Tag Archives: health

Change Is Hard But If There Is A Will There Is A Way

Change is always hard but if there is a will there is always a way.

When I was in class for my real estate license I became extremely sick. Severe bronchitis, and it wasn’t being made better by my 18 year cigarette smoking habit. One exhausting morning of coughing, hacking and not being able to breath I caught myself trying to smoke!  Then a first happened to me, I got angry at my habit/ dependance on cigarettes. I threw my pack away, and swore I would never touch one again.

This is not the first time I have tried to quit. I have attempted and failed many times. I knew I should quit and why I should quit, but there was always something holding me back. I would cling to the idea that it was a stress relief, or that I enjoyed it.  I’ve come to realize that’s all rationalization for what i truly had-an addiction and a pretty bad one, at that. I was smoking up to a  pack and a half to two packs a day and not slowing down.

It has been six months and counting since I have quit cold turkey. I currently live with a smoker and I do not miss it, one bit! I cannot stand the smell and I feel better. All it took was not allowing excuses to give up. Change is hard, especially a change like this but anything worth doing is going to be difficult. No more excuses, if there is a will there is away and I have found my will.

Always be unapologetically yourself,

-Ali

It’s A Win!

It’s a win!

I’ll be totally honest…sometimes doing the right thing to get to your goals can literally suck the life out of you. As someone who’s had Hashimotos Thyroiditis since I was 8 years old I now struggle with more than just my thyroid because I was put on synthroid at such an early age and it has degraded my bones. A lot of people who know me know I’ve been dealing with slipped discs, degenerative disc disease, & arthritis over the past few years. Two years ago I was having to do physical therapy just to function without pain (I am very anti meds which makes a lot of doctors dislike me or see me as a problem). Plus my TSH had creeped up over 7 (higher is actually lower & it should be between a 1.5-3) even on Armor Thyroid & I wondered if I would even be normal again on an even functional level.

Fast forward two years later. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of the negative people and stressors in my life, gotten a divorce, exercise, & limit my processed food intake. I’ve also lost a lot of weight-maybe not the quick fix way that’s popular these days but it’s been a slow and steady trip and in all honestly I’m still not at my goal weight or energy level. I still struggle with being motivated to get up, get moving, & out the door some mornings I’ll admit I drink a ton of coffee to function and be cheerful on the phone. But I’m working on myself-I’m just not speedy. Hopefully I’ll be there someday.

But….I did hit a huge goal this week….I hit single digit pants sizes. It’s an 8. Progress & I’m a functioning adult taking care of my boys and able to move without pain. Ironically this wasn’t with the huge weight loss I wanted (I weigh myself twice a day) but I noticed my pants (10s & 12s) were literally falling off-so I ran out one kid free night to find some pants. It’s not perfection but I’ll take it.

~Bethany

You can follow Bethany on her blog at https://fake-it-until-you-make-it.com

A Bunny Makes A Great Listener

As I am feeding fluids to my daughter’s new bunny with an eyedropper, I am abruptly reminded of my daughter’s first years where I had roughly the same fight each day. This bunny means so much to us and I tell him this. He needs to stick around.

There is no accurate way to describe the heavy, sick feeling of desperation and terror that accompanies having an infant who cannot breathe, who cannot nurse or easily drink. This bunny forces me to remember just how much I hate that feeling. “I can’t lose this one” should not be a mantra for your life yet it was mine for a very, very long time.

This little bunny reminds me of the painful past we both survived.

This little bunny reminds of all we do as Moms.

How we beat ourselves up, turn ourselves inside out, drag ourselves to work and back, power through a stomping child’s tantrums, emergency room visits and the landfill of toys that is your house.

This bunny reminds me of what I have done.

With complete certainty, I knew my daughter was meant for me. She was my Rory Gilmore. It was going to be rainbows and puppy dogs forever. We would hold hands and skip off into the sunset.

So why can’t we get out of our own way? Why can’t we just enjoy each other each day?

Sucked down in the muck of trudging to work (and school), the sadness of leaving them only to have your hopes dashed at the end of the day when, excited and happy to see your child, you get a possessed Linda Blair instead.

Why can’t I handle her moods better and create a warm-happy-daydream evening for us every day?

