Feb 26

One-Two Punch

Remember I told you this book would teach you to eat in a balanced way without measuring, tracking, weighing or calculating? Make a fist; that’s the portion size of carbohydrate and the portion size of protein you need EVERY time you’re hungry and decide to eat. The size of your fists represents your ONE-TWO PUNCH, your knockout combo, a fist of carb and a fist of protein.71 There it is! 

The beauty of the “fist and fist” method is that it’s not MY fist size, it’s yours. You should see the relief on some clients’ faces when I say that! My clients that are male, over six feet tall and around 250 pounds are very relieved to learn it’s not the size of MY fist and that they’re not going to starve! It’s the size of your own individual, unique fist. This is the magical part of ONE-TWO PUNCH that works for ANY age, 2 years old to 97 years old. It’s easy to determine serving and portion sizes, ANYWHERE, ANY TIME, at ANY AGE with the size of your fists.

Why the fist? Because you need something tangible, but you need it without the stress of measurement. If all of us knew how to eat in moderation, everyone would already be doing it. But eating in moderation is too variable, too subjective and too abstract.72 It doesn’t take into account the texture, volume, density and color of the food and doesn’t account for plate size and other factors.

The fists help you with portion control while you learn to eat for hunger and satisfaction. Think of them as training wheels or a safety net for your practice of eating mindfully.

I get a lot of questions about the dimensions of the fist. You want to think of it more like a box; a 3-dimensional object more than a 2-dimensional outline. For example, if you were to roughly smash a piece of bread up into a ball, would it be the size of your fist or only half that size? We’re looking for the total volume of your fist: one fist of carb and one fist of protein. 

Carbohydrates include foods such as fruit (yes, fruit), fruit juices, bread, cereal, crackers, grains, rice, pasta, candy, regular sugar soda, cake, cookies, pies, ice cream and starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn and peas.73

Technically, non-starchy vegetables are a carbohydrate. However, they do not contribute enough carbohydrates to include them as a carb. These include vegetables  such as lettuce, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans and others.

Proteins include foods such as meats, eggs, cheese, Greek yogurt, nuts, nut butters, tofu, protein powders and other plant-based proteins.74

While nuts are considered by some nutritionists to be fats, in ONE-TWO PUNCH they are considered protein. Yes, most of the calories in nuts come from fat, roughly 80 percent. But they also contain about 14 percent protein and 6 percent carbohydrate. 

A standard serving of nuts contains about as much protein as one egg, one ounce of meat or a cheese stick. For most people, a fist of nuts is roughly two servings, meaning you are getting the protein equivalent of two eggs, 2 ounces of meat or two cheese sticks. 

I know that’s a lot of calories and a lot of fat. I know. But if you’re following the first foundational principle of OTP and eating when you’re hungry, the fat in the nuts or nut butter is going to keep you full for a very long time, so you won’t be eating as often. 

I think of the fat in nuts and nut butters as boosting the overall anchoring effect of the food. A protein food with fat is more anchoring to your carbohydrate. For example, a grilled chicken breast has lots of protein, but will have more staying power if a fat is also added, like dressing on a salad. Nuts and nut butters have the anchoring boost of fat built in. 


71. Gibson A, Hsu M, Rangan A et al. Accuracy of haands v. household measures as portion size estimation aids. J Nutr Sci. 2016;5.
72. vanDellen M, Isherwood J, Delose J. How do people define moderation?. Appetite. 2016;101:156-162. 
73. Duff R. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. 5th ed. Boston, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2017: 359-361.
74. Duff R. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. 5th ed. Boston, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2017: 381.