If you have ever been on a diet, many of them want us to count something like calories, or fat grams or how many carbs we eat (macro-nutrients.) We have to measure or weigh all of our food and spend lots of time trying to get the exact count perfect. At least this is what I did for a long time. I am betting you have had experience with it to.
Ok, this is super embarrassing for me to admit, but at one time I was unbelievably obsessed with making sure I ate the EXACT amount of calories or macros (macro-nutrients) I was allotted every day. whichever I was counting at the time. This obsession was so bad that I actually carried around measuring cups and spoons in my purse for when I ate out at any locally owned place where nutritional information was not online or when we went to Genghis so I could measure every single thing I put in my mouth. No lie, I shopped for, but never found a small enough scale to fit in my purse in order to weigh things because that was actually my preferred method. The measuring cups were too easy to over or underfill and then where would I be if I had too many or too few calories!! Of course it goes without saying that everything I ate at home was weighed and measured very carefully….to the point that I weighed the food both before AND after it was cooked so I could measure out the proper portions for everyone when it was a family dinner. I was also fanatic about getting in all my calories or macros even if I was not hungry?!?! I would eat stuff I did not really want just to make sure I got everything in correctly. Ugh!! that did nothing but make it more difficult for me to learn my hunger cues later on.
If I made a mistake or went over by accident I would beat myself up in my mind first. Then I would make sure to do more cardio the next day so I could be sure to burn off that maybe 50 calories or so. That is how worried I was that I was going to gain all my weight back overnight even realistically knowing that it took me a long time to gain it in the first place.
Have I ever mentioned that I am a recovering perfectionist and have some OCD issues sometimes? That when I do something I usually go waaaay overboard? No? Ok, you have been warned. I am a chronic overachiever. Why do just a little when going all out just has to be better right? Not really. It has taken me a while, but I have finally learned that sometimes it is true that “a little dab’ll do ya” or that giving myself some grace and compassion and going easy on myself will actually help calm the beast within.
A few years ago I was introduced to a method of eating naturally without traditional weighing and measuring. As long as I had a hand and could count to 2 I was good to go. I was super skeptical. I even said to myself and to the hubs “There is no way I will ever be able to do that. I know I will always have to weigh and measure my food and count calories or macros” Guess what? I was WRONG!
I am not going to say I wish I had listened and done it differently back then, because then I would not be able to have the kind of insight I do now on how those types of situations come about and how to effectively work with them.
One of the questions many of my new clients ask me is “How many calories do I get to eat?” Or “What are my macros going to be?” Most of the time they are super confused, intrigued or skeptical when I tell them the only numbers we are going to focus on are 1 and 2. What I mean by 1 or 2 is whether they are going to get 1 or 2 servings…and serving sizes are probably NOT what you think. Proper serving sizes are different for everyone!!
Did you know that our hand is perfect for measuring our food portions? The size of our hand is directly proportionate to our body which makes it the perfect measuring guide for food portions without the messy clean up and the time and energy it takes to weigh and/or measure everything! Also, since we already carry it with us everywhere we go, it is very handy. 🙂
So how much should we eat?
Most active women do best with 4-6 servings from each food group per day. For women this would be approximately 1500-2100 calories if you need the reference, which I completely understand if you do.
- 1 palm sized portion of protein dense food at every meal (width, height and depth of palm…fingers not included)
- 1 fist sized portion of fibrous vegetables at every meal
- 1 cupped handful of carbohydrate dense foods at most meals
- 1 entire thumb size portion of fat dense foods if extra fats at most meals
Most active men do best with 6-8 servings from each food group per day (approx 2300-3000 calories)
- 2 palm sized portion of protein dense food at each meal (width, height and depth of palm…fingers not included)
- 2-3 fist sized portion of fibrous vegetables at each meal
- 2 cupped handful of carbohydrate dense foods at most meals
- 2 entire thumb size portion of fat dense foods at most meals
Pretty cool stuff huh? It is pretty ingenious when you think about it. It cannot get much easier than this. We don’t need any kind of utensils at all. Now, with that all being said. If you are like I was at the beginning and are kinda sorta skeptical. Lets go ahead and do the actual measurements. Lets get a palm sized portion of protein and weigh and measure it and see approximately how many ounces, calories etc. it is. Same with the veggies and carbs and fat. If nothing else, it will give us a great idea of how much of what we really need to be eating of each type of food.
A couple of things.
This reference guide is for active adults and just like any other form of nutrition planning, this guide serves as a starting point. Stay flexible and adjust your portions based on hunger, fullness, and other important goals.
If you would like a photo guide to go along with this information, click on this link that will take you to Precision Nutrition which is where I received my Nutrition Coaching certification. The article goes way more in-depth than I did (this is the general idea) and also has some great photos showing exactly how the portion sizes should look.
Thanks so much for stopping by today. I would love to hear your thoughts on this way of calorie/portion control instead of having to use scales and measuring cups. Are you like I was and thought “NO WAY! it would never work for me, or maybe you are intrigued. Maybe you already do this. Head on over to my Facebook page and leave a comment under the post for this blog.
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