A beginner's guide on how much to eat
We’ve all done it: after enjoying a quick snack, we check the nutrition label only to learn we’ve just eaten two, three or even four servings when we thought we were having one..oops.
How do we avoid this? Portion control!
Controlling your food portions is ideal for anyone who is looking to lose weight as the majority of people are overeating which in turn leads to weight gain (this has become a major problem in America over the years eek!).
But exactly how are we supposed to know how much to eat?
There are very detailed ways to go about this but one easy way is to use your hand and fingers to measure appropriate food portions.
Here is a cheat sheet for estimating portions of specific foods:
Now that we've covered portion, let’s briefly talk about which food categories to eat and why.
Protein (Palm size):
Protein is by far the most filling. It helps you feel more full with less food. This is partly because protein reduces your level of the hunger hormone ghrelin. It also boosts the levels of peptide YY, a hormone that makes you feel full.
Also, it is essential for muscle building! It is the “building block of your muscles”. Therefore, eating adequate amounts of protein helps you maintain your muscle mass and promotes muscle growth when you do strength training.
Examples of protein: Fish, seafood, white-meat poultry, lean beef, lean pork, beans
Carbohydrates (Fist size):
Carbs are our body’s primary source of energy.
Going for a run? Your body burns carbs first.
Got a test you are studying for? Those mental calories are burning carbs.
Training for a heavy front squat? Your body needs carbs to fuel that lift.
Mowing the lawn? You are burning carbohydrates!
Moral of the story…carbs are essential and NOT the enemy!!
Examples of carbohydrates:
Veggies (asparagus, broccoli, potato), fruit (apples, blackberries, mango), whole grains (brown rice, oatmeal, whole wheat bread
Fat (Thumb size):
Dietary fat is our secondary source of energy. Fat, like carbs can be stored in our bodies for use later. Eating dietary fat helps with feelings of satiety (feeling full), nutrient absorption, and healthy hormone production. The bottom line is..we need dietary fat to function.
Examples of Fats: Avocado, nuts, fatty fish, extra virgin olive oil, eggs, hummus
If you want to take portion control a step further, you can count your calories. There are ways to do this using a BMR calculator online, however this will only give you your BASELINE calories. The problem is they are “one size fits all” and there is much more to take into account regarding calorie intake.
On the other hand, if you want a deeper understanding of what you need, I recommend working with a coach to understand your personal nutrition needs and how to apply them into your everyday life. Most importantly, how to choose the best foods that will fit into your lifestyle to help you achieve your goals.
If you are interested in having me calculate your calories, shoot me an email at email@example.com or DM me on Instagram @built_by_brianne.
Lastly, if you are looking for sample meal plans, I’ve created a FREE 5-day fat loss challenge, click here here to sign up today!