Serving Sizes

What is it about serving sizes?  We have supersized ourselves to  well…..supersize!

I bought frozen chocolate-dipped custard treats; which sounds worse than it appearedwhen I first spied them in the freezer section. I looked at “serving size”-- it was 6 frozen custard treats, each the size of a golf ball, at a total of 360 calories.

Many of us could just eat 1 as a treat. Can you imagine the boxes of these that would fly off the shelves if “1 SERVING 60 CALORIES” was plastered across the front of the box?

The issue here is serving size – if 6 chocolate-dipped custard treats is a serving size then it convinces the person that eating 6 is okay. Let’s look when nutritional information goes the other way - Pop-tarts ®.  1 Pop-tart® is 200 calories and is listed as a serving size of Pop-tarts ®. Yet, when you open a package there are two at a total of 400 calories. Who reseals a Pop-tart ® package?

The third example is cereal. The serving size is 1 cup with skim milk. If you follow this, you will consume 150 calories at 1 gram of fat for most cereals.  If you pour your cereal into the average size cereal bowl,  1 cup looks like a small lake in the Grand Canyon, so the average person, in filling up the bowl, eats 2-3 servings of cereal at a time at a total of 300-450 calories…

The last example is ordering steak, especially where I live, in Texas.  We are the beef capital of the world.  If you tried to order a 4oz ribeye (which is a serving size) the waiter would  tell you they don’t even have that on the “kid’s” menu. We normally order a 16 oz T-bone or a 16 oz ribeye. That is 4 meat servings at 700-750 calories!

Research shows that when adults are asked to report how many calories they eat, the report is often 25-35% lower than what they have actually eaten. This means if you think you are eating 1500 calories in a day, you are more likely eating 2100 calories. People just aren’t aware of how much they are eating.

What does this lack of awareness mean to your weight? To gain a pound of fat means you have eaten or not burned of 3,500 calories. If you are 10 lbs. overweight  you have eaten or not burned 35,000 calories! Let’s be honest, less eating more burning calories is the way to go.

20 years ago when I weighed 200 lbs I decided to write down what I ate. It was horrible! I was eating over 3000 calories a day. I often bemoaned both my fat genes and my fat jeans, and of course my “slow metabolism”.  I also had the Monday morning “diet” syndrome. I started so many Monday morning diets they should have named one after me.

Here is a good piece of advice, be accountable. You can do it the old-fashioned way and write down everything you eat and subtract the calories you work off or you can get the new tech way which is to get an app – myfitnesspal is one of my favorites. Even more advanced, a digital heart rate calorie counter watch, which keeps track of how many calories you your burn 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

The secret to weight loss is to be accountable. Account for what you eat and account for how many calories you burn.  Be honest and don’t trick yourself because the scale certainly won’t. This is one truth that works as well for women as for men.

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