Can you recite the caloric value and macronutrient content of canned tuna, chicken, cucumber, tomatoes, apples, and peanut butter like it’s your job? Have you ever had a panic attack while trying to weigh your food to make sure you ate x amount kCals per day?
While tracking caloric and macronutrient intake can be useful over short periods of times – when done for extended periods of time it can warp your psyche. Especially if you lean towards the Type A perfectionist side of things (many of us do, myself included.) While results from adhering to an extremely strict dietary protocol can feel rewarding, it’s the same strict protocols that limit us in our ability to makes choices that serve us better overall and exercise our personal power.
There is a loss of power and choice when you follow a restrictive diet and don’t get to be proactive in choosing what and when you eat based off of your hunger, satiety, and needs. As a living organism with daily fluctuations in energy use and needs and no amount of macronutrient or calorie tracking is going to be able adapt to that.
Luckily we have a built in system in our body that takes care of these daily fluctuations of by regulating our appetite and satiety – and the more you pay attention to these signals the easier it gets. But to get good at listening to your body’s signal that also means you have:
- Stop neglecting hunger; no dieting or excessive restricion of food intakes
- Stop neglecting satiety; eating slowly untill you are satisfied but not ready to burst
You can be strong, healthy, thriving and sane without having the additional stress of counting calories or macronutrients. Your eating strategies need to work for you – not the other way around. You are not bound my chains to your food scale or your diet. Gone are the days of trying to figure out how many Oreos you can eat so you don’t blow your diet. If you’re ready to be free of obsessive food tracking, calorie counting, and restriction but don’t know where to start – read on.
If you’ve ever sat over your kitchen counter in front of scale with you a piece of paper, pen, calculator and tears in your eyes – this guide is for you.
The Hand Guide for a Balanced Diet
The following guide will help outline what foods you should be adding in to your diet on a daily basis and what types of quantities. It is not a rigid restrictive guideline and is flexible system that is inclusive off mostly whole foods that will help you achieve a balanced diet so you can feel great, look great, and thrive. We’re going to to go over the food groups, meal structure, and portion sizes so you’ll be good to go using your most handy and convenient measuring tool – your hand. On ward to a simple, effective, and stress-free dietary system.
|Protein dense foods
Provides us with amino acids to help maintain and rebuild tissues in the body.
Chicken, beef, eggs, turkey, salmon, tuna, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, protein powders, etc.
|Vegetables & Fruits (Fibrous foods)
Provides us with fibre for optimal digestive health as well as being a significant source or micronutrients needed for various chemical processes in the body.
Spinach, peppers, apples, bananas, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, berries, etc.
|Carbohydrate dense foods
Provides us with a direct source of energy for brain function and physical activity.
Rice, quinoa, couscous, oats, noodles, breads, etc.
|Fat dense foods
Important for maintaing cellular health and strucutre as well as synthetiszing hormones in the body.
Olive oil, butter, coconut oil, avocado, cream, nuts, nut butters, seeds, dressings, etc.
In terms of structuring your meals you want to aim to have a balanced plate each time you eat – this means including good sources of protein, fibre, carbohydrate, and fats at each meal. This means adding 1-2 servings of each food category to each meal, this structure is based off of eating 3 – 4 meals per day.
Depending on your size and activity level you may need more food than what is suggested, start with the guideline as a basis and as you get more comfortable feel free to add as you need to based off your levels of hunger and satiety.
|Protein Dense Foods||1 serving per meal||2 servings per meal|
|Vegetables & Fruits (Fibrous foods)||1 serving per meal||2 servings per meal|
|Carbohydrate dense foods||1 serving per meal||2 servings per meal|
|Fat dense foods||1 serving per meal||2 servings per meal|
Last but not least we’re finally at the part where you can throw out your food scale and measuring cup. Your new measuring tool is your lovely hand. The great thing about your hand is that you always have it and can bring it anywhere you go. Secondly, it’s already proportionate to you – meaning if you’re a big person, you have a bigger hand or if you’re a smaller person, you have a smaller hand. It’s hard to go wrong 😉
|Protein Dense Foods||
The size of your palm
|Vegetables & Fruits (Fibrous foods)||
The size of your fist
|Carbohydrate dense foods||
The size of a cupped hand
|Fat dense foods||
The size of your thumb
I know what you’re probably thinking: “That’s all?!” like 90% of the people I’ve ever taught this system.
To which I answer: Yes, that is all. I want you to eat your proteins, your vegetables, your carbs, and your fats. I want you to feel and look great. I want you to have as little stress as possible when it comes to having a healthy balanced diet filled with foods that you love. And most importantly I want you to enjoy the process of eating well and I want you to enjoy the food.
By keeping it simple with this guide, you’re well on your way to feeling great and living your healthiest life both physically and mentally. And if you really want an Oreo at the end of the day after you’ve nourished your body with all these awesome foods – go for it 😉
Are you ready to use the Hand Guide? Are you already using the Hand Guide?
Did this article blow your mind? I want to hear from you.