I really want to help clients get away from using handbooks, websites, databases, spreadsheets, and math when planning meals.
You see, while we know that total food (calorie) intake matters, I’m just not fan of counting calories.
To begin with, calorie counting does nothing to help us tune into our own powerful hunger and appetite cues. By learning how to listen to our own bodies, we have better long-term success in healthy eating!
(Of course, not everyone knows how to do this from the start. It takes a little coaching and some practice.)
Nor does calorie counting help us balance our health goals with our natural human enjoyment of food. In the short term, anyone can turn eating into a numerical and robotic exercise. But, in the long run, this strategy falls apart.
(Just ask anyone who “used to” count calories. You shouldn’t have a hard time finding them.)
There’s another problem with calorie counting: It’s just not all that accurate.
Because of incorrect labeling, laboratory errors, and differences in food quality and preparation, calorie counts recorded on food labels and websites – even those within the USDA’s nutrient databases – can be off by as much as 25%!!!
Bottom line: even if you’re the worlds best calorie counter (and you don’t mind the soul-sucking boredom that comes along with it) the math just doesn’t add up.
Try this different approach to calorie control, using your own hand as the ultimate, portable measurement tool.
For example, men might begin by eating:
- 2 palms of protein dense foods at each meal;
- 2 fists of vegetables at each meal;
- 2 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods at most meals; and
- 2 thumbs of fat dense foods at most meals.
And women might begin by eating:
- 1 palm of protein dense foods at each meal;
- 1 fist of vegetables at each meal;
- 1 cupped handful of carb dense foods at most meals; and
- 1 thumb of fat dense foods at most meals.
First, it helps to see what this looks like. Like, in real life. On a plate.
Then, adjust actual portion sizes up or down, depending on each person’s unique body and goals.
Of course, just like any other form of nutrition planning – including detailed calorie counting – this meal template is just a starting point.
You can’t know exactly how your body will respond in advance. So stay flexible and “steer dynamically”.
Adjust your portions based on your hunger, fullness, overall activity level, and progress towards your goals.
Start with the basic template and then adjust your portions at any time using outcome-based decision-making, aka: “How’s that working for you?”
Remember, if you have any questions or just want further explanation please don’t hesitate to call or email me!