By: Gianni Del Franco; CSCS, XPS, USAW S1, Pn1
How many times have you had a goal to lose weight? How many times, during your journey to accomplish that goal, did your friends invite you to go out for dinner… and you had to say, “No, I’m on a diet?” OR, if you said yes, brought a weight scale and measuring cup to make sure you stayed in your “Macro’s?” I’ve been there, even down to bringing the weight scale and measuring cup to a restaurant. Yea, I was that guy!
But as we know, the math for weight loss is relatively easy. We work with a coach, they give us the math for how many calories we burn to know how much we need to eat, and if we eat less than what we burn, we should be good! Calories in vs. Calories out, right? The issue I experienced was that it started to take over my life; constantly cooking and measuring to make sure we get everything in exactly the way the program was designed.
The thing is, you must find out how much you need to eat to reach your goals. And your coach has gone through extensive training to make sure the numbers they run are correct! HOWEVER, there are some assumptions you need to draw dealing with these calculations. And it’s that… They are calculations to know what is happening in YOUR body, but the calculation does not KNOW you! Due to incorrect labeling, poor food quality, and incorrect lab measurements when finding the calorie content for food, research has shown that what you eat can be about 25% off the mark from what you need.
And if this is true, then we should also assume that there could be errors in how many calories you burn! This can be from body fat and weight measurement errors, equipment issues, and any individual differences such as bone density and water retention. This can be another 25% difference in your calorie intake calculation.
So, is it worth measuring every individual gram and calorie? Is it worth making sure every 512 grams of rice, down to the last grain, is accounted for? Personally, I enjoy my sanity AND staying lean. Luckily, there is a way to do that which allows you to think about portion sizes in a healthier way. And all you have to do is lend yourself a hand, literally!
Here is how simple it is:
- Proteins = a palmsize per portion
- Meat, fish, eggs, dairy, or beans
- Carbohydrates = a cupped hand size per portion
- Grains, Starches and Fruits
- Fats = a thumb size per portion
- Oils, butters, nuts and seeds
- Vegetables = a fist size per portion
- Leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, onion, ext.
So how do you start to implement this?
If you are looking to start a journey towards a healthier lifestyle, then here’s how it looks:
For Protein: Per Meal
- 2 palm-sized portions for males
- 1 palm-sized portion for females
For Carbohydrates: Per Meal
- 2 cupped hands for males
- 1 cupped hand for females
For Fats: Per Meal
- 2 thumbs for males
- 1 thumb for females
For Vegetables: Per Meal
- 2 fists for males
- 1 fist for females
As a note on body size and servings by hand size, of course, no two bodies are the same. A larger person is going to have a larger hand and vice versa. Luckily, since it is your hand, it correlates close to what your general body size is, which also means this is your personal measuring tool; fit for you and only you!
The above guideline is a way for you to have a flexible schedule based on four meals per day. Staying flexible in this respect allows you to judge how your body is responding to your diet and begin to implement changes based on hunger, fullness, or other changes pertaining to your goals. Once you find your groove, stay consistentuntil the body stops changing how you want.
And remember, the above is a starting point. Then adjust based on how it is working for you.
If you are looking to get more specific, consider having a nutrition coach to work with you through this journey. And if you already have a nutrition coach but feel overwhelmed by trying to hit the numbers every day, then be honest and ask to have them give the program to you based on hand size.
When all is said and done, to be healthier, just give yourself a hand! Avoid overcomplicating food and look to your palm for protein, a cupped hand for carbs, a thumb for fats, and a fist for veggies.
Make the Change, Follow the Lifestyle, #bebioelite.