Hands up if you struggle with portion control. Okay, put your hand down now. Every single person that trains with me admits this is their number one struggle when it comes to their diets. Everyone knows what they should be eating. Eating a salad and some lean meat isn’t revolutionary and isn’t going to blow your mind to find out that it may be good for you. The problem we have is figuring how much of that food we can shove in our faces and still lose weight.
Being in a calorie deficit (more calories out than going in) is the aim of the game, but how do we achieve that and live a normal life? Just saying eat less and move more doesn’t help anyone and is just lazy advice. It may be the end result, but adapting that into everyday life doesn’t happen overnight.
One option you can use to control calorie intake is to count calories. Weighing out foods, scanning barcodes and checking the menu before you head out for a meal is always a possibility but not always a reality. The reality of scanning every ingredient before you make dinner for 3 screaming kids, a hungry dog and your other half doesn’t seem that appealing.
There is another way. I want to share a method that I like to use to help control portion sizes and calorie intake without counting calories.
The method I want to show you, involves using your hands. The size of your hands are not going to change and varies for each person. Also, the bigger someone is the bigger their hands will be and therefore will eat more food and vice versa for a smaller person.
I would recommend aiming for leaner protein options such as chicken, fish, eggs, turkey, lean beef and low fat Greek yoghurt. Don’t over complicate it with 1 million and 1 options.
Aim to hit 1 palm of protein in every single meal throughout the day
This section is dedicated to complex carbs such as pastas, breads, rice and oats. Simple carbs such as sugars, sweets and syrups should be kept to a minimum as they are often very easily over consumed.
Aim to hit 1 cupped hand of complex carbs in every meal
Fats are vital to the diet (find out why here) and should be consumed for optimal health. Fats are very calorie dense so portion sizes need to be controlled carefully. Fats include foods such as cheese, milk, nuts and nut butters.
Aim to hit 1 thumbs of fats in every meal
This is exactly what it says on the tin. A wide variety of vegetable should be used to ensure you are getting a mix of vitamins and minerals.
Aim to hit 2 cupped hands of veggies in every meal
Start off by keep a track of these food within a food diary (top tips here) along with the measurement you used. This will be your starting point. You should measure progress against these results regularly and adjust when needed. For example, if you have been sticking with the measurements above for 2 weeks and your body measurements haven’t changed, then you could remove 1 cupped hand of carbs from 1 of your meals a day. Try that for a week and see if that made any difference. If you are unsure of what or how to make changes, then hire someone to help (like me). The measurements will be different for every person and will continue to change based on your bodyweight, activities and your training intensity. This is only a starting guide and requires patience to find what fits your body.
As with every method of tracking calories and portion size there are pros and cons. It works for some people whilst others find it difficult to implement. If you struggle to control to amount of food you eat, I would recommend giving this a go. I’m personally not a big fan of calorie counting (for my diet) so I stick to this method, but I have some clients that love counting calories. If we all liked the same thing, life would be boring.
Easy to adjust to almost any meal
Gives you the freedom to make food choices
Has a degree of inaccuracy (as all portion control methods do)
Requires patience to adjust
Some foods fit across multiple groups
If you need help implementing this into your own lifestyle along with help with your exercise plan, then get in touch today. Click here for 1 to 1 support or click here to join my online program where I teach you how to implement this method into your lifestyle.
The brains, brawn and beauty of Dackattack (basically it’s just me). A personal trainer with a private gym in Norwich, dedicated to giving out simple, actionable advice that will give you outstanding results.