Family Fitness: Portion sizes, Are we wired to want more?

Posted by Bert on 4/4/2013 to Family Fitness
Everyone always talks about portion sizes but do you have a hard time envisioning what a portion size should look like? I know I do. You should see the bowl of cereal that I eat in the morning (shhhh don’t tell Emilie, my trainer!)! It’s definitely not the correct portion size and I don’t mean that it’s too small.

Modern day American culture (maybe those of you who live outside of the US can let us know if it’s like this in your culture too) has definitely distorted portion size. A few articles I found on this were really interesting to read and the pictures…well, I’ll let them speak for themselves.

I found this image in a Harvard article on why people are becoming overweight in the US. Below you have a fast food meal that would have been prepared in 1955 compared to a meal prepared in 2002. Look at the options in sizes below; is it really necessary for us to have so many options? Forget the thought process we’re teaching our kids about options and having it “your way” but it probably isn’t even something we need. The 1955 portion does look significantly smaller than the 2002 comparison doesn’t it? I do know that there was not an obesity problem in the US in 1955 so there is something to portion size.

I think we’re wired to want more; I know that more often than not I have the mentality that it’s my right as a consumer to have options and be able to get the most out of my money. Would I be okay with the size of this movie theatre popcorn from 20 years ago if I was the one purchasing it in a theatre? No, I wouldn’t. Would you?

We’re going to be looking at portion sizes next week so stay tuned. This week I want you think about the portion sizes of the food that you’re eating. Think about the image from 1955; do you really need a Super Size meal or would the 1955 size suffice? One thing that I learned during the Challenge is that the food part of being healthy is primarily a mental hurdle you have to overcome. The same way you train your body to perform at a higher activity level you need to train your mind to know what a healthy portion size is.

And what’s pictured below? Well, let me ask you, do you think it’s enough?

Bio: Bert is a stay at home mom of two, wife to college sweetheart, and what she calls a "semi-crunchy" mama. After four years of being overweight related to pregnancies, Bert submitted a video entry into a local Biggest Loser type of fitness challenge; she was chosen and lost 25% of her body weight in 90 days. She blogs at FirstTimeMom about everything from cloth diapers, parenting, life and her recent passion with health and fitness.


Date 4/4/2013
I think I'd be more inclined to get the smaller portions if the prices were proportional. If the smallest size costs $3.50 (for example) and the largest (which is 3-4 times larger) is only $.50 more, I'm going to buy the bigger one. It makes me feel like I'm getting a better "deal."

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