I dream of long vacations where there are no time constraints, no looming job over my head, no homework, no chores, no mess. When we do get a vacation every few years, it is bliss and flies by in a blink. So how do I create a vacation kind of bond with my child? How do I feed that tethered link of love and connection every day?

The answer I have is to listen.

Listen with my nose in my phone? Nope. I must listen with my whole being. Listening with all of my heart and my eyes wide open is like directing a beam of light shining down on her that says,
“I care. I give a crap. I want to know what you do, how you think, what you dream about.”

Obvious, right?

My challenge, see how long you can listen to your child without putting away groceries and turning away, without putting away clothes, cleaning up a mess. Just stop. Maybe it is not always feasible but the times you can, do it. Make it a habit. Research suggests it takes 21 days to form a habit so try for 21 days to take moments of the day to stop everything and listen.

I know. I am the only one that keeps us on a schedule too and in the morning I often say,
“You can tell me in the car.” ”You can tell me after we get home.”

Sometimes she just needs me to stop and I feel I have forgotten this.

This little bunny is part of my elaborate plan for everyday is a vacation, when you are doing what you love with the people you want to be with. This means mom-daughter bonding moments in the care and cuddling of bunnies and road trips to rabbit shows. We joined 4H, which means among other things, visits to farms, joining a rabbit club, holding and posing animals. “I recommend 4H for every child. There are limitless opportunities to grow and learn with 4H. Real world opportunities for kids to master their future. And for us, 4H is the vacation in everyday life that we get to repeat every week.

A lot rides on this little bunny. My daughter now has a little furry person of her own to worry about, to care for, love and cuddle. Who will hopefully drink.

Thank you little bunny. Good talk.

Bernae

Life Ain’t Always Beautiful

 

 

I’m the baby of five children with eleven years separating me from the youngest of my siblings.  You can rest assured that I’ve been asked at least fifty-eleven times if I was a mistake.  The short answer is no.  Have you ever known me to stop with the short answer?  Okay, so you know that this time is no different and you know that I have a story to tell.

My grandfather, my Mom’s dad, was an electrician, and they moved around quite a bit.  When they lived in Kentucky though, they lived about a block and a half away from where my dad grew up.  My mom and my dad went to the same school during those years and walked the same sidewalks and my dad thought my mom was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.  I wish I had a dollar for every time I made my mom tell me this story.  She was so very shy.  She knew that Dad had a crush on her and so she would see him coming and she would cross the street to the opposite sidewalk to try to avoid running into him.  Lord knows that every socially awkward statement that has ever come out of my mouth was the exact reason my mother opted to go with avoidance.  I regret nothing.  I wish.

By high school, my mother was living in Michigan and my dad was in a military boarding school.  Their lives had moved in totally different directions.  Mom graduated from high school and got married.    Mom had four children in a very short period of time.  Which is why when I say she was always the most patient person alive, I can speak with confidence.  Dad joined the Army, got married and when the Vietnam War began he found himself in Japan.

Then the unthinkable happened.  My mother’s first husband was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident.  My mother was a widow and my siblings had lost their father.  I can’t imagine what that time was like for my mother but she ended up packing up her four young children and moving back to Kentucky.  Around the same time, my dad was newly divorced and also making his way back to Kentucky…

So this is NOT where I’m going to pretend that their marriage was magical or perfect or even hard in the way that every marriage is hard because I don’t think that would be accurate or fair.  I think it was pretty difficult.  But I also think that my mom really, really, really, loved my dad, (and I know she still does), and I know that my dad really, really, really, loves my mom and always has.

Dad is in the hospital.  It’s becoming the norm lately.  I guess that’s how it is when you have stage four cancer.  I have sat with him through appointment after appointment and over and over I have heard doctors ask him what he wants.  What his expectations are.  What his concerns are.  What questions he has.  Over and over I have heard  his answers begin with, “My wife has Alzheimer’s…”

Tonight was no different.  The cardiologist asked him if he wanted them to try to resuscitate him if he coded and Dad began with his usual, “My wife has Alzheimer’s.”  Then he continued with the same responses I have heard him give every single doctor since he was first diagnosed.

My wife has Alzheimer’s.  She’s in Calvert City.  I just want to be able to drive there to see her.  I don’t want to be too sick to do that.  I just want to be able to see her as long as I can.  She looks forward to seeing me.  She has the biggest smile when I walk in.”

