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Eating Habits and Portion Size How They Contribute to Obesity

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Author: Mary Leahy

It is no wonder we are having such an epidemic when poor and bad eating habits are so out of control, and these are leading to a world of obesity.

Not only are people not eating healthy but their conception of portion size has gotten larger and larger over the years. Now when the correct portion size is suggested people are mortified. "That won't sustain a mouse let along me" they scream.

When did our eating habits and portion sizes change? When did a meal for 4 turn into a meal for 1?

There is a preconceived idea that if the plate is not heaped with food then we're not getting enough to eat. A lot of this is due to manufacturers and fast food chains, with larger packaging and super sizing everything, and all you can eat buffets.

Larger portion sizes are expected, therefore, when out for a meal, if the portion size is not what is expected, we feel cheated. We are at a time that we just want more. However, if you eat more, have larger portions than your body needs and can use, eventually you will become larger in size.

More is definitely not better!

Eating habits and portion size are the key to controlling weight.

If your eating habits are poor then there is a good chance your children's eating habits will be as well.

In Britain, the government has introduced healthy foods into school meals, and are looking at nutrition, as being part of the curriculum. Teaching children to eat properly will lead to healthier adults later. They are hoping to combat the obesity epidemic through education.

Get children eating healthy so they do not crave unhealthy foods.

As a parent or guardian, one way to help, is by providing your child with interesting and easy to eat meal. Most schools have a time period for children to eat, so make the meal simple.

Some suggestions may be; hard boiled eggs, proper cheese pieces, raisins, vegetable sticks and fruit already cut to bite size pieces, crackers or even cereal which may be more appealing and easier to eat.

Healthy eating does not have to be boring or even uneventful. Nor does it have to be time consuming to prepare healthy meals.

With health and the obesity epidemic being at the fore front today, most restaurants, even fast food outlets are offering a healthier choice. However, it is up to you to make the choices.

Having a good understanding of how the body uses food and which foods promote weight gain and which promote weight loss will help. People get caught up on calorie intake but really do not understand what is best for them. Others believe that, you can never have a sweet again, but this does not have to be the case.

When we think of food, do we really understand what the different types are? For example, when you think of potatoes, do you think this food is good for the body as it provides energy? Or are you convinced that it will only cause you to gain weight? Potatoes are a carbohydrate and we need carbs for energy. But the trick to eating carbs is not which ones but how much. This is why portion size is so important.

Understanding your body and knowing the correct portion size you require, is the key to controlling your weight. Too much of any food will lead to too much of you, because your body can only use up so much food at one time. Therefore, you need to understand your body's needs before you start jumping into trying to lose weight.

You may have to start by measuring and weighing your portions, in order to understand what is right for you. You need smaller portions of carbohydrates and proteins and more of vegetables. After a while you will find it becomes easy and natural to only take the right amounts.

One way to help you get started, if you can afford it, get rid of your large plates and bowls and replace them with smaller one. That way your plate does not look half full and you will not feel cheated.

Eat slowly, allow your body time to know it is being fed and it will alter your hunger mechanism and you will become satisfied. If you eat quickly you tend to over eat then later you will feel uncomfortably full.

Learn which foods are better for you and eat the ones you enjoy, rather than forcing yourself to have foods you don't like. Know which foods should not be eaten often, therefore make them special treats for yourself and your family.

Make meals a sociable time, that way, you will look forward to them and you will feel better. Remember not to let yourself get so hungry you just eat anything and quickly. Think ahead and plan, always have some fruit, vegetable sticks, or a healthy snack bar in your bag or desk rather than missing a meal.

If you have to eat out a lot in restaurants, then make healthy choices. When ordering your meal ask to have any sauce or dressings on the side, that way you are in control. Ask for a larger portion of vegetables and less carbohydrates. Pick leaner cuts of red meat or better still, choose chicken or fish dishes. If bread is brought before the meal, place a piece on your side plate and eat it with your meal rather than filling up on it and then forcing yourself to eat your meal. Share a starter if possible rather than having the whole thing.

For more ideas on eating healthy and understanding portion sizes, then look at Eating for a Healthy Lifestyle and Lose Weight Program found at u2canloseit.com.

Mary Leahy a registered nurse has many years experience living overseas working and observing various cultures and their eating habits. With the help of her partner came up with "Eating for a Healthier Lifestyle and Lose Weight" program. http://www.u2canloseit.com http://maryleesfood.blogspot.com


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