With the rate of obesity rising and portion sizes growing, what is a person to do?
In todayâ€™s society portion sizes are not what they once were.
When McDonaldâ€™s first opened in 1955 they only had a 7-ounce soft drink, according to Aaron Anderson, Aerospace Medicine Squadron Health and Wellness Center dietitian. Today, McDonaldâ€™s serves a 32-ounce soft drink. Not only has the drink size gone up, but the burgers and fries have also gotten bigger over the years.
â€œRestaurants can actually sell more by increasing the size of their product,â€ said Anderson. â€œBy selling larger portions for the same price as smaller portions, companies can sell X amount of units faster with profits increasing.â€
With companies providing more food for a lower price, how does one know how much is too much?
â€œWe consume more food than weâ€™re supposed to,â€ said Matthew Corcoran, 56th Force Support Squadron Combat PT Fitness Center fitness instructor. â€œPeople eat until theyâ€™re at their maximum capacity, and even at their maximum capacity they still continue to eat.â€
Corcoran said people should only eat until theyâ€™re satisfied and not hungry.
To stay fuller longer, Corcoran recommends eating five to six small meals throughout the day.
â€œSpreading your meals through the entire day will allow your body to digest food more efficiently and will keep your energy levels high throughout the day,â€ he said.
One place where it may be hard to keep portion sizes in mind is at restaurants.
â€œStudies have shown that when people are given larger portions they will eat a higher percentage of food,â€ said Anderson. â€œIf itâ€™s not there you wonâ€™t consume it.â€
To help avoid unnecessary calories, Anderson recommends skipping the complementary chips and salsa or breadsticks.
For Corcoran, itâ€™s not only about eating smaller meals, itâ€™s also about eating foods rich in nutrients.
â€œThe easiest way to cut calories is to avoid refined carbohydrates, basically anything in a box or sealed in a bag,â€ said Corcoran. â€œIf you were to go back to Paleolithic foods such as lean meats, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables, itâ€™s very difficult to gain weight from eating those foods, since they arenâ€™t as high in calories compared to say a Twinkie.â€
For those who want to start small towards a better lifestyle, it may be intimidating at first, but even the smallest changes can make a big difference.
â€œStart by focusing on one element of your diet,â€ said Anderson. â€œAside from milk, not drinking your calories is a great place to start. For example, eliminating a 250-calorie soda per day equals a half pound of weight loss per week.â€
Whether youâ€™ve tried or would like to try again with healthy eating choices, Anderson said he is here to help.
â€œI instruct a healthy weight management class the first Tuesday of every month at 4:30 p.m. at the HAWC,â€ he said. â€œTo sign up call (623) 856-3778.â€