Welcome to Part II
What to eat and how much to eat
I appreciate a lot of people do not wish to weigh their food. It takes the fun out of eating, it’s boring, it’s too anal, it’s difficult if you eat out or have food made for you, I get it. But there is still a way that you can control what you consume. By using your eyes.
If you cannot record, you cannot change. If you cannot measure in some weigh (see what I did there…) how on earth can you possibly manage how much you eat?
A great alternative is to use your hand size as a guideline.
The standard recommendation is to consume 3-4 meals a day.
Use your hand as your reference.
For men: 2 palms of protein, 2 cupped handfuls of carbs (fruit, grain, or starch), 2 fists of vegetables, 2 thumbs of fat.
For women: 1 palm of protein, 1 cupped handful of carbs (fruit, grain, or starch), 1 fist of vegetables, 1 thumb of fat.
This is the middle. Eat like this and adjust accordingly. Some people may find that they are getting tired in the afternoon, that they feel low on energy (there’s that word again), their performance goes down (work or exercise) and so for those people I would suggest slightly increasing your consumption (by half cups and half fists). Try a little more fat, if that doesn’t help, reduce the fat back down and try more carbs. If you feel you are gaining weight, return the carbs, and try more protein.
If on the other hand, you feel you are gaining weight, then slightly reduce your portion sizes. Start with dropping your carbs down, then try dropping your fats down. I would highly suggest you don’t drop your proteins down unless the whole plate size is being reduced.
The last thing you want to reduce is protein and the first thing you need to control is your calorie consumption.
Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all approach, there is just a general consensus. Control your portions yourself, not through some book.
Start in the middle and work either upward or down
You have to make your diet personal to you. Some people will perform better with carbs and will shout it from the hilltop and publish books on it with hundreds of success stories. You then try it and when you become upset that it didn’t work you think there is something wrong with you and thus you give up. Noooo. It’s just that your body doesn’t function the same as the person who wrote that book.
You are a unique snowflake – act like it… just minus the drama!
If you are already lean, chances are you do well with carbs (but again that’s just me talking, you still have to go out and do your own testing!). So maybe men can get away with 3 (handfuls) carbs and 1 (thumb) fat. Females in this example – 1.5 carbs + ½ thumb.
If however, you have some curves to your swing you may want to try:
M: 1 carb, 2 fat
F: ½ carb, 1 fat
You really have to sit with one measurement and STICK TO IT for at least a month… UNLESS and here comes the caveat… If you feel that you are starting to gain body fat quickly then you may want to reduce your calories after a couple of weeks. But you still have to give your body time to adjust to a regular input of what I call conscious calories.
Before now, if you have not been paying attention to what you stuff into your face and your body is fluctuating all over the place, it may take a couple of weeks for your body to actually settle into a rhythm. So, it may go up and down and up and up and down and around but it may after a short period readjust and settle. You have to give your body time to adjust and this is a major issue with the lack of patience most people possess when it comes to losing weight.
Problems arise when your body fluctuates and goes up and then you quit this ‘stupid diet’ and go back to what you did before and now you’re just heavier than before you started and cursing the day I was born.
You have to give it time
I will say this again as it is worth repeating. When you start to take conscious control of your food consumption, you have to give time for your body to adjust and just trust the system.
If after a couple of weeks, you find that you have not dropped any body fat then you can consciously slightly drop your portion sizes. Once you make a small adjustment, again give your body time to adjust to the new portions sizes. On the flip side, you can maybe aim to burn a few extra calories. Go for an evening walk, take a class at the gym, GO to the gym even.
You just cannot give up on the process, which is what most people do when they look at the bloody scales…
So, you have managed to stick to an eating plan for 2 weeks and you give it another 2 weeks, then and only then do you make small adjustments. Make one single adjustment and then see how your body responds. If it’s going in the right direction don’t increase what you did in the hope of faster results, you may end up compromising your metabolism at the expense of impatience.
You have to take the time to focus on your calorie intake and macro balance. You have to make your nutrition plan personal to you.
I wrote in a connecting article all about macros which can be found here.
Some people will thrive with higher carbs and lower fats and others will be the absolute opposite. You have to figure that out though. No book will tell you what is the best combination, you have to try various combinations and see what works best for you.
We all want the easy way but unfortunately, there is only the hard way and that is through trial and error. You may be one of the lucky ones that figure out what works for you – then you just need to stick to it – but don’t be the one that writes a book on it.
For others and I guess by the current state of the general population, people either haven’t found out their unique combination or they know what it is and just point blankly refuse to accept it.
Start from the middle and work outwards.
Now here lies the rub…
For part III, continue here