I suppose this article is timely only for those in the hemisphere that is currently approaching winter. All you lucky ducks heading for bright lights and sunshine will just have to file this one away for a few months.
For those of us moving into the long dark tea time of the soul known as winter, an ominous question presents itself.
Do you pack on the extra pounds in the long dark hours of winter?
Joking aside, many people add extra pounds during the seasons which have less light. This may be due to having fewer daylight hours to be out and about. Or it may be due to people deciding this would be a good time to have another slice of warm pie by the fire. Personally, I believe it has a lot to do with the unconscious snacking we do while sitting in front of the sports network.
But, whatever the reason most people consume far more calories than they realize, especially in winter. The solution might be a sharpened sense of portion size.
Understanding the concept of standard serving sizes is essential to good nutrition.
Take a look at fast food restaurants. Most chain restaurant employees automatically offer “super-size” or “value” meals when taking an order. These meals which I have named “impulse upgrades” often contain an entire day’s worth of calories and much more than a day’s worth of fat.
If you figure taking in an additional 148 calories per day (that’s conservative) and adding no additional caloric burn, you get a formula that packs on an extra 15 pounds every year.
But, even if calories from fat are decreased— we make up for lower fat intakes with larger portion sizes. More calories from larger portion size lead to weight gain, period.
But, what is a portion size? You can use the following visuals to approximate portion sizes:
- A computer mouse = one serving (three ounces) of meat, poultry, or fish.
- Half a baseball = one serving (one-half cup) of fruit, vegetables, pasta, or rice.
- Your thumb = one serving (one ounce) of cheese.
- A tennis ball = one serving (one cup) of yogurt or chopped fresh greens.
When at Home:
- Take time to “eyeball” the serving sizes of your favorite foods (using some of the models listed above).
- Measure out single servings onto your plates and bowls, and remember what they look like.
- Serve up plates with appropriate portions in the kitchen, and don’t go back for seconds.
- Never eat snacks out of the bag.
When Dining Out:
- Ask for half or smaller portions.
- Set the rest aside that which is more than a portion and ask for a take home bag.
- If you order dessert, share it.
Reg Adkins writes on behavior and the human experience at (elementaltruths.blogspot.com).