Eyes Smaller Than My Stomach?

For those who use an app to track macros: Does anyone else divide the total amount of meat (say, 3 lbs of chicken) by the amount of servings you make and find yourself skeptical that the protein value aligns with what looks like a smaller serving?

I’ve been doing meal prep that involves cooking meat in an Instant Pot and shredding it before dividing into servings. I know that an oz of raw meat and an oz of cooked meat will have a difference in protein, but my understanding is that as long as you’re consistent with how you track, it shouldn’t be that big deal. It’s always easier for me to weigh everything raw, so that’s what I do.

I use Cronometer to input the total recipe ingredients for the total recipe macros, then it lets me pick how many servings that divided into to figure out macros per serving. It only uses nutritional data that, at least from what I can tell, seems pretty accurate. We’re talking things like chicken breasts, thighs, and flank steak, nothing exotic.

When I put the servings into our leftover containers, I always think, “Really? That’s 60g of protein? There’s no way, it’s such a small portion.” Then I redo the math, and it comes out the same. Then I start wondering somewhat crazy things like whether some of the protein went into the soupy broth I was going to discard and maybe I should make sure I drink all the broth just in case. :-/

Anyone else find themselves doubting the math? I’m wondering if maybe because I’m shredding the meat it may just visually look ‘smaller’ than I expect to see?

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The crockpot cooks off an insane amount of water.

For lean proteins like chicken (where you’re unlikely to go overboard) maybe try:

  1. Weighing it out raw and dividing like normal
  2. Weighing one container now cooked and divided
  3. Calculate the delta as a percentage (like cooked weighed 25% less than raw)
  4. Apply that ratio to your raw prep going forward?

Don’t forget you can throw your Tupperware on the scale and zero it out at any point so you can weigh just the cooked chicken even as you’re throwing it on top of the rest of your prepared meals.

Good to know! The Googling I did indicated that cooking shouldn’t make a huge difference, but I didn’t even think to look into how much that varied based on how you cook something.

I’ll try what you recommended to see what the difference is. I was avoiding weighing after because some meals the chicken is in sauces or jumbled around with other ingredients so I figured it would make it harder to get an accurate weight.

Do you think it could be enough of a difference that I might have been massively undershooting my protein targets?

Now this is a good point and you’re probably right. Maybe there’s a meal that’s a little “drier” and you can eyeball it.

You’ve been getting stronger and leaner, so I’d say what you’ve been doing has been working incredibly well even if it’s not exactly what you intended to do. I’m not one of the folks that thinks you have to megadose protein, and you’ve been prioritizing it, so I think you’re good to go. Really I think the benefits of grabbing this new weight ratio are:

  1. Peace of mind
  2. Likely allow you to eat more!

Makes sense to me! I do enjoy eating. I’ve never really tracked and fiddled with my macros this long or to this degree before - it’s a bit addicting (in a good way) to see, “Ok, change variable X, what happens to variable Y?” Though that only holds true if you’re accurately evaluating/isolating the variables, hence me getting to the point that I’m staring at crockpot broth wondering if really should be saving it hah.

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You were right the first time, though, that as long as you’re consistent it’s going to take care of itself anyway.

Good on you! I think crockpot meals all taste like the crockpot, so you’re dealing with some challenges I didn’t often face with tracking.

Depending on how you do it, there can be a difference, but like TFP said, not a major one(spread over 6-8 servings or what ever).

My favorite bone broth for example:

I’ll use 1¾-2 cups making a chuck roast, so across 8 servings- 2.2 grams.
But just to make sure, I whip up a rue and turn it into gravy. :smiley:

What astounded me when I started weighing/tracking everything was portion sizes. It turns out that I had never eaten an actual single serving of anything.

Even that estimate of 8 servings turns into Actually 4. Because even with some potatoes & whatnot “That looks really small… ok thats better…” .

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A billion times this. It’s so depressing



4 oz. Of Anything is like “Whats this? An appetizer?”.

Thats like the steak a real steak would eat if steaks ate steak.


Dan John talked about a friend who started measuring potions pouring a bowl of cereal, and then recanting and saying “Wait, no, not a bowl: a serving doesn’t fill a bowl. It’s more like a coffee mug of cereal”.

The best part is trying to overcome the capitalist in you. You go out to eat, and they serve you a GIGANTIC portion of food and you go “What is this bullsh*t? This is WAY too much food. This is why we’re fat!”

So then you go to another one and they serve you an actual portion size and you go “What is this bullsh*t? What a rip-off! I ain’t paying $20 for this!”