Tag Archives: portion control

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?

man eating meat with vegetables

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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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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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…”

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Pasta not fattening study reports

Good news for Italian food lovers everywhere! Research from I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed in Pozzilli, Italy, shows that, unlike popular beliefs, pasta consumption does not contribute to obesity; on the contrary: it is associated with a decrease in body mass index.

In recent years pasta gained a bad reputation: it will fatten you. This led lots of people to limit its consumption, often as part of some aggressive “do it yourself” diets. Now a study conducted by the Department of Epidemiology, I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed in Pozzilli, Italy, does justice to this fundamental element of the Mediterranean diet, showing how pasta consumption is actually associated with a reduced likelihood of both general and abdominal obesity.

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A typical bowl of pasta amounts to more than a single serving.

The research, published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes, examined over 23,000 people recruited in two large epidemiological studies: Moli-sani and INHES (Italian Nutrition & Health Survey), conducted by the same Department. “By analyzing anthropometric data of the participants and their eating habits – explains George Pounis, first author of the paper – we have seen that consumption of pasta, contrary to what many think, is not associated with an increase in body weight, rather the opposite. Our data show that enjoying pasta according to individuals’ needs contributes to a healthy body mass index, lower waist circumference and better waist-hip ratio.” Continue reading

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Eating in moderation

This post demonstrates the difficulty of trying weight control without the proper tools. For my money the number one tool in weight control is portion control and its corollary serving size. These are absolutes that can be followed by anyone willing to put in the effort.

Check out the following for more details on portion control

How to lose weight using portion control

Serving size and portion control – Keys to weight loss

A fresh look at portion control and portion distortion

How to lose weight using portion control

Tony

Focus on food safety

Pizza size is all in the eye of the beholder (Photo: Valerio Capello). Pizza size is all in the eye of the beholder (Photo: Valerio Capello).

In 1978, I visited the USA with two colleagues on a mission to study meat quality. After travelling by car for many hours to reach Texas we got very hungry and stopped at a pizza joint in Oklahoma. We had a choice of small, medium, large and very large pizzas. We settled on one medium each as one should eat in moderation, but huge pizzas each covering half of the table arrived. We couldn’t even eat half of the pizzas.

This highlights that there is no universal measure of eating in moderation.

What is moderation?

Eating in moderation seems to be practical advice for a healthy diet, but a new study suggests that it is an ineffective guide for losing or maintaining weight. The scientists found that the more people liked a food, the more flexible their definitions of moderation were. And who…

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The Six Best Doctors

I found this in my web wandering and fell in love with it. I don’t even know if it qualifies as an infographic.

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In the close to 10 years I have been writing this blog I find that a lot of the loose ends have been burned off. In the beginning it was all about losing weight, counting calories, measuring portions, etc. Now, while I am aware of calories and portions, my focus has shifted entirely to simply living healthy. I weigh in the mid 150 pound range where I have dwelt for around five years. I have total confidence that I can control my weight. I don’t try any more. I am simply doing it. Just like Yoda said, “Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”

I don’t think you need expensive gym memberships or more expensive personal trainers to get control of your weight. You can do it.

This infographic, or set of pictures with captions, tells the whole story for me. Get outside, move, drink water, get enough sleep, eat intelligently and enjoy the sunshine.

I hope you can get it to work for you.

For the record: While I don’t use a personal trainer, I realize that they know a lot about exercise and can be very helpful. Also, I have a number of friends who do that for a living. If you feel you need one, by all means, use one.

Tony

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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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How to Lose Weight Using Portion Control

My main focus is living a healthy life and exercising regularly. Paying attention to what I eat is a primary tool and one of the best techniques for this is paying attention to portion control and serving size. I truly don’t try to lose weight. I have been within five pounds of 155 for the past eight years.

If you are overweight, you can use the portion control tool to jump start your weight loss efforts.

This was my idea of a ‘serving’ of pasta. No wonder I was always overweight.

Over the course of the past couple of years, I have found out how very much I didn’t know about the subject. When we started the blog, I began reading about various weight loss techniques. One of the first I encountered was portion control and serving size. I was already counting calories, but I had no feeling at all for portion control. My idea of one serving was the amount I would serve myself. For example, pasta. I love pasta and eat it regularly. Prior to working on the blog, my idea of a serving of pasta was a plateful of it. (See photo).
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How to Measure the Perfect Portion Size – Infographic

One of the first and most important lessons I learned about weight control was Portion Size. Until I understood portion and serving size, I had no idea how to control my weight. I thought a serving of pasta was a heaping plate full. As you can see from the illustration, that is a far cry from accurate. Once you get a handle on how much food is a correct portion, you will be on your way to controlling your weight.

An example of portion size and serving size is the old bag of chips example. You pick up a bag of potato chips. Because you are paying attention to your weight, you check the calories on the back. It says something like 150 calories per serving. Not bad … but wait weight. A serving is one ounce. The bag weighs three ounces. So, you need to limit yourself to a third of the chips. Use a food scale, or your eye, or count them out, but if you eat the whole bag, you will consume 450 calories, not the 150 serving size. That’s how you combine serving size and portion size.

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Tony

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Serving Size and Portion Control – Keys to Weight Loss – Infographic

I hope you will take the time to study this infographic. There are loads of fascinating and useful facts and observations in it.

In my battle of the bulge, I found serving size and portion control to be the keys to my victory. Once you take charge of how much you are consuming, the battle is won. To continue on to robust good health, of course, you need to add regular exercise, too.

If you click on the illustration, you get an enlarged picture.

If you click on the illustration, you get an enlarged picture.

Tony

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A Graphic Guide to Food Portions – Infographic

In the years I have been writing this blog, the single most important concept I have run across is Portion Control.

