Category Archives: portion size

The Importance of Portion Control – Rush

I think the first lesson I learned when I started writing this blog 10 years ago was the importance of portion control and serving size. If you aren’t paying attention to portion size and serving size for the food you eat, you are just kidding yourself about getting control of your weight. Here’s what the Rush Health and Wellness Bulletin has to say:

Are you having trouble losing weight even though you’re making healthier lifestyle choices — sacrificing sweets, swapping French fries for a side salad and sweating bullets at the gym? Do you continue to mount the scale, week after week, only to discover the same stubborn number staring back at you?

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Photo by Вадим Маркин on Pexels.com

The problem might not be what you’re eating, but how much you’re eating. In fact, portion control is often the most challenging hurdle on a person’s path to weight loss. Continue reading

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Can cherries upset your stomach?

If you are on the lookout for healthy snacks to munch on instead of potato chips, chocolate or other not-so-nutritious foods, check out cherries.

Recently, a guy I know bought cherries to satisfy that need without consuming a lot of empty calories. He ended up demonstrating that even natural healthy snacks have their limits. You need to use your brain when snacking and don’t overdo it, no matter whether it’s Cheetos or cherries.

Twice in recent weeks, this guy ate about a pound of cherries at one sitting. Eating that quantity of food at one sitting is just not smart any way you look at it, even a good healthy natural food like cherries.

Searching online for information about the problems he was having, he learned that everyone should limit their intake of cherries at one sitting to a cup at most.

As I say so often on these pages, “Eat less; move more; live longer.”

LiveStrong.com notes that, “Cherries are high in quercetin, a flavonoid that offers antioxidant protections against free radicals. A handful may offer you many health benefits, including heart disease and cancer prevention, but eating too many cherries can lead to stomach upset. Large amounts of quercetin may upset your stomach, triggering nausea and vomiting. Stick to a single cup of cherries to determine your threshold for quercetin intake.”

The take-away here is that overeating any food, even a healthy, natural fruit like cherries, can hurt you. Forget the mindless munching and think about portion control. That is one of the keys to getting a handle on your weight. You can read further on this in a post I wrote about eating watermelon, another very healthy food. You CAN have too much of a good thing.

If you are a guy/gal who has a sweet tooth and just can’t resist junking out, please take a moment to read my Love Letter to Hostess Ho Ho’s and Twinkies – NOT. It might give you a clearer perspective on how junk food damages you.

In the right hand column of this page you will find the portion control tag to read any of a number of posts on that topic. Get control of your portions and you will have grasped a key to controlling your weight.

Check out my Page – Snacking – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Tony

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7 Tips on holiday weight control

These are great fun times coming up for us for the most part. We will see friends and loved ones who live out of town. There is great reason to celebrate. With the tips on this infographic, you may be able to sidestep the worst of holiday weight gain.

Good luck!

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Image Credit: P.K. Newby, and author of Food and Nutrition: What Everyone Needs to Know®, Oxford University Press 2018

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Choosing Healthy Meals As You Get Older – NIA

It turns out that ‘senior discounts’ apply as much to our nutrition as to our bills when it comes to eating as we get older. The National Institute on Aging offers the following tips for seniors to insure that we get all the nutrients. that we need.

 

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Making healthy food choices is a smart thing to do—no matter how old you are! Your body changes through your 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond. Food provides nutrients you need as you age. Use these tips to choose foods for better health at each stage of life.

1. Drink plenty of liquids

With age, you may lose some of your sense of thirst. Drink water often. Low-fat or fat-free milk or 100% juice also helps you stay hydrated. Limit beverages that have lots of added sugars or salt. Learn which liquids are better choices.

It always pays to read the labels. Remember, that a teaspoon full of sugar is only four grams, so know how much sugar you are consuming.

2. Make eating a social event

Meals are more enjoyable when you eat with others. Invite a friend to join you or take part in a potluck at least twice a week. A senior center or place of worship may offer meals that are shared with others. There are many ways to make mealtimes pleasing. Continue reading

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Easter Ham – How many calories?

Ham is the traditional Easter main course, unless you’re going to an Easter buffet with your family and have miles of different foods to choose from.

Beware the salt in Easter ham

So how many calories are in that ham, or how much can you eat without ruining your calorie count on Easter? And what about the salt? Ham and salt go together because salt is used to cure and preserve ham.

Here are some differing estimates that may help you with that ham dinner. Myfitnesspal.com puts a three-ounce serving of honey baked ham, spiral cut, at a very manageable 150 calories. Three ounces is a small amount, less than a quarter of a pound, however. The quarter pounder works for McDonald’s. Maybe it can work for you, too.

But then the salt kicks in. That three-ounce portion has 960 mg of salt, or 320 mg an ounce. We need around 2000 milligrams a day and medical experts say that many of us should cut it to 1500.

