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:


Express.co.uk

The 10-Second Trick That Can Help You Lose Weight
Huffington Post
And a University of Minnesota study, cited by Prevention magazine, surveyed 1,800 dieting adults and found that people who weighed themselves every day lost about 12 pounds over the course of two years, while people who weighed themselves every ...
Want to Lose Weight? Weigh Yourself Once a Week: New StudyTech Times
People Who Weigh Themselves More Lose More WeightNew York Magazine
Want to lose weight? Weigh yourself every Wednesday say expertsExpress.co.uk
CBS News
all 35 news articles »

Yahoo Health

9 Secrets To Lasting Weight Loss
Yahoo Health
Mindful eating may not be a mainstream weight-loss tactic (yet), but that doesn't mean it's unsupported by science. In a 2013 Kent State University study, researchers found that mindfulness strategies — for example, paying close attention to the taste ...


Iowa Specialty Hospitals to offer weight loss seminar
Mason City Globe Gazette
Individuals will have the opportunity to meet Dr. Todd Eibes and members of his team, learn about weight loss surgery, hear patient testimonials and have weight loss surgery questions answered. All those attending are encouraged to invite family ...


Medical News Today

When You Lose Weight, You're Literally Disappearing Into Thin Air
Huffington Post
The Question: According to my nutritionist, I've lost 15 pounds of fat this year. Where did it all go? The Answer: Our most predominant metaphors for weight loss are words like “melt” or “burn.” But if you consider the actual biochemistry of the weight ...
Majority of weight loss occurs 'via breathing'Medical News Today
What Happens to Fat When You Lose It?Shape Magazine
Can Weight Loss Really Contribute to Carbon Emissions?Nature World News
Today.com -WBUR -Yahoo Health
all 200 news articles »

Here's What Will Make You 10 Times More Likely To Lose Weight
Huffington Post
When it comes to making New Year's resolutions, weight loss tops many people's list, with as much as 21 percent of the population (me included) vowing to slim down. Within six months, fewer than half of us will still be trying, according to research by ...


Prayers, Facebook and Weight Loss
Huffington Post
In the state of Kentucky, it is impossible for a small business owner like me to purchase health care coverage that would cover weight loss surgery. People on Medicaid and Medicare can get the surgery, and many people at large corporations have plans ...


Our 14 Most Inspiring Weight Loss Stories Of 2014
Huffington Post
As December comes to a close, many of us are engaging in some end-of-year reflection, not only upon what has been gained over the last 12 months, but, in the case of the individuals profiled as part of our ongoing I Lost Weight series, what's been lost.

and more »

hngnews.com

Coach helps with weight loss, nutrition
hngnews.com
Its saunas help with weight loss and detoxifying, Rudis said. The infrared light heats up the body's core, causing the individual to sweat. Rudis said it's possible to burn between 500 to 600 calories during a 30- to 40-minute sitting in the sauna, and ...


Weight Loss Tip #66: Perform lunges to lose weight from your lower body
TheHealthSite
If you are looking at losing fat from your lower body, then lunges can help you achieve your goal. It is one of the most effective exercises for shaping and toning your thighs. Lunges engage the muscles of your hamstrings and simultaneously work your ...


Your Houston News

Replace sugary drinks with water for health benefits, weight loss
Your Houston News
Cutting back on sweetened drinks can contribute to weight loss. Friends, let us replace our sweet sugary drinks with water for health benefits as well as weight loss. We know that generally these drinks are of little nutritional value and mostly empty ...

Google News

Walking, Water, and Weight Watchers: The 3 W?s for Weight Loss

I have been seriously working on losing weight for about... Read More

Why Do We Cheat On Our Diets?

If only we could solve this question, the world (for... Read More

Healthy Diet Answers: Want Fries With That Mister ?

Yes, my healthy diet has at times suffered at the... Read More

America Health Watch

America loves fast food. Last year, consumers spent billions of... Read More

Fast Weight Loss ? The Importance of Low Body-fat Levels!

My name is Greg Ryan and I am a high... Read More

Weight Loss Programs and Pills: Is Your Weight Loss Program Safe and Effective?

In this age being ignorant is like committing a crime.... Read More

Gastric Bypass Surgery Alternative

I am considering Gastric bypass surgery because I am overweight,... Read More

How To Select A Weight Loss Program

Choosing a weight loss program may be a daunting task.... Read More

Diet Tactics You Must Know To Lose Fat?

This article is about making long-term changes in the foods... Read More

Diet and Exercise Evolution: Adaptation (part I) -- Theory

Adaptation is the most important concept I teach. The human... Read More

3 Secrets Your Diet Book Wont Tell You

Are you wondering why you're not losing weight? If you're... Read More

Fat Burning Tips

These fat burning tips can help you discover a fat... Read More

For All Walks of Life

Why Walking Could Be the Solution to Your Fitness Dilemma.Walk,... Read More

5 Amazing Diet Tips for Powerful Weightloss

Before you try starving yourself or turning to diet drugs... Read More

Abdominal Liposuction - When Diets Dont Work

Abdominal liposuction refers to liposuction, or lipoplasty, that is performed... Read More

Whats Really Behind the Milk Diet?

The purpose of this article is not to scrutinize, vilify,... Read More

Eating On The Run For Weight Loss

"I'm too busy!" "I'm always on the run." "I... Read More

5 Tips For Weight Loss

Are you ready to lose some weight? Perhaps you're surfing... Read More

Eating for Health, Happiness and Successful Weight Control

Don't diet, just eat and lose weight!First, the following "diet"... Read More

Hoodia ? Its Basic Nature Part 3

Hoodia Gordonii a cactus plant found thousands of miles away... Read More

Walking: A Key to Weight Loss

Doctors prescribe Walking as the best medicine for weight loss.We... Read More

Scientific Guidelines for Effective Weight Loss

If you have been dieting and haven't lost weight, stop!... Read More

Positive Imaging for Weight Loss

Visualization is a powerful technique that can help you make... Read More

Questioning Cardio for Weight Loss?

Q: I've heard you mention that you don't need tons... Read More

How To Get Rid Of Your Belly Fat Or Pooch

The best way you can get rid of your pop... Read More