Their marriage wasn’t perfect, but maybe love doesn’t have to be.

Life ain’t always beautiful, but it’s a beautiful life.

<3 LA

You can see more of LA at https://sweeterinthesouth.blog/

The Life Of Normal

I am normal. What I consider to be normal anyway. I have brown hair and blue eyes. My skin is nothing spectacular. My body is what I consider normal. I am 5’7” and have the body of a mom of 3. I am a size 14. I have the dreaded C-section shelf (I had 3). I have saggy boobs but they still look pretty decent. I am a B/C cup. I have a kind of saggy butt. My thighs shake when I walk and I have cellulite. My arms aren’t bad but they jiggle. My stomach is…well…my stomach. I have a muffin top. I wear minimal makeup…don’t get my toes done…or my nails…or tan in a tanning bed. Normal.

I am also divorced, a mom of 3 and 36 years old. Yeah…there is all that!

So I would say I am pretty normal. I am working on feeling better about my normal self though. I will never be perfect. I will never be skinny. I will never have the perfect stomach and that is okay…most of the time.

I can however have a body that I am more comfortable it. That doesn’t mean starving myself or running until I pass out. It doesn’t even mean joining a gym.

Let me tell you what I have been doing for the past 2 months. I have slowly been changing the way I eat. I do mean slowly. I have been watching my calories…not stressing but really keeping an eye on them. I have been trying to eat healthy. You would be surprised how many calories you can consume when you don’t think about it. Don’t get me wrong…I still eat the damn cake!

I have also started adding in exercise. I hate it. I have 3 kids so where is the time…where is the privacy…and don’t get me started on interruptions. I use workouts on YouTube. These workouts are 4 – 10 minutes. You don’t have to about die to feel like you have done a work out. You don’t have to have hours to incorporate them in your day. Just minutes. Let me tell you…I feel so much better when I do them. I am not as consistent with them as I would like to be but baby steps, you know!

Society tells us that we have to take that major jump…keto…30 day challenges…but I am telling you we don’t have to add this stress to our lives. Believe me I have enough to deal with being a working, single mom of 3 kids! I am sure you do too! So I guess the point is…baby steps. A little effort will go a long way and don’t be afraid to be normal while you are taking those steps!


~Ann~

Halfway To 90 and Still Going Strong

My next birthday will fall upon Wednesday of next week. I will be halfway to the age of 90.

Let me take a breath to take this all in, insert heavy pregnant pause here. This drove my mind today. Try as I might, the numbers weren’t posting because my brain was sitting in Las Vegas. At a very posh hotel, baking in the sun, drinking a pina colada. This was how I celebrated 40.

What could I say at 40? I pontificated while sunbathing by the pool. Trying to feel adult and put together a respectful lesson to deliver on the return  to KY. Have I found the key to success? Did I have it all? Was I ever going to go back to college? Chase my career of working in law? Too heavy a subject for that day. I did keep asking myself: what is 40? Until I came home. And for the next 60 days, it was the same question. My much anticipated aha moment came in August.

Literally, overnight, a rash erupted on my lower arm. The biopsy returned with sjogren’s syndrome and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. I sat in shocked silence. This was the answer to my fatigue, to the butterfly rash on my face, the reason why my eyes are dry. Yes! I have the reason. Great! Flip that onto the not so great. I have two autoimmune disorders that are incurable. Chronic for the rest of my days.

This was the awakening that I was having for 40. It was time to chuck the small mindedness of everyday life. It was the kick in the backside to learn to enjoy my time on Mother Earth. It was time to live my life out loud and to do as I please. It was time to step forward and “do me”.

Five years later, I still wake up with the same credo. It hasn’t failed me yet. Don’t wait for the diagnosis to get your attention. Step up everyday and “do you”. It’s the best feeling in the world!

Striving for exceptional-Tristen Ahlsey

COLOR Me Healthy!

Color Me Healthy…..

Powerful Phytochemicals

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you should eat fruits and vegetables. That’s like telling someone they should breathe clean air and drink pesticide-free water and not sit naked on an ice block; common knowledge stuff.

But despite the universal recommendation to eat fruits and vegetables, few people know why, other than the usual vague generalities. Go ahead, ask someone. Ask your mother. Maybe she took an introductory nutrition class in college so she’ll say, “Because of the riboflavin, honey,” but she’d be only partly right.