Another site good on calorie matters, SparkRecipes.com, puts 5.33 ounces of ham, presumably made without the honey this time, at 337 calories but with a sodium level of 2,273.4 mg. Experts recommend that adults consume below 1500 mg of salt per day.

Maybe the idea is that Easter only comes around once a year. Enjoy some ham and be done with it. Just don’t overdo it, particularly in view of the sodium content.

I think the old saw, “All things in moderation” comes into play here. You can enjoy some ham on Easter as long as you don’t make a pig of yourself.

Tony

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HOW TO LIVE A LONGER AND HEALTHIER LIFE

There are some excellent insights here on the eating aspects of living a long and healthy life.

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Biochemist Valter Longo has devoted decades to discovering connections between nutrition and successful aging. He runs the Longevity Institute at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, where the focus is on extending healthy life spans and finding ways to prevent and treat conditions like cancer and cardiovascular disease that growing older makes us more susceptible to developing. Longo is also a professor of biological science at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Armed with results from the lab — including clinical trials showing that cycles of a five-day fasting-mimicking diet can reduce risk factors for many life-threatening diseases — Longo is calling for change in the kitchen. In this Q&A, he reveals the role that food can play in keeping us youthful and tackles some common misconceptions related to how, what and when we should eat.

How important is food to our health and aging?

Other…

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The Portion Plate – Size Does Matter

I stumbled on this a while back. The Portion Plate looks kind of like a kid’s plate with the illustrations on it, playing cards, a cassette a CD, a baseball, but it is for adults. The Portion Plate gives graphic demonstrations of how big a serving should be. I think it is a great idea in this world that bombards us with super-sized servings of everything and totally distorting idea of proper portion sizes. This group sees portion sizes as “contributing to the obesity epidemic and putting roughly one-third of Americans at risk for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and some cancers…”

Continue reading

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Portion control visuals – Infographic

I am still convinced that portion control is a key concept in controlling your weight. If you stick with these you can’t go far wrong.

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Tony

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5 Clean and healthy snack ideas – Infographic

I am convinced that portion control and serving size are the keys to controlling our weight and living a healthy (and long) life. Of course, we need to integrate regular exercise into the mix, too.

Also, must confess that I am an inveterate snacker. It was one of the reasons that I lost the battle of the bulge for so many years. Check out my Page – Snacking – the good, the bad and the ugly to read more on it. 

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Regarding the air-popped popcorn, I personally prefer regular popped corn using coconut oil. Just don’t go crazy on the quantity. Check out my post – How healthy is popcorn(?) for the details.

I posted on hummus a while back : Is hummus good for you?

Finally, check out Healthy snacking as an act of kindness.

Eat less; move more; live longer.

Tony

 

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Dave & Buster’s, Uno Among 2016 Xtreme Eating Award Recipients – CSPI

We really do have to use our heads when we decide to eat out. Some chains’ offerings make a joke out of our attempts at portion control.

One Chain’s Burger Platter Has Nearly 3,000 Calories and 10,000 Milligrams of Sodium

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Perhaps you’ve eaten a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese.  Picture having a second one.  And a third.  And then a fourth.  Along with two medium orders of fries doused with a combined 18 packets of salt.  For most people, that’s unthinkable.  At Uno Pizzeria & Grill, it’s lunch:  The chain’s Whole Hog Burger has hamburger, sausage, bacon, prosciutto, pepperoni, four types of cheese, garlic mayo, and pickles and comes with fries and onion rings.  All told it’s more than a day’s worth of calories (2,850), three days’ worth of saturated fat (62 grams), and six days’ worth of sodium (9,790 milligrams).

That burger is just one of nine recipients of the 2016 Xtreme Eating Awards—conferred annually by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest and published in its Nutrition Action Healthletter.  Far from doing their part to reverse the obesity epidemic, America’s chain restaurants are pouring gasoline on the fire, crossing fried chicken and waffles with Eggs Benedict, merging cheeseburgers and egg rolls, and repurposing macaroni and cheese as a sandwich filling. Continue reading

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Portion Size From the Other Side of the Counter

Unfortunately, our ‘bargain-hunting’ hard-wiring seeks out large portions in restaurants, in a vain quest for the ‘most for my money.’

You’ve heard of ‘win-win.’ Well this is ‘win-lose.’ Getting too much food can be costly to our health not to mention our waistline, despite appearing to be a financial bargain.

Professional chefs regularly offer steaks double the size recommended by the USDA.

Professional chefs regularly offer restaurant goers steaks double the size recommended by the USDA.

The more successful you are at finding an eating place with huge portions, the more difficulty you will have keeping control of your weight and waistline. We all need to rethink the situation. Pigging out at a low price doesn’t make our trip to dine out a success. We need to start thinking in terms of the nutritional quality of our food not just the quantity. Continue reading

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Bigger is not Better where Food is Concerned – CDC

Bigger is not better! The average restaurant meal is four — 4 — yes, FOUR — times larger than it was in the 1950s. The average adult is now 26 pounds heavier than 60 years ago.