You have to get a handle on how much you are putting into your stomach if you want to have a chance at good nutrition and good health. The perfect partner to Portion Control is Serving Size. When you look at a snack package and read “150 calories per serving,” don’t get excited about eating it until you know how many servings are in it. If there are four servings in the package you need to realize that eating the whole package is a 600 calorie snack, not a 150 calorie one.

I like the visual examples in the info graphic. A three ounce serving of protein is about the size of a deck of cards.

My Plate also gives a good breakdown of the proper proportions of veggies to fruits, grains, protein and dairy in a healthy diet.

My Plate Infographic

Tony

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Everything You Wanted to Know About Calories, but Were Afraid to Ask – Infographic

I ran across this Calorie infographic on the web and thought you might enjoy it as much as I did.

I like that it shows some activities and how many calories you burn per hour.

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Good Eating Habits Die Hard in Las Vegas

I have said elsewhere and written here time and again that I feel I have total confidence in my ability to maintain my current weight of 155 pounds, having done that for the last five years.

HOWEVER, that statement is based on the assumption that I am home and in total control of what I eat, preparing most of my own meals. Also, it assumes that I am able to ride my bike an average of about 20 miles a day. Clearly, that much exercise covers a multitude of sins.

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The view from our room at Caesars

At the end of February I went with my girlfriend to Las Vegas to celebrate our second anniversary together. In this case, what happened in Las Vegas isn’t going to stay there.

First of all, I realized that I was going to be eating a lot of wonderfully prepared foods. That fact could be a big potential stumbling block for my weight control program. Secondly, no way was I going to be pedaling 20 miles a day on a bike. There are health clubs in the big hotels, HOWEVER, again, I am leery about exercising in Las Vegas. The altitude is 2500 feet above sea level and my body reacts poorly to that. I almost fell off an exercise bike a few years back after just 20 minutes of riding as a result of this altitude. The bottom line is that I limit my exercise to walking around casinos and sight seeing. Not a lot of calories burned that way.

So, I made a policy decision about eating. I was definitely going to enjoy indulging in the culinary fare available. After all, we were there to celebrate. I didn’t want to spoil it being a calorie cop. If I gained a pound or two in the five days we were there, so be it. I felt sure that I could burn them off once I got back home.

I am not going to bore you with pictures from the dozen or so meals
that we ate there. But, I have selected some dishes that I think represented our dining experiences over the period.

This was a pasta dinner at Rao's in Caesars Palace. Delicious meal on our first night.

This was a pasta dinner at Rao’s in Caesars. Delicious meal.

The next day we ate at a little French cafe in Paris, our hotel. This sandwich is bacon and cheddar cheese melted on a croissant.

This was mouth watering and I have to believe it ran close to 1000 calories.

This bacon, egg and cheese croissant was mouth wateringly delicious and I have to believe it ran close to 1000 calories.

We would have desserts at dinners, but split them rather than each go crazy with one.

I think this chocolate and whipped cream covered crepe came from another of the French restaurants in Paris.

I think this chocolate and whipped cream covered crepe came from another of the French restaurants in Paris.

Although we don’t usually do the buffets in Las Vegas because there is so much food on them, we did one on this trip. One of the entrees was crab legs.

Bucket of crab legs from the buffet.

Bucket of crab legs from the buffet.

Our anniversary was February 28 and we celebrated at Nobu in Caesars Palace. I have been eating sushi since I was first introduced to it in the mid-1970’s at a press party. I love it and eat it often. I can honestly say that in close to 40 years of eating sushi I have never experienced anything like the dishes at Nobu. I believe there are 35 of them in a number of cities all over the country. If you have a chance and a few extra dollars, I recommend a celebration dinner at one.

Beside being gorgeously laid out, this was literally melt in your mouth delicious.

Besides being gorgeously presented, this black cod from Nobu was literally melt in your mouth delicious.

The final dish was our dessert at Nobu. I was so impressed with the way they decorated the plate.

This was some kind of melted chocolate pastry that simply exceeded my descriptive powers.

This was some kind of melted chocolate pastry that simply exceeded my descriptive powers.

Again, we split the dessert.

Just to fill in some details, we did go back to the little diner at Paris and I had their ham and gruyere croissant sandwich which was equally delicious and caloric.

This was another food court meal, a strawberry crepe with whipped cream. Again, we split it.

This was another food court meal, a strawberry crepe with whipped cream. Again, we split it.

The final night we went downtown to the Chicago Brewery and Pizza parlor in the Four Queens Hotel and Casino. We split a couple of pizzas and wrapped up the remainder to eat on the plane going home.

Okay, that should give you a pretty good idea of the kind of eating we did in four nights over five days in Las Vegas. Put your hand over the next paragraphs and guess – How much weight do you think I gained?

Full disclosure, I figured I had added about two pounds on the trip and I was committed to some serious biking and exercise upon return.

I hope you did as I did and made some kind of a guess about my weight. The following morning, I tipped the scale at … 155 pounds. Incredibly, I didn’t add a pound.

I can’t explain that. My girlfriend said it was because we walked so much, but at my weight walking a mile only burns around 90 calories. I don’t think we walked that many miles. But, the scale doesn’t lie.

The only thing I can think of is that I didn’t snack much between meals and we stuck to a regular schedule of meals. As I said at the top, “Good eating habits die hard.” I think I have become hard-wired to balance my intake and output. I didn’t get silly at a bunch of buffets and I didn’t fret at any point in the trip about what I was eating.

If you have any observations, I would be pleased to hear them.

Tony

I have written about trips to Las Vegas previously: Is it Possible to Enjoy Las Vegas and Control Your Weight? Thoughts on Aging in Las Vegas, What Happens in Las Vegas …”

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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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