The reason fruits and vegetables are good for us isn’t only because of the vitamins and minerals in them (although they’re certainly a plus), but because of the incredibly wide array of phytochemicals they contain.

Whenever you hear someone ascribe some miraculous power to a fruit or vegetable, like avocados cure cancer or that pomegranate gives you hefty, carrot-like erections, it’s because of the biologically active compounds in plants known as phytochemicals.

Some, however, appear to be far more powerful than others and may keep your liver healthy, shore up your heart, give you super night vision, coerce your fat cells into disgorging fat, and preferentially cause nutrients to be stored in muscle. Luckily, the most powerful of these phytochemicals can easily be identified by their color.

The Color That Shouts “Eat Me”

Here’s how the classification system breaks down:

  • Phytochemicals contain major categories like carotenoids and polyphenols.
  • These major categories, in turn, include phenolic acids, flavanoids, and stilbenes/lignans.
  • Flavanoids include the flavones, flavanones, flavanols, isoflavones, and anthyocyanins.

It’s possible to break them down even further and in different directions, but it’s this last subcategory that contains phytochemicals of particular interest, and that’s the anthocyanins.

They’re found in teas, honeys, wines, nuts, olive oils, cocoa, cereals, and certain fruits and vegetables. Some foods, in particular though, are colored red, purple, or indigo (blue), and that means they’re stuffed with anthocyanins. It’s the blue or indigo color that might be the most powerful of all, though.

Why Anthocyanins Are So Dang Cool

Here’s a short list of some of the things anthocyanins do:

  1. Shrinks body fat and grows muscle: Science is always looking for a pill that mimics the effects of exercise. We already have one. It’s called the blueberry. The fruit is rich in a particular anthocyanin called cyanidin 3-glucoside and multiple studies have shown it causes muscles to slurp up carbs from the blood. That way, you give muscles what they need to grow while simultaneously preventing fat cells from expanding.
  2. Fights diabetes: Since anthocyanins, cyanidin 3-glucoside, in particular, help muscles become more insulin sensitive and absorb more sugar, they have the potential to be a functional food against diabetes. In one study they fared better than the anti-diabetic drug acarbose in inhibiting alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase, two enzymes that break down starches to glucose.
  3. Prevents cancer: Various studies have shown anthocyanins to stop metastasis of breast cancer cells; to block tumor cells from forming in cases of prostate cancer; to fight colon cancer; to prevent pre-cancerous mouth tumors from becoming malignant; and to stop cancer metastasis in general.
  4. Boosts brain power: Anthocynanins have been shown to slow the rate of cognitive decline.
  5. Improves vision: Anthocyanins can improve night vision and prevent eye fatigue.
  6. Promotes liver health: Livers fortified by anthocyanins are much less prone to alcohol damage.
  7. Ensures heart health: A study with over 93,600 young and middle-aged women found that anthocyanins reduced risk of heart attack by 32%. The phytochemicals also keep blood pressure low.

What Foods Contain Anthocyanins?

As mentioned, any natural food that’s red, indigo (blue), or purple likely contains a good deal of anthyocyanins, stuff like blueberries, blackberries, cherries, cranberries, eggplant, plums, grape juice, prunes, red wine, apples, red beans, red beets, purple rice, and strawberries.

The only problem is that the bioavailability of anthocyanins is ridiculously low. Studies have shown that after eating plant matter rich in anthocyanins, less than 1% were detectable in plasma and urine, which is all the more reason to eat as many of them on a regular basis as possible (the theory being that the more you eat, the more anthocyanins you jam through).

 

Time to FEEL Amazing!!!

Disclaimer: This blog is NOT trying to sell you on Apple Cider Vinegar, and is not a gimmick strategy to lose weight, or make you an astronaut, or any kind of super hero.

It IS a method to learn how to CRAVE healthier foods again, which in turn might help you get healthier, exercise more, and then just maybe become a super hero! So relax, read it, and give it a shot, or leave it and just say pooh!

Craving Healthy Foods

Why is it that with all of the current information on healthy eating, we are getting heavier, and weaker? We still seem to eat to much and move to little, why? Most Americans still make poor food choices, continually eat fast foods, and eat out at restaurants way to often. We have literally created our cravings for these poor choice foods. The good news, we can create cravings for healthy, nutritious, and delicious foods as well.

