The Zimbabwe Hand Jive - A Simpler Method Of Portion Control

Counting calories sucks.

It is also hard to do with any degree of accuracy. Food labels are imprecise, food preparation methods vary and not all foods are absorbed equally.

Yet portion control remains an important part of losing weight, gaining muscle or simply staying healthy. Outlined below is an alternative method for managing food and energy intake which is straight-forward, surprisingly accurate and far less tedious than the traditional system of weighing and measuring.

Created by Dr Mawji The Zimbabwe Hand Jive uses your own hand as a measurement tool to gauge appropriate portion sizes of carbs, fats, proteins and veggies.

  • 1 closed fist = 1 portion of carb heavy food
  • 1 thumb = 1 portion of fat heavy food
  • 1 palm = 1 portion of protein heavy food
  • 2 cupped hands = 1 portion of veggies or fruit
  • A baseline meal would include 1 portion of each

Bigger people tend to have higher metabolic rates and require higher caloric intakes. The beauty of this system is they also tend to have bigger hands. Conversely smaller people tend to have lower metabolic rates, require lower caloric intakes and have smaller hands.

The Zimbabwe Hand Jive can be refined further depending on your personal activity levels and physique goals.

Very active or looking to gain weight… double up on the energy dense foods

  • 2 closed fists of carb heavy foods
  • 2 thumbs of fat heavy food
  • 1 palm of protein heavy food
  • 2 cupped hands of veggies

Sedentary or looking to lose weight... ease back on the energy dense foods

  • ½  fist of carb heavy food
  • ½ thumb of fat heavy food
  • 1 palm of protein heavy food
  • 2 cupped hands of veggies

As with any system of portion control you may need to adjust and fine-tune based on your personal results and meal frequency but The Zimbabwe Hand Jive provides a simple, convenient and effective place to begin.

Of course there are plenty of people who manage energy intake perfectly well without any system in place to guide the process. If this sounds like you then ignore this post and keep doing what you are doing. No need to fix what isn't broken!

Food Examples

  • Carb heavy foods include things like potato, rice, whole-grains
  • Fat heavy foods include things like nuts, oils and butters
  • Protein heavy foods include things like meat, fish, eggs, dairy and beans