes is really helpful.

  • Amber K January 26, 2010, 10:45 am

    Even when I am not counting the actual calories I’m eating, I still measure most of my food. Otherwise it is entirely too easy for me to fill up bowls and cups with what I think looks like a good amount. However, I’ve tested myself by measuring after and I always am eating more than I think I am, and more than I need.

  • Kellie January 26, 2010, 10:48 am

    Thank you for sharing your portions. I am one of those people who measure out everything on a food scale. (sounds obsessive, but I think it is fun). I was also one of those people who thought you ate too little, but maybe the camera does trick the eye.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) January 26, 2010, 10:49 am

    i’m glad you’re posting more serving sizes…one, it helps with consistency for you and for us, and it also gives a more realistic viewpoint of what a real meal should look like! i love your honesty on here 🙂

  • Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) January 26, 2010, 10:51 am

    That’s an awesome idea and a great way to show readers how easy it is to eat HUGE portions. I poured myself my “normal” amount of granola and then measured after…it was amazing. I was eating 1.5 servings easy. So we had a similar experience for sure!

  • PippaPatchwork January 26, 2010, 11:02 am

    It looks to me like you eat a very balanced, plentiful diet. It must be hard to have every meal on display, especially since we all eat more/less at certain times depending on the circumstances. Don’t let any outside judgment get to you. You look happy and healthy and that’s what matters!

  • Kerry @ Running on Faith January 26, 2010, 11:02 am

    This is something that I, too, have slipped up on since finishing training. Measuring things out is a good way to just get things under control so you have a better idea. After measuring a bit, then you put your self back into check! When I did WW points, that’s the BIGGEST thing I walked away with – healthy portions.

  • John January 26, 2010, 11:04 am

    For someone like me trying to lose weight I enjoy seeing proper serving size as I’m trying to get away from obviously eating way too much. So that will be more help when I follow you “foodies” for new meal ideas.

  • Evan Thomas January 26, 2010, 11:07 am

    If it’s really a care to you, I would suggest investing in a food scale. It’s even more accurate than “cup”. I have one and use it for virtually everything. And it’s a saint when baking, because 1/3 cup of sugar never comes out the same amount

  • Joanne January 26, 2010, 11:11 am

    I’ve been reading about post marathon weight gain. Maybe because eating becomes a habit at certain times of the day and not just when we feel hungry.

    Calories mean energy. It’s the fat and the sugar in the product that are the culprits (at least that’s what I understand). By determining the percentage of Carbs – Proteins – fats and staying within those limits, I think that is a great way to eat sensibly (e.g. 40 prot-30 carbs-30 fats or whatever).

  • Theresa January 26, 2010, 11:28 am

    I typically only measure things that I tend to overeat (i.e. cereal, tortilla chips, M&Ms, orange juice) and eyeball the rest. If I measure everything or count calories I drive myself crazy & eventually give up completely and fall off the wagon by overeating and snacking like a madwoman. That’s when the weight piles back on. Selectively measuring/counting has helped me lose 10 lbs in just over 3 months, which seems slow to me, but it’s staying off this time (rather than losing it in a matter of weeks and gaining it back as soon as I’m done “dieting”/counting/measuring).
    Also – just tried your pumpkin yogurt recipe – that stuff ROCKS! Even my ultra-picky husband loves it!

  • tiffnie January 26, 2010, 11:31 am

    Hello, I’m a new reader and I must say, I love your blog! Your candor is simultaneously refreshing and inspiring. I’m glad you wrote this post because to be honest, it does seem like you eat very little (even though you’re much taller than me!). I try to calorie count, but it’s hard when I don’t have an intuitive understanding of portion sizes, especially for small yet densely caloric foods (e.g., nuts). It’s so easy to be obsessed with calories and numbers, which is why I like your approach–manage your portions and stop eating when you’re full.

    Anyway, I can’t tell that you’ve gained weight from your pictures, but I’m glad you’re settling into a routine that makes you happy and is clearly healthy 🙂

  • ellie January 26, 2010, 11:31 am

    I think portion sizes are important. I also think that if readers are triggered due to their eating disorder, that is their responsibility, not yours. I have an eating disorder and it doesn’t bother me at ALL, unless portion sizes are obsessed over or ridiculously small, but still…who am I to judge? I feel bad that bloggers feel a need to protect their readers just in case they trigger them…at the end of the day, anyone reading food blogs is opening themselves up to be triggered by topics that are BOUND to come up. Because life is like that, you know? (for what it’s worth, every treatment center I have been in has measured portions…eating a healthy amount involves education about reasonably sized meals whatever point you are coming from, whether it’s under OR overeating).

  • skinnyrunner January 26, 2010, 11:32 am

    i love how you put “delicate” subjects like weight and calorie counting, sensitive to everyone but to the point too. always a healthy perspective!

