Week 5

This week, we’re still doing the rainbow challenge. Is perfection required?  Of course not!  However, the more color you eat, the more your body will respond!  Are you drinking your water?  Avoiding sugary drinks and sodas?  Need any help… let me know! 

WEEK 5: KNOW (and downsize?) YOUR PORTIONS

This week, let’s discover our individual portion sizes by calculating our daily energy needs.   This will require some math!  We’ll find out how many calories we need, but then divide that further to a carbohydrate goal.  Your “Choose Your Foods”  (CYF) book will come in very handy this week.  Note that every page shows you the amount of protein, carb, fat in many foods. Please note, I think it’s really hard to count every calorie or gram of macronutrient and it’s much easier to use the “2 colors, a serving of protein and a serving of healthy fat” per meal rule… BUT, I think it’s important to do a periodic “check-up” on my portion sizes – and that’s what this exercise is all about!

This week, we’re going to concentrate on SMART CARBS!  We'll monitor our carb intake and learn portion sizes of carbohydrate foods. I’ve never recommended a “low carb” diet.  I do; however, like to recommend “smart carbs” and smart portions.  As you’ll see from CYF, you get a lot more bang for your buck with non-starchy veggies and some fruits.  For example, 3 cups of broccoli has the same amount of carb as 1/3 cup of brown rice or whole grain pasta.  (I’ve yet to meet anyone that eats only 1/3 cup of rice or pasta at a time.)  This should REALLY HELP you meet your rainbow challenge goals!!!!


To determine your daily energy needs, visit this site: http://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html.  Input your info.  You’ll get your results in a page that looks like this (I used my numbers as the example):

Calorie Calculator


You need 2,090 Calories/day to maintain your weight.

You need 1,590 Calories/day to lose 1 lb per week.

You need 1,090 Calories/day to lose 2 lb per week.

You need 2,590 Calories/day to gain 1 lb per week.

You need 3,090 Calories/day to gain 2 lb per week.

Take your maintenance calories and subtract 500. This will result in 0.5-2 # per week weight loss, depending on your individual metabolism, activity, etc.  Next, we’ll calculate how many grams and servings of carb, fat, protein that equates to.   

I’ll use a 40/30/30 “plan” for this CLEAN-eating challenge. (40% of energy from carb, 30% from fat (good fats) and 30% protein.)  Why?  This is a good start to learn about the volume we get to eat when we choose color over starchy carbs.

My goal is NOT to make you count every calorie or gram protein, fat, carb, but to do it for the next week or two until you feel really comfortable knowing what portions are right for you.  If you are super active or have a medical condition, your needs may vary – I can help you with your calculations for these issues if you need it. 

My example: 2,090 – 500 = 1,590 calories or energy per day

To calculate carbohydrate:

1,590 * 0.40 = 636 daily calories from carb

636 calories/4 calories per gram = 159grams carb/day

159 grams/15 grams per serving (in your CYF book) = 10.6 or 10-11 servings carb (see CYF) per day.

I’ll divide this into 3 meals and 1-2 snacks. I’ll get a maximum of 45 grams carb per meal and 1 or 2 15 gram snacks.  NOTE: I do NOT have to eat this much, but that is my maximum amount per meal.  The “smarter” my carb choices (non-starchy veggies, berries, whole fruit) the more food I can fill up on!  YES, you could choose to eat your total carb allowance on bread and chips, but that would not be in the spirit of Spring Clean!  I hope that you will use CYF books to see the volume differences between choices.  Choose color first!

How this really looks:

My breakfast this morning:

  • one egg + one egg white: 0 grams

  • 1 T olive oil (cooking) 0 grams

  • 2 cups raw spinach (I cooked it with the eggs): 10 grams

  • 3 mushrooms (about ½ cup raw): 2.5 grams

  • 1 slice Trader Joe’s sprouted grain bread: 7 grams

  • 1 cup orange juice: 15 grams

  • Total for breakfast: about 35 grams carb – this is less than my allotted total, but I’m very full… smart carbs make a difference – note the volume of spinach and mushrooms for very little carb or energy…

Lunch today:

  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt: 11 grams carb

  • 1 cup mixed berries: about 15 grams carb

  • 1 cup cherries (about 12 frozen): 15 grams carb

  • ¼ cup pecans: 4 grams carb

  • Total for lunch: 45 grams carb – and a LOT of food!

WHAT’S THE ACTUAL CHALLENGE THIS WEEK? Record your intake and record your grams or servings carb per meal.  Try to stick within your daily/meal-time/snack allotment.  It WILL make a difference!

In week 6, we’ll concentrate on lean proteins and healthy fats.

How to calculate:

For protein: We’ll calculate a range.   2 ways:

  1. Take total calorie goal * 0.30 = calories from protein

  2. Calories from protein/4 calories per gram = max grams per day

  3. Mine: 1590*.30 = 477/4 = 119.25 grams

This is a LOT of protein. So, I like to calculate a range.  To do this, determine your weight in kg.  (Simply divide weight in pounds by 2.2). Then multiply by 0.8 for your MINIMUM protein needs

  1. Me (140 pounds): 140/2.2 = 64 kg

  2. 64*0.8 = 51.2 grams MINIMUM

This is a wide range, but keep in mind, 51.2 is minimum grams needed and 119 is max, so try to find a happy medium.  I find if I keep portions to about the size of my palm and snack on protein-rich foods like nuts and seeds, I end up right in the 100g range on my own.  AGAIN, if you are super-active or have medical conditions, your needs may vary from this!

For fat: Multiply total calories by 0.30 and divide by 9 calories/gram. My example:

  1. 1590 * 0.30 = 477

  2. 477/9 = 53 grams fat/day

For fat, really concentrate on HEALTHY (unsaturated) fats. Some sat fats are okay, but unsat fat is best.  See your CYF book!