Should we eat everything on our plates?
It’s no secret that people are larger today than ever before. Waistlines have expanded over the last forty years and studies show that potion sizes have grown as well.
Researchers from New York University found that average portion sizes started to grow in the 1970’s, rising quickly in the 1980’s—and this phenomenon hasn’t shown signs of slowing. A “large” order of fries from McDonalds’ weighs the same as 1998’s “Supersize” fries. And it doesn’t stop there. Check out these eye-opening figures, provided by the National Institutes of Health:
- Today's 6-inch bagel has 350 calories. This is 210 more calories than a 3-inch bagel 20 years ago.
- Today's 5 ounce muffin has 500 calories. This is 310 calories more than muffin 20 years ago.
- Today, a large cookie has about 275 calories. This is 220 more calories more than a cookie 20 years ago.
- Today, a 3 cup chicken Caesar salad has 790 calories. This is 400 more calories more than Caesar salads 20 years ago.
Keep in mind that the health experts all agree on one thing: Obesity is on the rise because people eat too many calories and do not exercise enough. Portion control is a very important factor for losing weight, but to attain a slim and healthy physique exercise is also a must.
I am your local fitness expert, and I’m here to get you started on an exercise program that will change your life and shape forever. Now, back to our discussion on portion distortion…
Now that you know portion sizes today are far larger than you really need, what are you going to do the next time you go out to eat? Try the following 3 tips and watch as your waist begins to slim and your confidence soars.
Trim-Down Tip #1: Re-program Your Mind
I’m sure your mother did a great job when she taught you to “clean your plate.” The problem now lies in the fact that your plate is usually loaded with more than 3 times the calories that you really need. So what’s the solution?
Realize that it is O.K. to leave food on your plate. Eating everything on the plate is probably a habit now, but it is one that you can break. Focus on how you feel halfway through your meal. Are you full? If you are beginning to feel full then stop eating. Don’t worry—your mom won’t send you to your room!
Trim-Down Tip #2: Slow Down
I know that this is a tough one—so bear with me. These days we are in such a hurry, we rush to work, rush to lunch, rush through errands and then rush home. So it is no wonder that food consumption is no exception. Most meals are devoured before your stomach has the chance to let you know that it is full.
Eat your next meal slower than usual. Chew each bite thoroughly, engage in conversation and pay attention for signs that you may be getting full. Once you realize that you are full, stop eating. Congratulations—you just tailored your portion down to its proper size.
Trim-Down Tip #3: Go Halfsies
I understand that it may be very difficult for you to leave food on your plate, even though your mother isn’t looking over your shoulder, and even if you eat slowly. No problem—you just need to do some strategic planning. The next time you go out to eat do one of the following two options.
1) Share an entrée with a friend and order salad or soup to start your meal. This will cut your calories down dramatically, while still giving you the satisfaction of clearing your plate.
2) If sharing isn’t an option then ask your waiter to bring a to-go box along with your order. As soon as the food is placed in front of you put half of it into the to-go box. You are now left with a reasonable portion and even have your next meal taken care of.