The ultimate answer to “why” is these foods taste good! Or, have trained ourselves to believe they taste good, and continually crave what “tastes good?”

We have become obsessed with the flavors of salt, sugar, fat, MSG, HFCS, simple refined carbohydrates, and more. Obviously this affects our appearance, day to day health and fitness, long-term health, and most importantly our feelings of well being.

Breaking free from the habit of poor eating, and learning to crave healthy, nutritious, and delicious foods does have it’s overwhelming positives such as;

-Creating leaner, stronger muscles over a lifetime

-Increased longevity

-Actually looking healthier and more attractive naturally

-Drastic improvements in the way your skin looks and feels

-Dramatically fewer sick days

-Minimal digestive problems

-Greater potential for strength gains through lifting weights (feeling better)

-Increased vitality

-Seems like a great trade off right? The bottom line really is that clean, healthy and natural foods can actually taste just as good as the processed, and fast foods.

Now, how to make clean and healthy food taste good!

The secret to making clean and healthy food taste good is to recognize that your taste buds adapt over time to what they are given. Just like muscles do to the demands you place on them.

Your taste buds will gradually adjust depending on what you eat. Healthy food tastes ‘plain’ ‘bitter’ or ‘boring’ to most people because they are accustomed to eating “the other stuff” 24/7.

Once you begin to eat healthy and natural food consistently, you will quickly realize that most restaurant food today is over-salted, over-sauced and over-seasoned, and over-priced. Processed foods are even worse, and fast food and junk food (literal garbage) is so extreme in terms of taste that it’s like bludgeoning your taste buds to death.

Once we eat mostly healthy and clean food, something like a plain sweet potato tastes delicious! When we eat natural and healthy foods for a while, the same thing will happen to all of us.

On the other hand, I know people who eat only restaurant food or take-away, candy, ice cream, and sweetened drinks. Their taste buds have adapted and now they can’t eat anything else.

I have watched people try a green juice made of carrot, apple and beetroot, “a very sweet combination.” But they still found it disgusting, because even the sweetest natural flavors pale in comparison to the taste of high fructose corn syrup. This is just a sad truth.

We have collectively gotten ourselves stuck in an unfortunate eating trap. Our taste buds are so far gone that the only way for them to get any kind of pleasure from food is to eat something that is terrible for us. H.E.L.P.

Resetting our taste buds

You can get to the point where you enjoy natural, healthy food as much as you currently enjoy eating “that stuff,” the key is to do it gradually.

If you try to overhaul your entire diet all at once, it will be way too hard. Rather, if you’re accustomed to eating a lot of junk then slowly cut down on it. If you hardly eat any, then it will be easier for you to get to the point where you eat none at all.

Over time your taste buds will re-sensitize to natural, healthy food. Within a few months you can easily get to the point where plain foods taste good and a little bit of seasoning makes a world of difference.

This is a healthy process and can be extremely tasty too!

This is a good place to be. Because we’re no longer attached to getting pleasure from taste, our food choices can be based on things we value more like health, fitness goals, energy levels, mental performance, vitality and so on.

Can we actually detach from the need to get pleasure from taste altogether?

To take this one step further, it is possible to almost completely detach ourselves from the need to get pleasure from taste at all? That doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy the flavors of foods, it is just not our main driver for eating.

The way to do this is the same as the above, gradually increase the amount of healthy food, and drink in our diet until it’s the majority of what we’re eating. The 80|20 Rule

It actually does help to consciously remember that food is just one avenue for pleasure in our life, one that most people get far too attached to and that is probably a lot less necessary than we think.

Tasting food is great, but ultimately it’s nothing more than a few minutes of pleasant mouth-sensation. People who value this momentary pleasure over properly functioning physiology, longevity, clear thinking, high energy levels and the like have their priorities backwards. They become susceptible to eating for comfort, not for fuel. This is one of the leading contributors to overeating and obesity.

Experiment with fasting and you’ll realize that hunger is just a feeling that comes and goes, and it’s one that doesn’t have to determine how or what you eat. We’re not going to die if we don’t eat for 16, 18 or even 24 hours, in fact you’ll probably feel pretty good. Your relationship to hunger is adaptable in the same way as your taste buds are.

