Calories: Forget counting them if you want to lose weight.

Math? To plan dinner? Isn’t there a better way? Yes there is. 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.


The Infographic below shows how you can use your hand to prepare your meals rather than trying to calculate out the maths.

Portion-Control not 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 calorie counting

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.  Groan.


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?


It is important to have some idea of the amount of food we consume but counting calories is a real drag and is one of the main reasons people stop trying to eat a healthier diet. Here’s the good news: counting calories is rarely necessary.

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.


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.  Likewise, 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.

The good news is that Life Kitchen does this for you. All our meals contain the right amount of carbohydrates and protein. Our meals will help you to lose weight if that is your aim by helping you eat a nutrient dense diet. Check out our meals at where our full nutritional information is provided to help you  manage your dietary goals.

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