Food: The Proof Is In The Portion
We are a large people. 65% of us are overweight, 30% actually obese. How did we reach this point?
We ate ourselves into a prison of our own fat.
Well, we certainly didn't sit down and decide that we wanted to gain weight, did we? We had no pressure on us to fatten ourselves for some eventual slaughter. On the contrary, as our collective girth increased, we paradoxically elevated scrawny to a cultural icon, happily dismissing the corseted matronly figures of the past two centuries.
Where did the disconnect between our reality and our ideals begin?
We can blame the processors who milled out the vitamins and minerals we need. We can blame the preservers who cut back on fiber and freshness in favor of additives and chemicals. We can blame the packagers who added sugar and starch to everything. We can blame the fast food industry for frying everything and we can blame the beverage companies for their addictive colas.
While all of these made their contributions to our current plight, one source of our caloric distress runs through everything: portion size.
We eat hamburgers - not the gigantic, multi-patty ones, just a standard burger - that are 3 times as big as those of 30 years ago. Our orders of french fries are at least twice the size of their cousins in the 1970s. Pizza no longer has cheese only on the top but its crust is also filled. Large soft drinks are the size of watering cans instead of baby bottles. Recipes that once announced "serves 8" now report "serves 4" with exactly the same ingredients. Bagels and muffins are 3 to 4 times as large as their predecessors (and any fan of Seinfeld knows that only the tops are worthwhile). Thank heavens for hormones that can produce the 20 to 30 pound turkeys we demand for our holiday dinners.
Compare the small boxes of frozen vegetables that so awed us in the 1950s with the huge bags available today, awash in butter or cheese sauce. The TV dinners we precariously balanced on rickety tray tables are now heavy enough that those same tables wouldn't hold them.
Restaurant meals have grown as well, with a "to go" container almost standard because few eaters can finish them (although we try terribly hard). Far from their smorgasbord roots, buffets have become almost obscene in their offerings.
Whatever happened to nouvelle cuisine? Has the fastidious gourmet been completely swallowed by the voracious gourmand? Is gluttony no longer a deadly sin?
We love nothing better than a good bargain: something for nothing or, at the very least, at a discount. If we can obtain just a few more ounces of something for negligible extra money, we pounce on the larger size. If we're offered two for the price of one and a half, we don't have to stop and think. If we can save money by buying a whole package, even if we don't want all of it, we'll do it because it makes economic sense (ah, the birth of super size!)
Where did we get the idea that bigger is better? Is it the national legacy of the depression when we swore we'd never "do without" again? Is it a natural spillover from our thoughtless squandering of the world's resources? Is it the speed and stress of our competitive lives that logically leads to our attacking our food with the same disregard for restraint we show in business?
Whatever has brought us to this point, it is time for us all to cry "enough!" We may fear terrorist attacks or biological warfare but it is our daily over-consumption of food that is killing us. Diabetes, clogged arteries, and other obesity-related illnesses cost 350,000 American lives a year and the figure continues to climb. The associated medical costs are staggering and threaten eventual bankruptcy for the Medicare system if not reined back.
Several states and school districts are attempting to apply brakes to a junk food society out of control. A change in the structure of our farm subsidy programs has been suggested - to reward the growers of healthy crops and penalize those who raise the building blocks of edible garbage (sugar and corn syrup). Taxation, as has been used to curb the purchase of cigarettes, could change the consumption equation by hitting our wallets (and a 1 cent tax on every soft drink sold in the United States would raise 40 billion dollars a year).
However, the great change will only come when each of us, individually and collectively, start cutting back.
We need to insist, repeatedly and loudly, that restaurants serve child and senior size plates to adults and split orders without extra charge (where are the class action lawyers when you need them?) We have to demand that small sizes of meal components are offered. We should start boycotting those huge "economy" sizes of everything from soft drinks, to frozen potatoes, to cooking lard, and potato chips.
And the buck finally stops at our own plate. For our health, our longevity, and our looks, we must limit how much we eat of anything. If we cut our intake in half, we will be doing ourselves, our children, and our society a great favor and our bodies will thank us for it.
Virginia Bola is a licensed psychologist and an admitted diet fanatic. She specializes in therapeutic reframing and the effects of attitudes and motivation on individual goals. The author of The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual, and a free ezine, The Worker's Edge, she recently published a psychologically-based weight control e-workbook, "Diet with an Attitude" which develops mental skills towards the goal of permanent weight control.
She can be reached at http://www.DietWithAnAttitude.com
She provides support and guidance in use of the workbook through her regular blog, http://dietwithanattitude.blogspot.com
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news
Illinois Santa Claus on Quest For Weight LossNBC ChicagoAn Illinois man who's played Santa Claus for 20 years is on a quest to lose weight, amid the nation's growing obesity epidemic. The State Journal-Register reports that George Robert Teel is one of three Santas who have sought weight loss help from the ...and more »
Weight loss procedure gives diabetics a second chanceNBC4 WashingtonThat's when she met Dr. Masoud Rezvani and the team at the Sentara Weight Loss Surgery Center, a designated Accredited Center by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP.) Her insurance said it would ...
Weight Loss & Health Tips Revealed: Can I Be Fit And Fat?
We all have an image of "fit" - lean, even thin, with a healthy glow. Many researchers are now beginning to question that picture of fitness - there may be more to being "fit" and less to being "fat" than conventional wisdom suggests.
