One of my faithful water exercise students reported proudly that she has lost 40 pounds this year, over the summer and fall months mostly. I asked how she did it and she told me the story.
“I was having a lot of trouble with my knee and went to the doctor to see if he could figure out why. He told me bluntly that I weighed too much and the extra pounds I was carrying were putting an overload situation for my poor knees. He said if I would lose 25 pounds, my knee would feel a whole lot better, to say nothing for the rest of my body.”
“Well, having him tell me that was exactly what I needed to hear. Somehow, without my noticing it, my weight had crept up over the last 10 years since we retired. I am good about what we eat, as my husband has diabetes and so I cook healthy meals, and we eat a lot of fresh veggies and all, but the problem was that I ate too much of what is a good thing.”
Norma discovered a secret that has plagued many of us as we age. With each year, our body metabolism slows just a little, and frequently our activity level diminishes at the same time. So the foods we used to eat with no problem, now begin to gradually accumulate around our waistlines.
People are getting bigger, and at the same time, our food portions are getting bigger, not that there could be a connection here!
From 1977 to 1997, hamburgers expanded by 23%; a plate of Mexican food got 27% bigger; soft drinks increased by 52%; snacks (potato chips, pretzels, crackers) grew 60%. I’m sure most of you can recall when a typical soft drink used to come in a 10 ounce cup, now they are about a gallon. This is getting ridiculous!
You can take a stand as Norma did, and regain control over the amount of food you are consuming.
You may need to start with careful measurement, to learn exactly how many servings you’re eating, then reduce portions until they’re more in line with recommended serving sizes.
This will be the habit that can cut the most calories the quickest. You could lose weight by doing nothing more than eating single servings of your favorite foods instead of the supersize overload of calories you normally dish onto your plate.
Here are some Portion Control tips:
Use smaller plates and bowls. There’s a proven link between the perceived size of food and appetite.
- Leftovers are okay. Save half your meal for the next day.
- Prepare or order smaller sizes.
- Pay attention to what you’re eating. You’ll eat more if you’re
- mindlessly grazing or staring at the TV.
- Learn to read food labels carefully. Serving sizes can be misleading (for example, a can of cola is technically two servings.)
A quick note: As you cut down portions, you may feel a little hungry at first. To offset this temporary hunger without eating more:
- Drink more water
- Eat fiber-loaded foods
- Eat low-calorie foods first
- Eat slowly; put the fork down between bites
Let me know how this works for you as you continue to enjoy your favorite foods–just a more reasonable portion.