Monday, April 29, 2013
I think one of the things that has continually hampered my weight loss/health goals is the issue of portion control. We all know what I am talking about: If you go to a restaurant, the fries are about 12X more than you should be eating and the meal is about 6X bigger than it should be. And yet, I eat the whole thing AND a dessert, which is outrageously proportioned.
Even if you aren't going to restaurants often, it's easy to make dinners bigger and bigger. You gotta fill up that plate - dinner sized, of course - so why not add heaps of meat and potatoes coated with cheese and gravy? If your plate looked anything like mine, the vegetables were quarantined to 1/8 or MAYBE 1/4 of the plate, while the rest was dominated by the meat and potatoes. And afterwards came the dessert. A huge slice of cake, an entire pint of Ben & Jerry's and before I knew it, I'd blown past my daily calorie allowance.
I was raised not realizing proper portion sizes. I didn't realize that a serving of meat was about 3oz. I didn't grasp that a 4"X4" piece of cake would probably last me the rest of the week. I didn't realize that the Ben & Jerry's ice cream should have been FOUR servings not one, that the PopTarts were TWO servings not one, that the popcorn was probably 6+ servings, not one. Sure, the side panel says what a serving size should be, but I loved food and I was lazy. I was too lazy to measure out a proper size of popcorn and put the rest back (honestly, even if I didn't eat all the popcorn, I'd just throw it out because day old popcorn just doesn't taste very good!).
Of course, it doesn't help when the manufacturers don't make it easy to have one and only one serving. I can't tell you how many times I just ate both PopTarts instead of pulling out a Ziplock baggie to save the second one or just ate the whole bag of popcorn. Nowadays there are more 100 calorie snacks, snacks that come in single serving packages - if you can keep yourself to eating only one.
Now, I realize that maybe those things shouldn't be on my regular diet. I stopped eating PopTarts long ago (those things just really don't taste very good to me anymore) along with 100 calorie snacks (yes, I was one of those who ate more than one package at a time!), but there are other items that I just need to permanently purge from my diet. Keebler cookies. Doritos. Fried chicken. Sure, I may like the taste of them, but do they REALLY add any value to my diet at any serving? Not really.
My body was built to eat and hold on to food for times when there wasn't much to go around, but I don't need that capability anymore. I need to be on the watch for how much I heap on my plate. Am I eating enough fruits and veggies or are my breads and meats filling up more and more of my larger and larger plates? Am I having a single serving of carrots to go with my double or triple serving of cake?
Portion sizes is one of those areas where it is very easy for me to be lazy and stop being as diligent, but it is one of the very important ways to maintain my healthy goals. So every once in a while, even when I am "busy" or want to be lazy, I need to pull out the measuring cups and spoons and scales, and make sure that I am eating the proper sizes and not putting in more than my body can really handle.