Visualize to yourself and internalize “those foods” are literally like garbage for your body, you are worth more than eating garbage. They are not things that should be put in a human body. Picture the process and ingredients that go into a fast food burger or a potato chip while you’re eating it, and think about how those things will interact with the organic system inside your body. It won’t taste half as good, trust me on that!

Now this doesn’t mean that you should never get pleasure from tasting great food. All it means is that you don’t need to get pleasure from taste alone, you can develop the ability to decide when you want to and when you don’t. You are no longer a slave to foods, and there flavors, you are now a mindful eater. Plus you will FEEL AWESOME!!!

Ultimately you can take complete control over how you feel and act towards food and taste; first reset your taste buds and then detach from taste altogether, and you will have the freedom to eat whatever you want, anytime you want, without sacrifice or suffering at all.

Taste Bud Re-Set:

Do this for 3 days.

Craving Healthy Food Strategy

*Re-Set Drink (before breakfast)

NO coffee (if this creates a total freak out, just plain please and 2 cups MAX)

Light Breakfast:

Steel Cut Oatmeal, 1 citrus fruit, banana (or berries)

Water (12-16OZ)

Light Lunch:

Re-Set Drink

Salad with fresh vegetables, and 1 protein (chicken or egg), 1 fruit (grapes, berries)

Water (12-16OZ)

Light Dinner:

Re-Set Drink

Piece of fish (ideally) or chicken, bright fresh or frozen vegetables

Water (12-16OZ)

Please stand firm and do this for 3 day. You can manipulate the proteins around for your 3 days. Do not season the foods during these 3 days.

_________________________________________________________________

*Re-Set Drink Recipe:

1.) 12+ OZ of water, add

2.) 4 tablespoons of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar “the Mother”

3.) 4 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

4.) 1 Teaspoon cinnamon

5.) 1/2 Teaspoon ginger

6.) Pinch of Cayenne Pepper

7.) Tablespoon of raw local honey, or raw stevia (1 packet or 1/4 teaspoon).

Stir, heat up to the temp of a herbal tea

Drink this 3 times per day before meals

It actually tastes like an Herbal Tea to me

Track how you feel.

Enjoy

My Blessings Are Many

My blessings are many and picking 5 is beyond difficult for me. Today is a good day for me to think about my blessings and all the things I should be grateful for. It has been a shit show of a few days for me and have been feeling sorry for myself and rather self absorbed in my misery. The topic of picking 5 blessings in my life couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time.

  1. My Faith-My faith is a blessing and a gift. I think it’s so important for everyone to have something to believe in, a higher power if you will. Something bigger than yourself.
  2. My husband-Quite frankly, he is the best thing that has ever happened to me. He couldn’t of come into my life at any more of a perfect time than he did. I was a year out from my divorce, broke, depressed, didn’t trust a soul, hopeless….he showed me and reminded me that I was worthy of being loved, and everything he has ever promised me he has done and more. Seriously-there are men out there that say what they mean and mean what they say. They will come through and be the man that you need them to be.
  3. My children-I have these beautiful perfect children that are the greatest things I have or will ever accomplish. There is nothing that will compare to anything else I will ever do in my life than my children.
  4. A Home-Not a house but a home. A place where the us and the kids love and want to be. The love, the laughing, and everything in between.
  5. Health-I am a 42 year old female who is slightly over-weight and likes to have a drink here and there. My health is good. My children and my husband are healthy.

Writing these 5 things today for you and for myself has already improved my mood tremendously. These are the things I need to dwell on every day! And not the things that are bothering me.

 

Love to All-Kim

Stop Counting Calories…

Stop Counting Calories…PLEASE!

Math?

To plan dinner?

Can’t there be a better way?

 

Yep… Just take a look at your hand. Use your fist, palm, cupped hand, and thumb to practice calorie control, while avoiding the hassle of counting calories.

 

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times:  The best, maybe even the only, way to lose weight is to count calories.

 

After all, it’s a pretty simple equation: Calories in vs. calories out. Eat more calories than you burn, and you gain weight. Eat fewer calories than you burn and you lose weight.

 

Except counting calories isn’t that simple.

The problems with counting calories

 

First of all, on the “calories in” side, you do need to figure out how many calories are in the foods you want to eat.  And that takes handbooks, websites, databases and math. Just to plan your lunch, algebra  Ugh…

Next, you have to assume that the handbooks, websites, and databases’ calorie estimates are correct.  They’re often not.  In fact, research has shown they can be off by about 25% because of incorrect labeling, laboratory measurement error, and food quality.

