1. the first thing to remember is that serving sizes aren't necessarily portion sizes. serving sizes are set by the government so that when you read a label you can compare apples to apples. in other words, let's use your pasta sauce example. if the government didn't set a 1/2 cup serving size then ragu might decide that their serving size was a cup and 100 cals, prego might decide their sauce serving was 3/4 cup and 80 cals, classico might decide their portion would be 1/3 cup at 25 cals, and the store brand might be 1/2 cup at 75 cals. and you would be left in the store going wtf? because you can't figure out which is the lowest or highest cal math without spending 20 minutes doing math that you'd likely need a calculator for.
also look at cereal. a serving of cereal is about an ounce. if you get granola, that can be as little as 1/4 cup. for something puffed up it could be as much as 1.5 cups, all for the same ounce of cereal.
again, companies are required to do this so that you, the consumer, can more easily compare similar products.
2. your stomach will basically stretch out to accommodate whatever you usually give it. so if you stuff it with all you can all the time, it can accommodate a whole lot of food all the time. if you don't really stretch it out that much, it takes less to fill it up. to some degree as you adjust to eating less food your stomach will shrink some, but it's kind of like elastic waist pants -they're a lot easier to stretch out and much harder to get to shrink back a little.
3. loss ranges are lower than maintenance ranges. figure that all but the most petite and elderly women need at least 1500 cals to maintain their weight. which means that they're starting at the upper end of where a lot of people lose. so if you're comparing a 1200-1500 loss range to maintaining somewhere in the neighborhood of 1500-2000 cals, you're looking at around 300-500 cals more a day that you get to eat once you start maintaining.
4. then there are habits and what you consider standard. have you seen all the studies where like sticks with like? in other words, if you have obese friends, you're more likely to be obese yourself. if you have skinnier friends, you're more likely to be skinny. it doesn't automatically make it so, but it holds true a good amount of the time. i mean, how many people do you know who head out to bars all night, close them out and then make it to 5am mass the next morning? i have a skinny coworker who meets her friends just about every morning at like 4am to do marathon training, year round. most of her friends are skinny too. i have another coworker, overweight, who can recite everything that happened on tv last night. my good friend's aunt sent my friend a copy of her church cookbook. in about twenty pages of salad recipes that cookbook had a single recipe that had lettuce in it and about four that had [canned] fruit, while we lost count of the cups of mayo in that section. want to guess the size of my friend's aunt and the rest of her congregation?
part of what you consider normal is how you were raised, in what community and what area. that's going to be tempered by long term close influences like roommates or spouses and where and how they were raised. and it's also going to be tempered by what activities you like to do and how those fit into your lifestyle. all of those things shape how you look at food and what you consider to be normal.
which means if you were raised and influenced in a way that fried and mayo are king and bigger is better, actual portions of food can look small. if you were raised in a different way, they might seem normal. keep in mind that all of those previous influences don't condemn you to them forever, but they do temper your perception, especially if you are just starting out from them.
5. i think one of the secrets is finding ways to make the food you love better for you. in other words if you love mac and cheese, if you just cut a half cup out every time you have it, you'll lose weight til you go back to having that extra half cup. whereas if you alter your recipe [use a little less oil, use a little less cheese, add some veggies] and keep that change it should be easier to maintain instead of gain, even with slightly larger portions. if you love the boxed mac and cheese, it makes about 2.5 cups and it's something like 200 cals a cup before you add butter and milk, so it's about 500 cals for the box. if you cut the added fat from a Tablespoon to a teaspoon, that's going to save you 80 cals over 2.5 cups, so you're adding 40 cals to that 500 cal total instead of 120. if you add 1.5 cups of veggies [butternut squash, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash] you're adding about 90 cals of veggies, making your total yield four cups and the total calories 630. add a cup of milk for 100 cals and you've got four cups of mac and cheese with veggies for 730 cals. per cup, that's 182 cals. so by adding veggie bulk to your recipe and cutting down on the fat, you've cut over 20 cals off per cup from the box prepared with just water.
if you love spaghetti, try having zucchini noodles mixed in with your spaghetti under your sauce and meatballs. so you might cook up an ounce of dry pasta for you at about 100 cals, then slice up a medium zucchini to mix in with the noodles [use a spiral slicer or a mandolin to get the noodles thin like the pasta shape you are using] and put your pasta sauce and meatballs over it. your ounce of dry pasta is going to be about half a cup. your medium zucchini is going to be about a cup sliced up, but it's only going to have about 30 cals. so you're getting 1.5 cups of food for 130 cals. instead of the 300 cals it would be to have that whole amount as pasta.
it's about altering your recipes like this to have less of the heavier stuff and a little more vegetable matter. so you're getting your favorites and flavors that you love, but you're also getting those low cal bits of things that are good for you that bulk out the other stuff to make the whole thing lower cal and greater volume.
Edited by: NIRERIN at: 1/6/2013 (11:36)
-google first. ask questions later.