All over the internet we are starting to see the importance of calories. More importantly, we are starting to see how the right amount of calories can be the reason for weight loss or why we can’t seem to lose weight at all.
Unfortunately, no matter how great one approach is, it isn’t right for everyone.
There are some people who get extremely anxious tracking their food throughout the day. This puts them in a state of stress that can make it harder to lose weight.
So what should you do if calorie counting isn’t for you?
There are many other approaches you can use to get the results you want. In this article I will lay out one of the simplest ways to control your portions so that you can lose weight without having to count a single calorie.
First, let me start by saying, I am not saying calories do not matter. They do. What I am saying is that sometimes having calories as the sole focus could cause stress and anxiety. This method is a way to control for calories without the negative feelings that can come along with tracking food.
Any diet that works long term will have you in a slight caloric deficit. Ideally you want to find the approach that allows you to do that with the most ease. Keto, intermittent fasting, whole30, atkins, and many others are ways for people to decrease their calories without having to count them.
Here is another method you can try. It is flexible enough to allow you to eat your favorite foods without going completely off track. It also doesn’t require you to have a scale or measuring cups.
All you need is your hand.
The first thing to lay out is how your day is going to look.
Every day you will want to have 3 meals and 2 snacks.
These three meals will include:
This balance of the different nutrients your body requires, will allow you to feel very full and satisfy the majority of your nutritional needs at the same time.
Now that the types of foods in these meals have been established, we need to figure out how much of each to have at every meal.
Men: 2 palm sized portions
Women: 1 palm sized portion
When picking out a lean protein, you want to focus on finding sources that are low in fat and high in protein. This includes:
Low Fat Cuts of Beef
* If you are using protein powder, a scoop would count as one palm.
Men: at least 2 fist sized portions
Women: at least 1 fist sized portion
When it comes to veggies you really can’t have enough. You can load your plate up with as many as you want. But it is important to establish a minimum so that you can get the required amount for the day.
Some great options for veggies are:
Leafy greens like spinach, lettuce, etc.
Men: 2 cupped hand portions
Women: 1 palm portion
For carb sources we want to focus on mainly whole grains and fruits. These sources have tons of great vitamins and minerals. One of the most important ones is fiber. Fiber is awesome for many things like helping you poo, lowering cholesterol, and controlling blood sugar. Along with that, it also helps a ton when it comes to losing weight. It is slow to digest which keeps you full for a long time.
Great sources of carbs are:
Men: 2 thumb sized portions
Women: 1 thumb sized portion
Fats are extremely important when it comes to keeping our hormones in check. A lot of times people completely cut fats out because they think it will immediately turn into fat. Luckily, that’s not quite how gaining body fat works. Having a good amount of fat in your meals will help you feel energized and fueled for hours. Along with that, just like fiber, it takes a while to digest so it can be very helpful when it comes to staying full.
The best sources of fat are:
Cheese (if your body can handle it)
Fatty Fish (which would also get you some good protein)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Grass Fed Butter
Once you have decided what you will eat in those meals, it is then time to figure out what snacks to have.
These snacks can be from any of the above categories. Each snack will count as one portion size. So if you decide to snack on veggies, you can have a ton of them. On the flip side, if you choose to have carbs as your snack, you won’t be allowed as big of a portion as veggies.
One way to decide what to eat would be to focus on what would best support your goal in the moment.
Are you hungry?
Your best options would probably be protein, veggies, or fats. These are all the most filling and will help kill hunger until the next meal.
What if you have a tough workout ahead and want a little more energy?
Carbs would be the way to go. Having a piece of fruit or a serving of oatmeal could give you that extra burst of energy you need for a long run or an intense weight training session.
Now the real question…
What about booze?
You can’t have alcohol! You aren’t dedicated if you don’t go cold turkey. Stay away from the Devil’s poison!
Alcohol is completely ok in moderation. Count a serving of alcohol as a snack. Do not skip meals to make room.
If you do go overboard and drink a couple too many, acknowledge that it happened, forgive yourself, then get back on track the next day.
So where do my favorite foods fit in?
You also would count a snack or two for these foods.
Let’s say you really want to eat a greasy burger. Count that burger as part of your meal with protein and fats, while also counting as one or two snacks.
If you go all out and get cheese, bacon, fried onions, and barbecue sauce on it, that would count as 2 snacks.
Maybe you don't want to indulge that much and just want a small treat during the day. If you want a candy bar or a small bag of chips, that would count as one snack.
This article covered a lot of information. Hopefully it was plenty to get you started. You now have all the information you need to take control of your health.
Now it's time to go out and do the damn thing!