The Evolution of Portion Sizes

There’s no question and should really not come as much of a shock, that obesity is on the rise.  All it really takes is walking around a school, a shopping mall, or any State Fair and you'll quickly be greeted by an abundant of overweight people.

Sadly, despite our governments efforts on educational programs to raise awareness of this trend, obesity continues to skyrocket, placing more and more burden on our health care systems.

So who’s to blame? Why are we growing so vastly overweight? One might argue that portion sizes are to blame, although we have to be real and take responsibility for our own actions, right??  

Let’s look at the evolution of portion sizes so we can see where we’re going wrong.

THE FAST FOOD ERA

It is so obvious that we live in the fast food era and/or in a society that's always on the go, thus everything must come quick. Fast food restaurants are a dime a dozen and not only are they offering up greasy fare that’s loaded with saturated fat and calories, but they are doing so in epic sized portions. You can now ‘supersize’ your meal for just a fraction of a dollar and who can resist such a great deal? Most people can’t and that’s the problem. Supersized meals contain more food than most people should eat in a single day, and yet, some are having this as a snack in some cases. Then we wonder why we have a body weight problem. Um, HELLO??!

A CHANCE IN THE TYPICAL "MEAL PLATE"

The second shift that’s occurred with portion sizes is the shift in different food portions on our plate. Rather than dishing up a plate that contains predominately vegetables with meat and grains on the side, we are now dishing up a plate that contains predominately meat and grains, with vegetables on the side. Since vegetables are the lower calorie food that we need to be eating more of, this is a big problem as far as body weight maintenance and loss is concerned. With these recent shifts, our daily calorie intake is on the steady rise upwards.  

Oh, and let's talk for a second about the size of dinner plates!  They are getting WAY too carried away with their massive size.  People tend to fill up their plates and like Mom used to say, "you can't leave the table until that plate is cleaned".  As a parent, I strive to be sure I don't say that nonsense to my kids, and instead encourage them to eat the proper amounts of "food groups" (vegetables, lean protein and grains), although stopping when they are full! So, with the method of the above applied to such a large plate, again, UM, HELLO!!!??  

EASY ACCESS TO CHEAP FOODS

Finally, the last problem that relates to portion sizes and our body weight is the fact that we know have easy access to cheap foods. If you walk into the supermarket these days, you’ll find oversized bags of chips, chocolate bars, gigantic pizza’s, and of the like often priced less than what you pay for fresh produce. So not only is this encouraging people to make poor food choices, choosing much less healthy food than they should be, but it’s also causing us to purchase these foods in bulk quantities. Bulk quantities mean bulk calories and that will translate to bulk…you get the point.

Eating too much of anything is not good; eating too much of high calorie, high fat, and high sugar foods is a double whammy. 

Here's my challenge for you:

1.  With your next meal – fill up a SMALLER plate (think salad plate) with 50% vegetables, 25% lean protein and 25% of less of grains or a root vegetable (sweet potato, yam, Yukon potato, beets, etc).

2.  When you hit the grocery store again – take notice to all the marketing propoganda of the "deals and steals" for some foods.  Focus on buying in bulk and shopping on the exterior of the aisles, spending extra time in the produce section.  Then, when you get home to prepare a meal, refer to the above! :)

3.  Make note of some changes you noticed that occurred, by just being more mindful with your portions and selections! 

So think hard about the portion sizes you’re using. Have they gotten out of control? Could this be a part of the reason why you’re still struggling to lose those final 10 pounds? Make some changes if so.

Your partner in health & fitness,

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