Give Yourself A Hand...Forget Counting Calories
There’s a better way to figure out how much food to eat at
every meal so you can look and feel better.
Trying to gain muscle? Lose weight? Just eat healthy?
Then finding the right portions is probably on your mind.
But calorie counting is usually a recipe for failure: It’s annoying, impractical, and research shows it can be up to 25 percent inaccurate on both sides — calories in, and calories out.
All you have to do is take a look at your hand.
Using your fist, palm, cupped hand, and thumb to practice calorie control, you can avoid the hassle of actually counting calories, all while ensuring you’re getting the whole food nutrients your body needs.
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: The best way to lose weight is to count calories.
The only problem? It’s not true.
The problem with calorie counting
The first problem with counting calories is the sheer amount of math and hassle to figure out your “caloric needs”. That means handbooks, websites, and databases just to plan your lunch.
Next, you have to assume that the handbooks, websites, and databases’ calorie estimates are correct. (They’re often not.)
In fact, research has shown they can be off by about 25% because of incorrect labeling, laboratory measurement error, and food quality.
Then, of course, you have to estimate your “calorie expenditure” each day
— the amount of calories you burn. However, that often comes with another 25% measurement error because of the equipment you’re using, laboratory measurement errors, and individual differences.
That means there’s a possible 25% error on the “calories in” side, and another 25% error on the “calories out” side.
Is it even worth:
• pulling out measuring cups to a chorus of boos from family members
• dusting off the food scale while trying to ignore the taunts of friends
• whipping out your calculator to add everything up
• subscribing to apps and web services to track these less-than-accurate numbers?
Of course, we all should have an idea of how much food we’re eating each day. That way we can adjust how much we’re eating based on our goals.
But counting calories itself is a drag!
No wonder so many people give up and go back to eating the way they were before. No wonder so many women have a hard time sticking to a calorie-counting diet.
The Calorie Counting Antidote
Here’s the good news: counting calories is rarely necessary.
We gauge food portions differently. No carrying around weigh-scales and measuring cups. No calculators or smart phones.
All you need is the ability to count to two. And your own hand.
Here how it works:
Planning your meals flexibly
Based on the guidelines above, which assume you’ll be eating about 3-4 times a day, you now have a simple and flexible guide for meal planning.
Of course, just like any other form of nutrition planning — including calorie counting — this only serves as a starting point.
You can’t know exactly how your body will respond in advance. So stay flexible and adjust your portions based on your hunger, fullness, and other important goals.
For example, if you’re trying to lose weight but seem to have stalled out, you might eliminate a cupped palm of carbohydrates or a thumb of fats at particular meals.
Remember: This is a starting point. Adjust your portions at any time using outcome-based decision making.
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