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The Centers for Disease Control has released this wonderful graphic on how  portion sizes have gotten completely out of control.

As we say regularly here on the blog: Eat less; move more; live longer.

For more on Portion Control check out my Page – How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off.

Tony

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3 Portion Sizes That Pack on the Pounds – Infographic

One picture is worth a thousand words department. A look at how portion sizes have ballooned since the ’50s gives us a clue as to why 60 percent of us are overweight and 30 percent obese. Don’t let fast food portion sizes torpedo your weight control efforts. Eat less; move more.

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The graph and proportions are dramatic. Make sure you notice how the figures on the bottom have also expanded.

In my weight control experience, portion control and serving size are key concepts. To read further on portion control and serving size, check out my Page – How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off.

Tony

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10 Weight Loss Tips

Sometimes seeing a simple list can clarify a situation.

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If you consider yourself one of the 60 per cent of us who are overweight, you might enjoy this:

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Tony

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How the Right Perspective can Jump Start Weight Loss

I fought the battle of the bulge for decades with only small sporadic successes that were always followed by further weight gains. I like to eat and I really enjoy pizza, potato chips as well as ice cream and other fattening sweets. That’s why my problem wouldn’t go away. If it tasted good then I wanted to eat more and I often didn’t stop till the food ran out. Not a healthy practice!

Then I was lucky enough to get involved in writing this blog on diet, exercise and good health. What happened next was almost like magic. At the time, 2010, I had pared my weight down to 165 pounds from a high several years earlier of over 220. So, I considered myself to be a success, although probably only temporarily. But, writing the blog changed my perspective. I no longer thought of food as something just wonderful to consume with no further consequences. I became aware of portion control and serving size. I started paying attention to them. Previously, I had considered a serving of pasta, another of my favorites, to be a heaping plateful. Wrong. A cup of pasta amounts to 220 calories. And, that is without tomato or meat sauce.

This is one cup of pasta - 200 calories

This is one cup of pasta – 200 calories

When I say the change in perspective worked like magic, I mean just that. After several months of writing the blog, I found that my pants were sliding down around my diminishing waistline! I actually went to the doctor because I thought I must have cancer because the first thing they always ask is, “Have you experienced recent weight loss?”

It turned out that I was perfectly healthy. My body was just responding to my changed perspective of paying attention to what I ate and not simply overindulging because it tasted good.

That has been my actual experience. Today in late 2014, I weigh in the low 150 pound range where I have been for several years.

I truly believe it was the changed perspective toward food that accomplished in months what I had failed at for decades.

A friend recently emailed me a fun example of perspective that I want to share with you. It is a test for admission to an elementary school in Hong Kong. There is a series of numbers in a parking lot. You need to fill in the missing one. I confess I didn’t pass it. And, I hasten to add that I am good at math.

See how you do.

You are to answer in 20 seconds. I took way longer and still missed it. I will publish the answer tomorrow.

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Good luck!

Tony

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Super Weight Loss Tips from Tufts

Regular readers know that I used to be overweight with a lot of bad eating habits. At my worst, I weighed over 220 pounds with a waistline of at least 44 inches. You can read how I made my first big successful swipe at that problem in How I lost 50 pounds in 52 weeks.

The past nearly eight years of writing this blog has raised my level of awareness into the stratosphere as far as weight control and healthy eating are concerned. But I always go back to the first principles of portion control and serving size. Tufts offers some super suggestions that will bolster your weight loss efforts going forward.

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Below are a few tips to ensure that you’re eating the right portion amounts:

– Most restaurant portion sizes are at least double or triple the portion you should be eating. As soon as your meal arrives, cut it in half and box up the other half. Take it home to have for lunch the next day.

– Serve food on small plates. Instead of using a dinner plate, substitute a luncheon plate or a salad plate.

- When eating at home, put a small portion of food on your plate, and keep the rest of the food in the kitchen. Then, if you want to eat more, you’ll have to get up to get it.

– Read food labels. When a package says that it contains more than one serving, measure out one serving into a separate dish.

- Avoid eating in front of the TV or while reading. Instead, focus on the tastes, textures, and aromas of your food. This can keep you from mindlessly munching your way to the bottom of a bowl of popcorn or bag of chips.

– Listen to your body’s hunger cues. Pay attention to feelings of hunger and fullness.

This last point is excellent. Don’t eat for reasons other than hunger. A pint or Rocky Road ice cream will not solve your emotional turmoil.

For more information on the connection between the heart and brain, consider purchasing  Heart-Brain Diet: Essential Nutrition for Healthy Longevity by Tufts Medical Report.

I have written further on portion control: A fresh look at portion control and portion distortion, How to Use Portion Control in Weight Loss and Maintenance, Get A Food Scale for Portion Control, Dining Out Portion Control Tricks from Weight Watchers, From “The Portion Teller.”

Tony

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