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.

Why?

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

In The News:


Examiner.com

Rosie O'Donnell showcases 50-pound weight loss 9 months after bariatric surgery
Examiner.com
Rosie O'Donnell has lost 50 pounds since undergoing gastric sleeve surgery in July 2013, and feels unstoppable. O'Donnell proudly displayed her slimmed-down face in a Twitter photo she posted with the caption, "Almost 50 lbs off. I can see it now.".
Rosie O'Donnell is down nearly 50 pounds.ABC News
Rosie O'Donnell shows off 50-pound weight lossNew York Daily News
Rosie O'Donnell shows off huge weight lossWGNtv.com
E! Online -The Hollywood Gossip
all 125 news articles »

Financial Express

breakthrough may lead to weight loss 'holy grail'
Fox News
For the first time, researchers have identified brown fat in a living human – a find that could lead to development of future weight loss treatments. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, researchers from Warwick Medical School, University ...
'Holy Grail' of weight loss? New find could be itWFTV Orlando
Weight loss breakthrough: New way found to observe 'good' fatDelhi Daily News

all 35 news articles »

New York Daily News

Debbie Gibson reveals she has Lyme disease
New York Daily News
debbiegibson via Instagram Critics might have struck a 'Foolish Beat' when criticizing Debbie Gibson, shown in an April 5 Instagram photo, over her weight, since she says she has diet complications due to Lyme disease. Debbie Gibson has revealed her ...
Debbie Gibson has Lyme diseaseUPI.com
Debbie Gibson Blames Extreme Weight Loss on Terrifying Battle with DiseaseExtra
Debbie Gibson Opens Up About Battling Lyme Disease After Being Criticized for ...Life & Style Weekly
TooFab.com -Starpulse.com
all 42 news articles »

CBS News

Taste Changes Reported After Weight-Loss Surgery
WebMD
FRIDAY, April 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- After weight-loss surgery, many patients report changes in appetite, taste and smell, a new study says. One positive aspect of these changes is that they may lead patients to lose even more weight, the ...
Weight-loss surgery alters sense of taste and smell, study findsCBS News
Taste Buds Take a Toll after Weight Loss SurgeryYottaFire
Weight loss surgery changes the way people taste and smell foodState Column
American Live Wire -Health Aim
all 36 news articles »

Examiner.com

Dr. Ian Smith's 'Super Shred' diet guarantees 20-pound weight loss in 4 weeks
Examiner.com
In an exclusive interview Thursday, Dr. Smith explained why calorie disruption delivers rapid weight loss, and how his new book, Super Shred: The Big Results Diet, can help you lose 20 pounds in four weeks. "When your body gets the same amount of ...


Examiner.com

Low carb ketogenic diet and a corset are Kim Kardashian's weight-loss secrets
Examiner.com
The measure sounds drastic, but actress Jessica Alba has credited wearing double corsets around the clock for three months for her dramatic post-baby weight loss. "Wearing a corset at night is extremely uncomfortable, but it has a proven track record ...
Kim Kardashian Extreme Diet Ahead Of Wedding: Doing 'Atkins Mania' In Order ...International Business Times
If Kim Kardashian Is Still Eating On Her 'Extreme' Diet, Is It Really That ...BlissTree
Kim Kardashian's Wedding Diet Secrets Revealed!Wetpaint
Emirates 24/7
all 184 news articles »

Salon

Exposure to sunlight in the morning tied to weight loss
Salon
Scientific American Light might make you a lightweight—in a good way. It's been known that bright light in the morning can reduce appetite and body weight. But that fact did not prove that light has a direct effect on weight. Early morning exposure to ...


Hallmark Center for Weight Management and Weight Loss Surgery named ...
Wicked Local Reading
The Hallmark Health System Center for Weight Management and Weight Loss Surgery has been accredited as an American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence. Furthermore, the ASMBS and American ...


Before & After Bariatric Surgery: Three Inspirational Weight Loss Stories
Philadelphia Magazine (blog)
In March 2011, he had roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery and has since lost more than 132 pounds to date. He now has the energy to take the stairs and even runs regularly. Best of all, every one of his former health issues disappeared with the weight ...

and more »

CNN

She found love, left sugar and lost weight
CNN
(CNN) -- Cady Stanton used to find solace in the sweet taste of ice cream. Growing up, she would sneak downstairs after her family had gone to sleep and numb her anxiety by digging into a half-gallon container. She would eat until she was sick, knowing ...

Google News

Natural Weight Losss: The Minor Changes That Can Have Huge Affects On Your Future Health

People always ask me " how it is that your... Read More

Why Does the Weight Come Back?

Before many Australians recently, a devastating story unfolded on a... Read More

Are You Ready To Lose Weight?

I know, I know. What a crazy question!Considering that we've... Read More

6 Simple Steps To LifeLong Weight Loss

If You are sick of losing the same weight over... Read More

Weight Loss for Good! - The # 1 Secret!

The only way you will ever follow through on an... Read More

Who Said Low Carb Diets Ever Meant No-Carb?

A little information if often a dangerous thing... and many... Read More

How 40,000 People Reversed Heart Disease

It is well known that about two-thirds of the U.S.... Read More

5 Tips To Losing Weight With Convenience Food

While it would be ideal to make all of our... Read More

The Missing Ingredient in Your Diet That is Keeping You Fat and Tired

Whenever I hear someone say they just can't lose weight,... Read More

Catching Yourself In A Binge or Compulsive Eating: Stopping Behaviors

Oh, no . . . You suddenly realize that you... Read More

The Secret to Safe Weight Loss

The safe way to lose weight begins with a thorough... Read More

5 Tips to Use Your Head and Let Go of that Extra Weight

Notice, if you would, that every diet out there only... Read More

Learning How to Become a Good Loser

The Quest to Reach Your Ideal WeightIt was late in... Read More

Secrets Of Weight Loss

One thing's for sure, in this day & age, if... Read More

Whole Grains Prevent Weight Gain

Research from Harvard, recently published in the highly respected peer-reviewed... Read More

When a Parent has WLS: What to Tell Our Chubby Children

We know that children are becoming obese at an alarming... Read More

Diet Pills and Consumer Fraud

Diet pills have met with many different fates, and come... Read More

Three Sure-Fire Ways To Lose Weight Get Healthier & Feel Great Without Dieting

--ONE--Learn how to reduce the fat, sugar and salt content... Read More

The Secrets Behind Successful Diet Tips Explained

Digestion is a chemical process. Our body combines different types... Read More

Eating Habits That Can Help You Lose Weight And Stay That Way

There are certain eating habits that can make you gain... Read More

No One Ever Got Fat Eating Broccoli!

Diet tips for losing weight abound. Some are good, some... Read More

Weight Loss: Where to find Hidden Calories

If you have been eating as usual and the pounds... Read More

Dieting? More is Not Better

Exercising too hardThis is probably the most common mistake. As... Read More

Super Sizing: Money Shrinks While Waist Lines Grow

"Your Eyes are Bigger Than Your Stomach""Your eyes are bigger... Read More

Drink Beer AND Lose Weight

Want to shed that beer belly? Why not try the... Read More