 

Then, of course, there’s the “calories out” side.  Estimating your calorie expenditure each day comes with another 25% measurement error because of the equipment you’re using, laboratory measurement errors, and individual differences.

A possible 25% error on the “calories in” side, and another 25% error on the “calories out” side.

Is it even worth___:

  • pulling out measuring cups to a chorus of boos from family members;
  • dusting off the food scale while trying to ignore the taunts of friends;
  • wheeling in the abacus from the den to keep up the calorie tally;
  • subscribing to apps and web services to track these less-than-accurate numbers?

 

Sure, we should have an idea of how much food we’re eating each day, so we can adjust based on our goals. But counting calories itself is a drag!  No wonder so many people give up and go back to eating the way they were before.

The calorie counting antidote

Here’s the good news: counting calories is rarely necessary.

No more carrying around weigh-scales and measuring cups.  No calculators, algebra, or smart phones.

*All you need is the ability to count to two. And your own hand(s).

Here how it works:

  • Your palm determines your protein portions.
  • Your fist determines your veggie portions.
  • Your cupped hand determines your carb portions.
  • Your thumb determines your fat portions.

 

To determine your protein intake:

For protein-dense foods like meat, fish, eggs, dairy, or beans, use a palm sized serving.

*For men let’s recommend two palm-sized portions with each meal.

*For women let’s recommend one palm-sized portion with each meal.

Note: a palm-sized portion is the same thickness and diameter as your palm.

 

To determine your vegetable intake:

For veggies like broccoli, spinach, salad, carrots, etc. use a fist-sized serving.

Men let’s recommend 2 fist-sized portions of vegetables with each meal.

Women let’s recommend 1 fist-sized portion of vegetables with each meal.

Again, a fist-sized portion is the same thickness and diameter as your fist.

 

To determine your carbohydrate intake:

For carbohydrate-dense foods, grains, starches, or fruits, use a cupped hand to determine your serving size.

Men let’s recommend 2 cupped-hand sized portions of carbohydrates with most meals.

Women let’s recommend 1 cupped-hand sized portion of carbohydrates with most meals.

 

 

 

To determine your fat intake:

For fat-dense foods, such as; oils, butters, nut butters, nuts/seeds, use your entire thumb to determine your serving size.

Men let’s recommend 2 thumb-sized portions of fats with most meals.

Women let’s recommend 1 thumb-sized portion of fats with most meals.

 

A note on body size:

Of course, if you’re a bigger person, you probably have a bigger hand. And if you’re a smaller person… you get the idea.  Your own hand is a personalized (and portable) measuring device for your food intake. Now once you get the hang of this you won’t look so weird at your favorite restaurant using hand type signals, just kidding!

 

It’s true, some people do have larger or smaller hands for their body size.  Still, our hand size correlates pretty closely with general body size, including muscle, bone, the whole 9 yards.

Meal planning flexibility

 

Based on the guidelines above, which assume you’ll be eating about 3 – 4 times a day, you now have a simple and flexible guide for meal planning.

 

For men:

  • 2 palms of protein dense foods with each meal;
  • 2 fists of vegetables with each meal;
  • 2 cupped hands of carb dense foods with most meals;
  • 2 entire thumbs of fat dense foods with most meals.

 

For women:

  • 1 palm of protein dense foods with each meal;
  • 1 fist of vegetables with each meal;
  • 1 cupped hand of carb dense foods with most meals;
  • 1 entire thumb of fat dense foods with most meals.

 

Of course, just like any other form of nutrition planning, including calorie counting, this serves as a starting point.

 

You can’t know exactly how your body will respond in advance.  So stay flexible and adjust your portions based on your hunger, fullness, and other important goals.

 

For example: if you’re trying to gain weight, and you’re having trouble gaining, you might add another cupped palm of carbohydrates or another thumb of fats.

 

If you’re trying to lose weight but seem to have stalled out, you might eliminate a cupped palm of carbohydrates or a thumb of fats at particular meals.

 

Remember: This is JUST a starting point. Adjust your portions at any time using outcome-based decision making, ask yourself;  “How’s that working for me?”

 

Carter