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You Don’t Have to Count Calories - Look at Your Hand Instead!

You Don’t Have to Count Calories - Look at Your Hand Instead!

Within the past few years a lot of really cool “fitness technology” has come out. You can track your activity level by counting steps with your phone or with a wrist-based device. Cardio machines track your heart rate and estimate the calories you expend. If you’ve taken classes at ZONE 5 Fitness, we send you a report with calorie stats and heart rate zone information.  You can use apps and websites to count calories and track everything you eat.


Whether your goals are to lose weight, gain muscle, or generally improve your fitness and health, everywhere you look something is telling you that you need to know how many calories, grams of proteins, carbs, and fats you eat every day, and how many calories you expend during the day. And I’ve done it, I’ve tracked my nutrition intake using spreadsheets and apps, and used heart rate monitors to track workout expenditures. In order to gain or lose weight we need to shift our energy balance, and counting calories is an effective way of achieving that shift.  It is a system that works, there is no doubt about it, but that doesn’t mean it is the only way to achieve great results and nutritional control. And there is one big drawback to calorie counting. It can be a real pain in the butt! It takes a lot of time and effort to get it right, you have to measure or weigh everything you eat, plan out your day’s worth of eating ahead of time so you don’t go over or under your target calories, and don’t even get me started on making sure you have the right balance of protein carbs and fat. What do you do if you can’t find the nutrition facts for something you eat at a restaurant or over at the family's place over the holidays? The numbers start to get a little fuzzy. If you’ve ever tried to control your diet this way you know it can be downright exhausting! Most of us simply can’t do this forever, and why would you want to?  The good news is there’s an easier way that can be just as accurate and much less stressful. You don’t have to be constrained to the same pre-calculated meals and foods; you can eat regular healthy whole foods and achieve amazing results and body transformations. How can you do this? Here is a simple guide from Precision Nutrition on portion control looking no farther than your hand for measurements - no calorie calculator necessary!  If you’ve tried calorie counting, struggled to be consistent, and didn’t get the results you wanted, give this method a try. Experiment with portions, evaluate the results, and adjust accordingly.

Here’s the Breakdown from Precision Nutrition:

For men, most meals should include:
2 palms of protein-dense foods
2 fists of vegetables
2 cupped hands of carb-dense foods
2 thumbs of fat-dense foods
For women, most meals should include:
1 palm of protein-dense foods
1 fist of vegetables
1 cupped hand of carb-dense foods
1 thumb of fat-dense foods

Not sure which foods fall into which categories or how to make these portions into a meal? Need help adjusting the portions to fit your needs? If you have these or any other questions on how to implement this hand measurement system into your meals, feel free to contact me at: I would be happy to set up a free nutrition coaching consultation to discuss your goals and how to implement Precision Nutrition’s principles into your eating habits.

Thanks for reading! If you found this post helpful and want more info on diet and nutrition, check back next week for my next post on how you can make new diet habits stick.  If you’re tired of “riding the rollercoaster” and want more consistency and control while achieving lasting results, this one is for you!

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