Twenty years ago, a bagel had a 3-inch (7 cm) diameter and
contained 140 calories. Today, a bagel can measure up to 6 inches
(14 cm) and has around 350 calories. Hamburgers also used to be
smaller and had 333 calories, whereas now a medium size hamburger
has 590 calories. The case of french fries is even more dramatic:
two decades ago, a portion measured 2.4 inches (6 cm) and contained
210 calories. Currently, a serving of fries can measure up to 6.9
inches (17 cm) and contains 610 calories.
The examples can go on, but the same situation remains: portions doubled in size, as well as in calories. Now, did physical activity also double among people? In most cases, not only it didn’t double, but instead it got reduced by half or more, as a consequence of technological progress. Years ago, one had to go out to shop, but nowadays almost anything can be purchased through the Internet or by phone. Moreover, computers and electronic games have replaced sports and field trips.
From this equation comes a conclusion: if portions have increased and physical activity has decreased, the result is greater weight.
Enlarge Your Expectations and Shrink Your Meals
Unless you’re planning to double your physical activity, if you’re thinking of losing weight you’ll need to reduce portion sizes. Only by doing this, with no need to modify your menu, you’ll be reducing 50% the calories you eat.
To incorporate this change into your lifestyle, the American Cancer Society gives the following advice:
At a restaurant:
• If you’re eating a hamburger at your favorite place, choose the regular size instead of the large one. You’ll save around 150 calories.
• Order small fries instead of extra large. You’ll be saving 300 calories.
• Buy a small soda. It has 150 calories less than the large version. However, a diet version is always the best option.
• If you’re ordering an entrée, share with a friend.
• If your meal is too big, ask for half of it to be packed. You’ll have next day’s lunch ready!
• If you’re used to eating snacks directly from the bag, change that habit today! Next time, serve some baked chips or cookies on a small plate and save the rest. You’ll eat much less!
• If you like adding butter and sour cream to baked potatoes, or mayonnaise and cheese to your sandwiches, try adding only half the amount next time or buy fat free dressings instead. You’ll be saving at least 50% of the regular calories!
Not that a burger and french fries are the healthiest option, but putting these tips into practice will help you eat fewer calories next time you go to a fast food restaurant or open up some chips at home. You’ll also feel much better.
Source: National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute / Education Obesity Initiative
American Cancer Association
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