Whether you want to lose weight, lose body fat, gain weight or maintain, it’s important you know your current food intake and what’s need for your goal.
Some individuals will use an app to track their food. I personally like Myfitnesspal. Assuming you are entering the information in correctly and you are doing it consistently using an app is a very accurate way to measure what you’re eating. That being said, using an app can at times be cumbersome and stressful for some individuals. If you’re not going to use an app and/or your don’t have a scale, measuring cups, etc… to know what you’re eating, along with several other fitness professionals I suggest you use your hand. John Beradi, PhD, co-founder of Precision Nutrition and Brain St. Pierre, MS, RD, Precision Nutrition coach recommend using your very own hand.
Here’s how it works:
- Your palm=1 portion of protein
- Your fist=1 portion of veggies, fruit and other carbs (rice, pasta, oatmeal, etc…)
- Your thumb=1 portion of fats
I realize everyone’s hand and thumb size is going to be different, but again if you’re not going to use an app and a more accurate measuring tool this is a great way for you to track what you’re eating.
The following are general guidelines based on gender in regards to how much of each macronutrient you should eat. Keep in mind, your weight, height, activity level, age and goal will all play a part in how much you should eat.
- Protein: 6-8 servings
- Veggies: 6-8 servings
- Carbs: 4-6 servings
- Fruits: 2-3 servings
- Fats: 5-7 servings
- Protein: 4-6 servings
- Veggies: 4-6 servings
- Carbs: 3-4 servings
- Fruits: 1-2 servings
- Fats: 3-5 servings
I suggest you measure yourself in order to give you a starting point, follow the above guidelines and based on your measurements and goals you may need to adjust. If you want to lose weight and you’re not, you may need to eat a little less or ideally move more. If you want to gain weight, then you’ll need to eat more. If you notice you’re feeling tired, you can’t focus, etc.. You may need more carbs since they are the main source of energy for your brain and body. If you find yourself “always” hungry you may need more protein as it keeps you satiated longer (feeling full). If you’re feeling inflamed or your hormones seem “off” fats may be the way to go. Fats help with hormone production. Again, the key is to track and stay consistent.
Scott Keppel is the owner of Scott’s Training Systems, a world-class coaching facility in Chandler, Arizona. He is a nationally certified trainer through NASM and ISSA. His mission is to empower women of all ages and fitness levels.