It takes practice in estimating calories. After weighing various foods for an amount of time, it gets easier to eyeball. Sometimes you have to go back to weighing to calibrate your "calorie eye".
The only thing I seem to be able to guesstimate with any accuracy is 5-1/3 oz of ground meat. I guess after a couple of years of portioning out three-to-a-pound burgers to freeze, my hands have some muscle memory. But I still weigh them to double check.
I am not very good at guessing anything, especially meat. I always get about 6 or 7oz for a portion, thinking it should be about 3 so I am always shocked when it is more :P
And I never really look at it either, so I can learn what it looks like. I keep my scale right there, so it is easy enough just to use it. I also use measuring cups as serving spoons.
Lately, I have been trying to use "grams" on my scales though, rather than ounces.
65lbs gone and counting!!
Fat 2 Fit - One Woman's Journey
I find a ballpark awareness of calorie intake useful but don't count or stick to a regimen, so whether I have a calorie deficit or surplus at the end of each day is pretty organic.
I am focusing on the bigger picture.
F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.
Get a small food scale, it will change your thinking on how much you're really eating. Even if you only do it for a few days, it can be an eye opener. You came here for advice, stop telling everyone you can ballpark it when it takes all of a couple of minutes to write it down exactly. Don't forget stuff like fruits/veggies, oil/butter used to saute, creams, sauces, dressings, etc. It adds up quick. Obviously this isn't primal, but one packet of Chick Fil A sauce has 140 calories, 13g fat, and 6g sugar. I used to eat 3-4 of those packets in one sitting in my pre-primal days. And it's easy to forget/not count them because it doesn't sound like much compared to your actual food. My "ballpark" guess in my pre-primal days was 3000-4000 cals per day, and when I took the time to start calculating exactly, it was more like 5000-6000. A pretty "duh" moment for me.
On the side of gaining/losing 4-5 lbs in a day, that happens all the time. It's definitely water weight.
I use myfitnesspal.com to help get an idea of what proportions of fat/protein/carbs I'm eating. When guessing portions i tend to lean higher than lower. I strive for right around 2000 calories a day depending on my workout. Heavy lifting days get more protein and a few hundred more calories.
Primal since August 2012. CW: 317.
And 100 pounds has nothing to do with what I can do.... except eat more than I should have. And I am not trying to count calories... never said I was. In fact I said specifially that I wasn't.
But hey, YOU know what I can do better than I know what I can do. Right?
Start Date 9.24.12
Starting weight 285ish ( scale is acting funny so I don't trust it, but 285 is close )
CW - 271 pounds
First Goal - 255 by 2013
Main Goal - To be healthy for my family... I have an awesome family.
Other Goal - to get off some medications
Final goal - to get to about 180 pounds by 2014
NEW GOAL - When I can start a new journal called "Your dad is not so fat!"
Your Dad is So Fat