How To Get Past a Weight Loss Plateau
Everyone who has ever been on a diet has hit a plateau at some point. It is that point where no matter what you do, you cannot seem to lose any weight.
Pizza, French Fries, Beer and Other Diet Foods
Now this is the real American Dream! I'm here to let you know that it is totally possible to lose all the fat you want while eating nothing but junk food. The only hitch is that all the fat you want to lose is going to have to be zero!Here are some tongue-in-cheek (or burger-in-belly) suggestions for how you can turn even the greasiest, sugariest, most overprocessed calorie bomb into lean, mean diet food.
Diet Information - Dieting and Weight Loss Myths That Will Keep You From Losing Weight
You've heard them before and may even have believed some of them, but there are some dieting myths that are sure to hinder your weight loss efforts. Keep in mind the following facts when embarking on your weight loss journey: Some hard-core dieters will swear that drastically cutting calories will produce fast weight loss.
An Interesting Look at Mini Gastric Bypass Surgery
Gastric bypass surgery has many forms and can involve stapling and banding of the stomach as well as bypassing a portion of the small intestine. The most popular method today is a combination-approach that staples the stomach into a small pouch while reattaching the small intestine to the pouch forming a Y-shape so patients lose weight both because they eat less and their bodies absorb less of what they eat.
Gastric Bypass Surgery - How Fast Will I Lose The Weight?
The gastric bypass procedure isn't for everyone, but those who've had it - an you will of heard of the success stories tooted by the marketing wizards and infomercials, the gastric bypass achieves maximum results and starts 'working' right away after surgery. Well it would, since patients are unable to eat more then a few spoon fulls of food per serving!For those that endure this mental torture (I'm kidding, I just can't imagine eating so little with my personal love of food!) weight is lost extremely rapidly.
Are Your Nutrition Habits Robbing You from the Body You Desire?
What if by making a few small changes in your nutrition and eating habits you could add up to a 50% gain in muscle mass and loose up to 18% extra fat.Well you could be robbing yourself of these gains just by not eating correctly and at the right times.
Dont Blame Me If Im Fat!
In a culture of blame-shifting we often look for someone to blame for our predicament. Being overweight is no different - who is to blame for obesity?"It's the fast food outlets - supplying us with fatty foods""Our thin-obsessed society is putting all sorts of pressure on even slightly overweight folks""The weight loss industry is to blame - after all if everyone was slim - they would go out of business"Some will simply blame the overweight person - making generalizations and attaching unhelpful labels to the person.
Diet Preparaton -- The Impact of Sleep and Stress
When you have started a diet in the past, how much sincere and attentive focus did you give to preparing for your diet? Isn't it true that usually you are getting the food together a particular diet requires, buying yet another tread mill (or hauling out the old one covered in dust from the last diet), getting another gym membership, planning that last big blowout gluttonous meal you're going to eat because you are going to have to starve for the next eight weeks. The above really isn't an exaggeration.
Doctor, Why Cant I Loose Weight and by the Way Why Do I Feel Sick?
Doctor, Why Can't I Loose Weight and by the Way Why Do I Feel Sick?
This the number one question heard in my office and in physicians' offices throughout America. There is a strong relationship between weight gain, difficulty in loosing weight and feeling sick.
Pathological Eating Disorders and Poly-Behavioral Addiction
When considering that pathological eating disorders and their related diseases now afflict more people globally than malnutrition, some experts in the medical field are presently purporting that the world's number one health problem is no longer heart disease or cancer, but obesity. According to the World Health Organization (June, 2005), "obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with more than 1 billion adults overweight - at least 300 million of them clinically obese - and is a major contributor to the global burden of chronic disease and disability.
Break Your Weight Loss Plateau
How to Break Your PlateauToday is a typical morning like any other for you. You get up, go for your workout at the gym or go for a nice run, before you start your day.
Volumetrics Adverse Events - Two Potential Outcomes
Adverse Events with VolumetricsDr. Barbara Rolls is a well respected nutritionist in the United States.
Natural Weight Loss: Add to Your Diet and Add Years to Your Life
As I was saying in my past articles, others have added years back to there life with a few added ingredients. They also added energy and youth.
Fad Diets & Weight Loss
A diet may be a fad diet or a healthy diet. People often start a fad diet for fast weight loss.
The Lost Road of a Failed Gastric Bypass Surgery
In 1994, I had a RNY surgery. At 350 lbs and 26 years of age, I felt like my life was over, I felt like my husband and my child would be better off without me.
How To Indulge and Win The Battle of The Bulge During The Holidays: Get Yourself a Buddy
If you are trying to lose weight, the holidays literally are the heaviest time of the year.So how do you eat, drink and be merry while you're counting every single calorie? By getting a buddy who will help you make the right choices bite by bite.
Overweight - Control Your Eating Habits
Weighing more than is normal, necessary, or allowed, especially having more body weight than is considered normal or healthy for one's age or build is risky for your health.How do you control these urges that drag you in an intoxicatedshape away from your diet plan and down into the swirling vortexof pleasure? I researched on the topic to give you expert adviceon how to enjoy that art called eating without turning in into afeeding frenzy.
The Real Challenge Of Weight Loss
Weight loss is never easy. Although this is stating the obvious, it is nevertheless very true.
Empower Your Shopping Experience
Healthy living begins with healthy eating and healthy eating begins with healthy shopping..