Last, Friday I attended a lecture by Dr Jim Painter, PhD, RD a professor, researcher and author from Eastern Illinois University. He has been studying the changing weight and eating patterns in the US over the past 50 years and has some interesting theories with good research behind them.

Guess what the number one isssue seems to be.

Portion size!  If you grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, you may remember the standard size soft drink to be 7-8 oz. Today it’s double or triple that. Same patten for most of the restaurant meals we eat. Even food companies and supermarkets  have jumped on the oversize bandwagon. For example, a typical bagel 20 years ago was about 3 oz or 210 calories. Today a typical bagel at your local coffee shop or supermarket bakery is somewhere between 350 and 480 calories. So if you have been eating the same foods and can’t figure out why you’ve gained weight, it may be because portions you’re eating have gotten larger and you may not have even noticed this.

Dr Painter’s research shows that people generally eat what’s on their plate and even our plates and bowls and cups have gotten bigger. I can tell you from experience, a Margarita in the early eighties was not typically the size of a swimming pool. If we get served one of these super-sized Magaritas, I’m pretty sure most of us usually sip down to the bottom.

Some suggestions are:

  • Use smaller dishes at home.
  • Switch to an 8″ plate for dinner.
  • Next time your pour a beverage use a taller, thinner glass.
  • Also you may want to use a measuring cup the first time and pour the amount you think you should have then pour it in your glass. This way, you’ll know moving forward.
  • Do the same for things like cereal. Use a measuring cup to follow the serving size on the box, then pour this amount  into your bowl and use this as a guide for future portion-control. If it seems too small of a portion, switch to a smaller bowl. If it fills the bow- it fills you up!
  • Ask for a doggie-bag immediately when food is served and put half away for the next day. (This saves time and money by the way).
  • Share or split your meal.
  • When asked “Do you want to “Super-Size your order?” Say “NO!”
  • If you think smaller portions are not a value, ask yourself where is the value in eating more than you need, gaining weight, feeling sluggish and developing a myriad of health problems thereby compromising your quality of life.