I love Precision Nutrition's hand portion guide. If you are not counting calories, hand portions can give you an easy way to estimate portion sizes. We can control how much we are eating by controlling portions. Portion control can put us into that calorie-deficit that we need to lose weight without counting calories.
The key to portion control with the hand method is to adjust as needed. Because we are all individuals, hand portions are a starting point, and you make the changes based on what your body needs. If you need more protein, add another palm size. If you want fewer carbohydrates, reduce the portion on some meals, and increase the fat portion.
If you lose too much weight, add in more portions. If you gain weight (and that is not your goal), then reduce portions. Outcome-based decision making means you look at your actions and the results they produce and make appropriate changes until you reach your goal.
There is a starting point that we can all follow, but there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to your individual caloric needs.
I never realized how fast I inhaled my food until I learned that we feel fuller, and digest better when we chew slowly and rest between bites. Try to eat less like my dog Dale when I give him a treat (and he tries to eat my hand too) but much more leisurely.
Eating slowing can assist you in eating less because often, we continue to eat after we are full because it takes twenty minutes to send and receive the signal that we're full. If you inhale three servings in under twenty minutes, you may not realize you overdid it until it is too late.
Protein helps us feel fuller between meals and has a higher thermic effect, which means you burn more calories to process it with digestion and absorption than other types of foods.
Protein intake helps you maintain the muscle tissue you have and, combined with resistance training, will promote building muscle. The more muscle you carry around, the higher your metabolism, which helps with losing fat (you burn more calories at rest) and makes maintaining fat loss easier.
Vegetables have low calories with high nutrient-density, which can help you feel fuller while consuming fewer calories. An effective fat loss diet, even one that isn't counting calories or macros, will benefit from consuming adequate protein and vegetables, and for many people that means increasing over your current intake.
If you feel like you are doing everything right, but not seeing the results you desire, I'd challenge you to look at your sleep quality and quantity. Adequate sleep helps regulate and balance hormones, control hunger, and manage stress—all essential for fat loss. Aim for seven to nine quality hours of sleep per night.
While everyone is looking for the magic pill or weight loss supplement, they may be overlooking the basics: sleep and stress-reducing strategies that can aid in weight loss.
Another way to improve your diet without counting calories is to improve the quality of the foods that you are consuming. Reduce or eliminate processed foods from your diet (but occasional indulgences are encouraged).
Food companies specifically manufacture processed foods to make them easy to overeat. They don't even try to hide it; remember that potato chip commercial "Betcha can't eat just one!" They encourage you to overeat.
Whole foods from nature are easier to control portions and have more nutrients, so you feel more satisfied when eating less. Think how easy it is to consume 800-1000 calories in a pizza, you'd be hard-pressed to consume that many calories with chicken and vegetables.
Aim to eat the most minimally processed versions of foods, the closer to the way it is in nature, the better — apples instead of store-bought apple sauce, potatoes instead of french fries, fish instead of frozen fish sticks. You get the idea.
Simpy eating higher quality foods can aid in weight loss with calorie counting because you are less likely to overeat those types of foods.
Using at least one of these strategies can aid in your fat loss journey without calorie counting, however, if you combine all five ideas, plus the bonus tips into your daily habits, you will have even more success.
Do you like the control of counting calories or find it too tedious, like me? There is no right or wrong answer, only we can decide for ourselves what works best for our bodies.
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