  • Gabriela January 26, 2010, 11:36 am

    You make such a good point here! I’m very active, too, but I’ve found that I prefer to have normal sized portions of a variety of foods than a massive portion of one. I’ve had people remark that my portions are small, but I usually just stick to what the package says and eat it with a portion of many other things!

  • Heather January 26, 2010, 11:39 am

    That is exactly what I have been going through lately. While running much more frequently, I needed to eat more but now that I am not training for anything at the moment (still working out but doing less running and more weights) my meals have not changed. I also started measuring my portions again and am starting to get reacquainted with servings (ie what a 1/2 a cup really is).

    Great post!

  • Deva (Voracious Vorilee) January 26, 2010, 11:47 am

    I measure out a lot of my cereals or I would eat 2 or 3 times what a serving size is! I also do this with nut butters and those giant tubs of yogurt you can buy at the store – for me it just helps me maintain my weight and know what I am eating. For example, I know that if I’ve had 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of yogurt, i’m 2/3 of the way to my calcium goals for the day, and knowing that helps me a lot!

  • Molly @vegandorm January 26, 2010, 11:58 am

    I really loved the PETA discussion too! I was waiting for things to get nasty but from what I can tell everyone was respectful!
    I measure out some foods, but I’m getting better at eyeing sizes. For example, I won’t measure fruits or vegetables, but things like cereal and rice are easy to over or under-do.

  • lauren @ Eater not a runner January 26, 2010, 12:03 pm

    That is something I need to watch more too, I don’t always vary my portions with my activity level!

  • Freya @ foodfitnessandfreya.wordpress.com January 26, 2010, 12:16 pm

    What a great post 🙂 It’ll be good to hear about portion sizes from a ‘normal’ person – I sometimes get it wrong and do waaaay too many veggies and not enougb carb (purely cos I love veggies:P) but being an athlete too, I know that shouldn’t always be the case! So it’ll be good to hear more about how you eat 🙂
    Portions are darn tricky :s

  • MaryB January 26, 2010, 12:20 pm

    It’s so hard to judge by photos! And sometimes you use teeny tiny spoons and that makes it more difficult! I don’t think you eat that much imo but it’s good to have an idea. I think you eat the right amount, for you!

  • Lee January 26, 2010, 12:28 pm

    I think it’s okay to talk about portions and weight and all that jazz. Like others have said, proper portion size is a part of healthy living.

  • Guen January 26, 2010, 12:36 pm

    I have such a hard time with this and all the info that goes with it. It’s difficult for me to wrap my head around the idea that you need to eat more when you work out more, even if you want to lose weight. It’s not the simple math of calories in, calories out. There are hormones, and electrolytes, and all kinds of stuff that gets factored into your metabolism. You would think that if you body is getting enough food for what it needs to do you wouldn’t be hungry. Sometimes you still are as a result of past binging, restricting, over eating, or whatever, and it has altered the function of your metabolism.

    I applaud Caitlin for taking the time to be thoughtful about eating and how to fuel her body without getting caught up in the crazy details of it.

  • Cassie January 26, 2010, 12:37 pm

    caitlin – i did the same thing… i used to eat yogurt and cereal for breakfast in the morning, and would just pack a little baggie full of cereal. i come to find out i’m eating over 2 servings of cereal, and i definitely dont need that much to satisfy my hunger! once i started measuring the cereal portions, i was able to cut out a few unneeded calories – and my box of cereal lasts so much longer!!

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing January 26, 2010, 1:00 pm

    I think it’s a good idea about the serving size. It’s good to know for yourself because you don’t want to be eating more than 1 serving of something like granola, that can really add up calorie wise. And granola and cereal is SO easy to overestimate. And pasta. I do not calorie count but I still measure things like granola and cereal for that very reason.

  • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write January 26, 2010, 1:09 pm

    This is a good post. I sometimes face that issue too. Having been obese, I’m very aware of how my eating/life can affect other people through my blog.

    You’re very aware of that too, and probably why you’re my favorite blogger. You are realistic and honest about things, and that comes through. The number game is a hard thing to talk about blog-wise, but I think you’re right to be honest/upfront.

    • Caitlin January 26, 2010, 1:15 pm

      thank you :))

  • Kathleen January 26, 2010, 1:10 pm

    I seriously love how awesome all of the healthy living/food/athlete blogs are to ED recovery patients. When I first started reading health blogs my therapist actually said I should reconsider because it might trigger me…but I have found that you all are so amazing, healthy, inspiring and sensitive that I don’t have to worry. Slowly but surely, I have built an “immunity” to trigger items by exposing myself slowly through this blog community and it has been a great help!

    Thanks for always being so honest and yet tactful 🙂

    • Caitlin January 26, 2010, 1:15 pm

      i am really glad to hear you have a good therapist AND know whats best for you!!! so important.

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) January 26, 2010, 1:27 pm

    Thank you for being honest about portion sizes. It is so easy to look at something and think it is one size when it is actually double. An occasional check of portion sizes helps to keep eyeballing correct.

