Just like with exercise, you should continually experiment to discover what works best for YOU. Implementing a nutrition plan that’s right for you should be a process of trial and error – an ongoing experimentation with portion sizes, food combinations, and eating at different times of the day. As a member of our program, we’ll help you with all of this – step by step.
At first, for a week or two, I think it’s helpful to determine how many calories, fat, protein and carbs you should have for your goals, weight, age, gender, and activity level. It’s also a good idea to look up the nutritional content of your favorite foods to see their amount of fat, protein and carb per serving size, to serve as both a learning experience and so you can become a more health-conscious eater. We’ll help you with all of this in the nutrition plan section of the website.
But in the long-run, I wouldn’t get too obsessive with counting and measuring everything. It really doesn’t need to be this difficult or time-consuming. The main thing is that you A.) combine the right types of carbs with a lean, complete protein source, which we’ll help you with, and B.) that you eat only until pleasantly full and satisfied, not stuffed. That is, you listen closely to your body.
Many diet plans tell you exactly what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat it. This does not teach you how to attend to your own cravings, desires, or hunger. And it’s not likely to be a permanent change because you’re eating what someone else guesses is right for you, and not the right amount of foods that you enjoy.
Everyone has different strengths, weaknesses, and eating patterns. You will only become successful when you learn to respond to your own feelings and not to what someone else says is right for you.
It is critical that you learn how to be aware of and attend to both feelings of hunger and fullness, and learn what will satisfy you both physically and psychologically.
Your own body, not someone else’s estimated guess, is the very best guide for how much you need to eat. So, try to get in the habit of tuning in to your internal cues of hunger, and not just eating the amount of food you think you should to be “good.”
It’s okay to eat any amount of food to feel both physically and psychologically satisfied. But you must learn to stop when you feel comfortably full, not stuffed.
In addition to learning how it feels to be hungry, full, and uncomfortably full, you must learn from your mistakes. If you eat past comfortable fullness, don’t beat yourself up about it. There are bound to be times when you eat too much for your body’s comfort. That’s very normal.
Just try to remember how eating too much feels, and remind yourself of this feeling the next time you are tempted to overeat. With practice, you will change your eating patterns and start eating when your body tells you you’re hungry … and stop eating once you begin to feel comfortably full and satisfied.
This is especially important because restaurant and coffee shop portions are completely out of control. One muffin and a coffee drink can set you back 800 calories! You can only imagine what some of the calories can add up to on an oversized restaurant plate! Here’s a helpful rule of thumb: A portion size of carbs should be about the size of your fist. You protein should be about the size of the palm of your hand. And your healthy source of fat should be about the size of your thumb.
When dishing up your plate, use this general guideline as a good starting point, and choose a conservative amount. Remember, you can always go back for seconds if you truly are still hungry. And before going back for more, wait 20 minutes to allow your stomach to settle. It takes a little time for your brain to get the message from your stomach that you’ve had enough.
If you use this “fist, hand, thumb” guideline … dish up conservatively … and listen closely to your body to know when you should push away, you can’t go wrong. You don’t have to eat everything on your plate just because it’s there. Someone in total control who’s listening closely to his or her body, knows that it’s alright to leave a few bites on your plate, because they’ve determined they’ve had enough. It’s really empowering once you’ve learned this skill, and I think you’ll be amazed at the results that will soon follow.
Remember, excess calories are stored as body fat. Eat small meals with proper portion sizes, and listen to your body, to avoid eating excess calories. I hope this was helpful, and be sure to go to the nutrition plan of the website to select your favorite foods for meal plan ideas for the perfect food combinations together at the right time of the day for the best results.
And if you’re a member of Fast Track to Fat Loss, be sure to let us know if you’d like us to review what you’ve eaten for our personal feedback, or if you need help planning your upcoming meals. Again, we’re always here to help you and will do everything possible to make sure you succeed!
Your fat loss coach,
Kim Lyons, BS, CPT
Best-selling author of Your Body, Your Life
Co-trainer on The Biggest Loser
Your Fast Track to Fat Loss Coach
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