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Portion Control - A Battle of Food

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.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    It's shameful how easy food manufacturers make it for us to overeat! I mean, I get personal responsibility, and do believe we make our own choices, but we're helped along by billions of dollars spent on research, marketing, and the desire for convenience. Sorry for the rant--reading "Salt Sugar Fat" right now, and it's blowing my mind! Thanks for another great blog!!
    1877 days ago
    Portion sizes have always been my enemy. I was not raised to watch how much I was eating, so I have had to retrain my adult self to measure. Manufacturers and restaurants really don't help us at all by giving us jumbo sized portions.
    1877 days ago
    Your right again! But I do have to say it's funny that you said Pop Tarts (wild berry, mixed or Blueberry, can't remember) But yes 200 EACH! emoticon I think that even if the box counts stays the same break up the servings. Because I know that even with kids they grab and go and figure it's a serving. But if you think that your the only one that has this, look around (your not ) emoticon But I love your blog emoticon emoticon
    1878 days ago
    Portion sizes are definitely difficult, especially anything that comes in a bag. For me I always just grabbed the whole thing of (insert junk food here) and ate whatever I felt like instead of what a serving size is. Sometimes I would look at the nutritional information and go, "Oh, it's only __ calories a serving, that's not too ba..., wait a minute..., I think I just ate like 7 servings in one sitting!" Luckily that stuff is out of here until I'm at goal, and even then I don't think I'll be getting anything more than one serving at a time (not even boxes of 100 calorie packs, because I, too, used to eat more than one at a time).
    1878 days ago
    You can do it. When you start to put food on your plate have a sparke team member to help you with that issue
    We have so many people's to help us.
    1878 days ago
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