The more we talk with world-class trainers and pay attention to science, it's becoming painfully clear: you can't out-exercise a bad diet. What we eat is more important than how hard we work it off. So don't counteract the time you spend on fitness with an oversized meal. Recent studies have proven that when faced with a large portion of food, we're much more likely to eat more than we intend to, despite our best intentions. This is because we rely on external cues like plate portions and how much others are eating as our gauge.
But sticking to proper portions is a surefire way to keep your gut in check—or even slim down. "It's not all that hard to change your body composition," says Matthew Byerts, a trainer and nutritionist who helps actors prepare for their roles. "You need to burn 3,500 excess calories to lose a pound of fat. If you're aware of how many calories you're eating and cut out 250 a day, that's a pound every two weeks." The key to cutting back on heavy portions is being aware of what a proper serving looks like. So here are ten visual conversions for a few nutritionist-recommended servings of common foods.
One cupped handful
(about 12 fries)
A computer mouse