Do I Need to Count My Calories?

Tracking your calories is the most surefire way to successfully change your body.  If you're trying to lose fat or build muscle you need to be in control of what you eat, and be accountable for it.

However, it's not always possible to track everything you eat.  

It's also possible that you might hate math and the process of tracking your calories may be too stressful for you.  

That doesn't mean you're doomed to failure, it just means you need to employ another method.

There's a simple way you can control your portions without counting your calories.

You just need your hand and the ability to count to 2.

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I learned this method from Dr. John Berardi of Precision Nutrition.    


Protein dense foods like fish, beef, chicken, pork, eggs, etc.

You're probably sick of me saying this, but you're probably not eating enough protein.  Protein will help your muscle repair so it can grow, or at least not shrink.  If you want to look toned, jacked, or any other adjective you need to prioritize your protein intake.

But how much protein should you eat?

Using this method you would use your palm to guide your protein intake.  The serving should be the same width and thickness of your palm.  Don't stack 16 burgers on top of each other.  I've tried it and I did not look good.

1 palm = 1 serving size of protein.  

Women should eat 1 serving with every meal, men should eat 2 servings.  



Carbohydrate dense foods like grains, starches, fruits
Despite what instagram and Cosmo may say, carbohydrates are not the devil.  They are necessary for your body and brain to function.  You need them to fuel your workouts.  

Carbs are also the hardest macronutrient to control because most people find them the most delicious.  For your carb portion you will use your hand, but cup it.

1 cupped hand = 1 serving of carbs.

Again, for men it's 2 servings per meal and for women it's 1 serving. 


Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, asparagus, salad, carrots, etc..

I know a lot of you don't like veggies, and you might be making a fist and shaking it at the screen right now.  Guess what? That's perfect.

Your veggie control guide IS your fist so thank you!

1 fist = 1 serving of veggies. Again, the same width and thickness of your fist.

Men eat 2 servings, women eat 1 serving.  



Fat dense foods like nut butter, oils, butter, nuts/ seeds

Unless you're super cool and keto (don't be) you don't need to eat much fat.  Your serving guide is your thumb.

1 thumb = 1 serving size.

And guess what? Men eat 2, women eat 1.  


This method will only work if you follow it for 3 meals per day. 7 days a week.  This is your guide for EVERY meal you eat.  Not just one or two meals per day.

If you can't comply you will never successfully change your body.  This method is a great choice for those who have no interest in logging each meal, but still want to ensure they are in control of their dietary intake.

Just like macronutrient guidelines this is ONLY a starting point.  You need to adjust YOUR meal choices to your life.  The only diet that works is one that you can commit to, there is no point in trying a diet for 2 weeks then stopping.  

This method is great because it is already customized to your body size.  If you're bigger you'll have a bigger hand, if you're smaller you'll have a smaller hand.  Your serving sizes are already customized to your body, so you don't need ANY math at all. 

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Patrick Henigan