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
Gastric Bypass Surgery - Weighing The Risks of Obesity Weight Loss Surgery
RISING POPULARITYGastric bypass surgery has become a popular surgical procedure in the last 5 years as a radical option for clinically obese patients to manage weight loss. During this time several notable celebrities have undergone this procedure such as Carnie Wilson, Al Roker, ? and ?.
Weight Loss Woes
Weight loss is an issue that affects men and women alike. Children, particularly young girls, are also starting to think about weight loss at younger and younger ages.
Even Gastric Bypass Patients Hit Weight Loss Plateaus
Sometime, during the phase of rapid weight loss after gastric bypass surgery, many patients may find their weight loss is stalled. Talk about discouraging.
Body Wraps & Weight Loss
Body wraps can help tone and tighten the skin, improve blood circulation, detoxify the body and help mobilize fat so it can be eliminated from the body naturally. You do not need any special equipment other than a mixing bowl, heating pot and wrapping sheets like thin towels.
Unearth the Weight Loss Values in an Egg
At the University of Illinois, a new research found that eating high quality protein such as protein found in eggs can help weight loss. An essential amino acid leucine reduces muscle tissue loss, promotes body fat loss and stabilizes blood glucose levels.
Low-Carb Diets: Are You Losing More than Weight?
The average American eats about twice as much protein than what they require. Some people, in the pursuit of thinness, are going on low-carb diets and are eating up to four times the protein their body needs.
98 Percent of Dieters Fail: A Sensible Lifestyle is the Answer
What the Diet Industry Does Not Want You To Know: 98 Percent of Dieters Fail. 98 Percent of dieters either quit the diet or are not able to keep the weight off permanently.
Lose Body Fat by Choosing the Right Diet Plan For You
If you are overweight and searching for the diet program or weight loss product that will be the best suit your individual needs and help you lose the weight as fast as possible, you may be confused considering the numerous diet programs and free diet plans available to you online. When choosing a weight reduction plan, it's important to consider several factors.
Conquer Those Carbohydrate Cravings
Are you a hopeless carbohydrate addict? Let's conquer these cravings once and for all?..
Is Your Goal Really Weight Loss?
Are you ashamed of your weight? Do you have a goal weight that you want to reach through weight loss? I'd say so, it's been pushed into our brains many times over and over again that "weight loss" is what we want to accomplish. There are weight loss guides, weight loss supplements, and many other things that push "weight loss".
One Change Can Make All The Difference
Ever wondered why some people manage to keep their weight off easily and others just pile it all back on when they stop that new diet? The answer is easy, it comes down to one simple change.Before we get to that simple change, you need to keep in mind these rules of thumb when it comes to dieting.
Snacking, Fear, Greed and the Gastric Bypass Tool
Do you remember nodding your head with understanding during your pre/post WLS seminar when the speaker said, "Gastric bypass is only a tool, the rest is up to you." I nodded my head to the nurse dietician as she spoke to the room of fresh-out-of-surgery gastric bypass patients.
Good Night, Sleep Tight!
One of the most important things you can do for fat loss, controlling weight gain and for overall health is often overlooked. MORE SLEEP! Yes, you actually need to sleep more to gain less!A lack of sleep could be contributing to America's obesity epidemic.
Buyer Beware: Purchasing Fat Burners and Other Supplements Online
Each month I receive hundreds of e-mails from consumers who have been bilked outof their hard earned dollars by unscrupulous supplement / fat burner manufacturers. Manufacturers who have added them to monthly recurring billingcycles without their permission.
Weights Before Cardio: Stop Working Against Yourself
Just because you're working hard, doesn't mean that you're working smart. I see it every day.
Food Cravings: Use EFT to Learn Patience
Food Cravings: How to Practice PatienceDuring holidays and parties you may try to "plan ahead" so you can avoid some of the rush. Last year at Christmas I realized I had to take three major dishes for Christmas Eve dinner and it suddenly dawned on me that I'd have to bake the cake the night ahead.
Sensible Approach To Weight Loss
Losing weight is a tough and demanding task for most of us who experience the effects of growing waistlines and concerns associated with it. Once you have made up your mind and you are fully determined to lose weight, start your weight loss campaign with a positive approach.
Panic After WLS: Im Succeeding at Weight Loss: Now What?
The fear of success arises in patients when they realize a genuine change is occurring and they are moving forward with their life. To have bariatric surgery is to pursue an allusive dream that is now being realized - many patients have dreamed all of their lives of successfully losing weight.
Getting Through the Holidays Without Gaining Weight
Now that the holiday season is here, holiday foods and meals take center stage. And this is as it should be.
The Jack LaLanne Diet - Are You Tough Enough?
There's no way you can separate the Jack LaLanne diet from the Jack LaLanne lifestyle. And anyone who knows anything about this undisputed Godfather of fitness knows that his lifestyle is definitely not for the faint hearted.