Stop Counting Calories, Do This Instead
If you’ve ever pulled out all the measuring cups for your spinach, torn meat into tiny pieces as you placed it on a scale, or counted out exactly 26 almonds then this is the article for you. Fed up with stubborn fat or not looking and feeling your best…you found a hardcore plan that spelled out EXACTLY what you were supposed to eat. You religiously plugged everything you consumed into a special calculator. You lugged around an oversized diaper bag laden with tupperware containers of your “meals”. Yea we’ve all been there…
Trying to balance your macros based on your calculated energy expenditure is one popular way to build a diet plan. It works for a lot of people who need to eat specific quantities of food to lose weight. So why doesn’t anyone stick with it?
Quite frankly it’s not really worth the time and effort of tedious weighing, measuring, and portioning. Especially when counting calories has some serious flaws. In fact calorie estimation is kind of like a game of telephone. Depending on lab equipment, human error, rounding, moisture, conversions, and a host of other factors calorie estimations can be widely miscalculated.
Yes it can be a great learning opportunity and gets you really thinking about what you’re putting in your body. But there has got to be a better way…Right?!
Instead of counting calories focus on quality of food and learning how to estimate portion sizes to keep your body healthy and satiated. You only need one tool to measure your food with and you just so happen to be blessed with two of them (unless you’re Jaime Lannister). That’s right, your hands are the only measuring tool you’ll be using from now on. Let’s explore how to use your hands to measure different food categories so you can stop wasting time counting calories. Your hands can be used to calculate:
Let’s take a look at how.
For protein you want to use your palm to estimate portion size. That means a portion the same length, width, and thickness of your hand without the fingers. Men should eat about 2 palm sized portions of protein at each meal and women should try to eat 1 palm sized portion. This applies to foods like meat, fish, eggs, and dairy.
For vegetables you can make a fist with your hand and use that to estimate portion size. Mens should try to eat 2 fist sized portions at each meal and women should shoot for 1 fist sized portion. This works for foods like broccoli, asparagus, spinach, carrots, peas, and many other veggies.
For carbohydrates you will want to curl your hand making it into a small cup shape. Carbohydrates include grains like bread and oatmeal, starchy vegetables like potatoes, and fruits. Men can eat 2 cupped hand sized portions and womens can eat 1 cupped hand sized portion per meal.
Last of all is calculating your fats. For fats you can use your whole thumb to estimate portion size. Men would use two thumbs to estimate their fat portion and women would use 1 thumb to calculate theirs. This works for foods like oils, butter, avocado, nuts, and seeds.
What has two thumbs and knows how to easily balance their meals?
–> THIS GUY! <–
Now that you know how to easily estimate a healthy portion size for your bodies it’s time to ditch the scales and measuring cups. Focus on quality foods, a daily movement practice, and enjoying your life!
If you are looking for more ways to make healthy habits a fun and easy part of your day then get in touch with one of our coaches today!!
5 Health Metrics That Are More Important Than Weight
For some strange reason American’s have chosen the scale as their favorite way to track progress around their health. People derive their sense of self worth based on the number facing up at them from between their feet. If you’re someone who draws any sort of emotional reaction, positive or negative, from the scale then you may want to self reflect and consider if there are better options out there.
The funny part is that weight is such an inconsequential and ambiguous predictor of substance. Just consider this. If you have three avocados-one freshly picked and hard as a rock, one brown soft and ooze, and one firm ripe and tender-which one are you going to slice open to make your guacamole with? It shouldn’t matter if they all weigh 170 grams right…
What you are made of, how you feel, and what you are able to produce are all factors of way greater significance than your weight.
What you weigh is going to constantly fluctuate. You may lose weight and be less healthy. You may be well hydrated one day and performing well then get totally thrown off because your weight went up a pound or two. This number doesn’t say who you are as a person or how healthy and fit you may be. It’s just an arbitrary number. Stop letting the pounds run your life and change the way you feel about yourself. Instead try one of these alternative ways that measure success off the scale!
Body Fat Percentage
Body fat percentage is an alternative way to track your progress and provides much more actionable information than just your weight in pounds. This takes into account your lean muscle mass. In this way you can actually gain weight in muscle which would consequently reduce your percentage of body fat. This is a clear example of how gaining weight would make you healthier. Plus as you add more muscle to your frame you will burn more calories at rest. The fat will disappear faster and faster on it’s own!
Taking specific measurements is a great way to achieve the goals around the way you want to look. Measuring neck, arm, waist, hips, thigh, and calf circumference can help you transform your body without ever worrying about the scale. Losing two inches off your waist will make you look and feel like a whole new person!
One of the best replacements for weighing yourself is to instead track daily health habits. If you track metrics like sleep, hydration, servings of veggies, daily walking, and other relevant habits you can focus on the right behaviors to make you look and feel great in the long run. This takes discipline but it is essential to long lasting transformation.
Switching your focus to the weight on the bar is a great alternative to the scale. People will often train harder and longer in pursuit of strength and performance goals than solely for aesthetic purposes. If you push yourself more in training the results will speak for themselves!