    And thank you for being honest that when training you will need more. So often it is easy to just look at the food and not take into consideration the activity being done as well.

  • Anne P January 26, 2010, 1:28 pm

    Interesting post! It definitely is almost impossible to tell sizes from photos. I never measure anything, but I will have to for 3 days as part of my nutrition class I’m taking now. It’ll be interesting to see if I’m doing the same thing you are – unintentionally having way more servings than I mean to! Not that I’d stop, since it seems to be working fine… but you know 🙂

  • Emily Eats and Exercises January 26, 2010, 2:33 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I admit that I did think your portions looked small (not in a judgmental way, just trying to help myself estimate my own portions.) I know there are recovering ED patients who read blogs, but there is also another audience.

    I have currently lost 35 lbs and have about 30ish more to go to reach a healthy goal weight. I appreciate blogs (like yours) to give me lots of ideas of healthy food (so I don’t get bored) and to help see how people like you balance their weight maintenance with “real life.” I feel strongly that I want to lose this weight slowly and be able to keep it off without obsessing over it forever. I love the idea of your dietless diet. For me, listing the portion sizes is very helpful.

    Thanks as always for your thoughtful posts!

  • Emily Eats and Exercises January 26, 2010, 2:33 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I admit that I did think your portions looked small (not in a judgmental way, just trying to help myself estimate my own portions.) I know there are recovering ED patients who read blogs, but there is also another audience.

    I have currently lost 35 lbs and have about 30ish more to go to reach a healthy goal weight. I appreciate blogs (like yours) to give me lots of ideas of healthy food (so I don’t get bored) and to help see how people like you balance their weight maintenance with “real life.” I feel strongly that I want to lose this weight slowly and be able to keep it off without obsessing over it forever. I love the idea of your dietless diet. For me, listing the portion sizes is very helpful.

    Thanks as always for your thoughtful posts!

  • Alex January 26, 2010, 2:54 pm

    Thanks for being an inspiring and honest woman athlete! It is necessary and encouraging. I know many woman who are athletes and still struggle with food issues. Your blog is refreshing and I love the honesty coupled with your confidence! Keep it up!

  • Lisa January 26, 2010, 3:31 pm

    Love this past! I too am a pants size bigger, so I appreciate others who are watchin their portions with me! 🙂

  • laura January 26, 2010, 4:17 pm

    Hi Caitlin – I saw this on my facebook page and wanted to send it to you since I know you live in Florida.

    Carolina Puterbaugh/Pinilla: wanted by police for kidnapping Alexandra Puterbaugh. Her tag number is 306krm, Florida plates. She drives a green 96 Camry with a black hood. If you see her, call the police immediately!! Thank you so much!

  • Becca January 26, 2010, 5:26 pm

    Thank you for sharing about the portion size thing–it’s actually my biggest challenge with health. I LOVE to eat healthy foods, that’s never been the problem–it’s overeating sometimes (usually at dinner!) I’ve been an athlete my whole life, but my intensity level flucuates as well–whether I’m training for a race, running soccer camps, etc. My freshman year of college I gained 15 pounds because I stopped playing soccer competitively, but kept eating like a soccer player. Your blog is a great accountability system for myself in this area, so THANK YOU for sharing how you’re going to get through this portion size stuff.


  • Jamisen January 26, 2010, 7:42 pm

    Another thank you from me. Your food choices are quite inspirational to me ass I am trying to incorporate more veggies all the time. Your yogurt always looked so generous compared to what I eat every morning. I figured you had tiny bowls. Nope, it was actual portion differences, I only put 1/4 cup granola in my yogurt.

  • Bryan January 26, 2010, 8:10 pm

    It takes a lot of determination and dedication to maintain good healthy eating. I am not taking the same challenge as you but I’m not making anymore excuses. After all, I owe it to myself, right?

  • Megan @ Eat.Scrap.Run January 26, 2010, 8:22 pm

    I love that you have so many friends to hang out with on a Tuesday during the day. Some day I hope I am not working an 8-5 job and I can have more freedom in my schedule!

  • Tina January 26, 2010, 8:34 pm

    OMG where have you been my whole life??? I need you on my shoulder (or in my blackberry) giving me healthy ideas about food and most definately about portions! Oh You are on my blackberry? thats right I have you bookmarked on my phone! You are doing a great job of coming across as someone who is thoughtful of others while still getting your point across. I can’t wait to read your Operation Beautiful book.

    • caitlin January 26, 2010, 8:38 pm

      this was a cute comment 🙂 thank you

  • Amanda @ Cakes and Ale January 27, 2010, 8:34 am

    This was how I lost the few pounds I needed to a few years ago. I was NOT interested in counting calories, but I knew I needed to have a better perspective on portion sizes. My bowls of cereal were like 3 Cups worth! Don’t even get me started on ice cream… Now I’m able to eyeball it, after just a month or so of measuring things out.

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