Portion Sizes Can Either Prevent Or Encourage Weight Loss…Which Will You Choose?
It’s no secret that food portion sizes being served in America have swelled in recent years- up to two to five times! In fact, a 2011 study from the University of North Carolina concluded that compared to data analyzed from previous decades (1970’s to 2000’s), our calorie intake has gone up over 30%. Yes, you read that correctly, 30% more food going right to your waistline!
Pair that with the fact that we are also leading a much more sedentary lifestyle than years past, and it’s no wonder that our obesity rates have skyrocketed over the decades!
Many Americans spend their day sitting at desks all day, only to return home and sit in front of their TV. Expansive suburbs and rushed mentality practically force us to drive everywhere – no more walking to the local corner store. Think about it, we’ll drive around a parking lot endlessly in order to find that “prime” parking spot, as close as possible to the store. Would it be so bad to choose to park a little farther out and walk the extra 100 feet? Not at all, but it has probably never crossed our minds that it would be beneficial to our health and well being.
We are creatures of habit, and those habits are slowing killing us. We have to actively re-train ourselves to resist the temptations that bombard us at every turn.
There is cheap food everywhere, in cost, as well as nutritional value. Dollar menu, all you can eat, highly processed, bland beige colored ‘stuff’ available on every corner. The more volume we get, the more of a “bargain” we’ve snagged – but are we really getting our money’s worth?
This abundant quantity of cheap food has distorted our perception of what a real portion size actually looks like. It has developed an ‘eat now, pay later’ mentality in our society, looking for instant gratification, without regard for the true cost (our health).
Know The Facts:
Cheese Burger (4 oz. then)=300 calories
Cheese Burger (12 oz. today)=590 calories
Pizza (2 slices then)=500 calories
Pizza (2 slices today)=850 calories
Cookie (1 ½ inch diameter then)=55 calories
Cookie (3 1/2 inch diameter today)=275 calories
Muffin (1 ½ oz. then)=210 calories
Muffin (4 oz. today)=500 calories
Coffee (milk & sugar then)=45 calories (8 fl. Oz)
Flavored Coffee (whole milk & flavored syrup today)=350 calories (16 fl. oz.)
So how do we manage our portion control and take charge of our health?
Learn what a real portion size looks like!
Using your hand or common objects as a visual aid, you can physically see what an ideal portion size looks like, and keep your food intake in check.
(Source: National Heart Lung and Blood Institute)
Pay attention to, and read food labels carefully.
Don’t assume that that package contains only one serving, many packaged foods display nutritional information for “one serving”, but actually contain several. You may grab a “snack size” bag of your favorite food, but you need to look carefully. You may be surprised to learn that there are multiple servings in that little bag, and you just ate 2-3 times what you had intended to.
Share an entrée, or take half home, when eating out.
Huge portions on gigantic artsy plates are the norm at restaurants these days. Avoid the temptation of cleaning your plate, regardless of whether there is 1 cup of food or 5 on it. It is so easy to just keep shoveling food into your mouth when you are out socializing. Before you know it, you’ve consumed enough food for two people!
Ask for a take home box with your meal or an extra plate, and immediately portion out half to take home or share before you take your first bite. Not only will this save your waistline, but your wallet as well!
Switch to smaller dinner plates.
Dinner plate sizes, much like our food portion sizes, have increased over the decades as well. Nine-inch dinner plates have now expanded to twelve inches, and we still fill our plates – serving ourselves 10% to 30% more than needed!
It’s difficult to resist the urge to do this, but remember – even if you only ate and extra 100-200 calories per day that would still add up to 10 to 20 lbs. per year!
Do yourself a favor, and stick to a smaller plate no matter how beautiful the dinner table looks with those beautiful modern plates. It’s an easy mindless way to keep you in check. Oh yeah – that also means skip a second helping too!
The bottom line in taking charge of your portions is to be more aware of how much you are eating. Don’t eat mindlessly, slow down and savor your food. The key is moderation, not overindulgence nor total deprivation.