I love when my breakfast looks like a mess.
It tastes better that way
- 1/2 cup No Salt Added Cottage Cheese
- 5 frozen strawberries
- handful of blueberries
- 1/3 cup Kashi GoLean
While I devoured my sloppy, yet delicious morning meal, I came across an interesting article inside next month’s issue of Glamour Magazine.
The article/report explained how companies are constantly trying to fool consumers into eating way more food that necessary, resulting in overeating,obesity, and a complete loss of control in regards to our appetite.
Taffy Brodesser-Akner, a writer and life long dieter, has been studying the concept of “thin people”, and their ability to know when “enough is enough”.
No counting calories, and No dieting involved.
From her own experiences, Taffy knew that her stomach couldn’t be trusted when it came to proper portion sizes, so she decided to do an experiment. For one week, she would eat only the recommended serving size given by her nutritionist, not what was stated on food labels or on restaurant nutrition stats.
Focusing on the question “Do we eat because we’re hungry, or eat because it’s there?”, Taffy wanted to see if she could reset her appetite and actually eat less.
Here’s a breakdown of how her properly portioned week went
Day 1: Hating Life
- Usually a skipper of breakfast, Taffy decided to have one portion of protein (an egg) and one serving of grain (a slice of toast.)
- She mindlessly pours 1/2 cup of milk into her coffee, thinking that she actually only uses about 2 tablespoons.
“Americans often underestimate their portion sizes by 20 percent or more.”
“It started with restaurants, but expanded to our homes. When everything around you is big, your concept of a normal portion gets out of whack”-Lisa Young, R.D
- Taffy buys a food scale to learn what a serving size should look like
- Taffy begins to feel deprived. Her 1/2 sandwich at lunch is much smaller than she is used to, causing her to feel irritable.
- She had no sides with her sandwich
“With fresh produce, the rule should be the more, the merrier. You’ll get more protective nutrients, called antioxidants, and you’ll feel fuller”-Rachel Beller, R.D
- Neglecting to eat vegetables earlier in the day,Taffy is starving by dinner time. She orders Chinese and measures out her servings (1/2 cup of rice, and 1 cup of sweet-and-sour chicken)
- She immediately realizes that if this was all she was allowed to eat, she would never have ordered it in the first place.
“We tend to associate value with larger sizes, and that can overpower hunger cues”-Cathy Nonas, R.D
What Taffy learned on Day 1: She has been trained to eat like a grizzly bear. The new discipline is eye-opening, but painful.
Day 2: Brunch letdown
- Taffy and her husband go out for Sunday bagels, where she learns that ONE BAGEL amounts to FOUR SERVINGS OF GRAINS (more than 1/2 a days worth)
- She eats 1/4 of her bagel, adding her allowance of two tablespoons cream cheese
- Taffy later snacks on baby carrots and two tablespoons of hummus, which she runs out of only four carrots in.
- For dinner, she eats 3 oz hamburger, 1/2 a bun, and 1 cup of broccoli, realizing that she feels full as she finishes her meal.
“It’s the first time in two days that I’m not hungry after a meal. I’m shocked”
What Taffy learned on Day 2: She hates to admit that the “sadists” (nutritionists) might be right.
Day 3: Serving trickery
- Taffy is finding things a bit easier, and decides to eat some peanut M&M’s. She checks the label on a 22-piece bag, stating that it holds one serving of candy.
- She then checks the “fun size” bag of M&M’s, which holds seven pieces of candy, also claiming to be one serving size.
“Products packaged and sold individually are considered single servings if they can reasonably be consumed at a single eating”-Tamara Ward, Food and Drug Administration spokesperson.
“Companies make their servings small so they can make calorie counts smaller too”
“A Naked Juice can be more than 30 grams of carbs per serving, or the same as two slices of bread. But look closely, and there’s two servings in a bottle, so you’ve just had FOUR slices of bread”- Susan B. Dopart, R.D
Bottom line- companies can make a serving be whatever they want it to be, whether it is 22 pieces of candy, or 7.
What Taffy learned on Day 3: Look at EVERYTHING on a food label, not just the serving size. Sugars, Carbs, Fat, etc…
Day 4: So many fries
- Taffy is down three pounds without any change in her exercise habits
- Smaller portions endorsed by her nutritionist is starting to feel right.
- She realizes that what she used to call full, would now be uncomfortable.
“Your body is learning how much food you truly need to be satisfied”-Rachel Beller, R.D
- Taffy goes for lunch with a friend, food scale in tow. She orders a hamburger, fries and a salad, eating only 1/2 of the bun and the full 3.2 oz burger.
- Her serving size of fries is .75 ounces, which turns out to be 10 or 11 skinny fries from a cone holding up to an insane amount of 55.
- She feels full and satisfied, but realizes that the fries “are there”, so she wants to eat them.
“It’s an issue of perception. We don’t just eat food because we’re hungry; we eat it because we’re served it, so we think it’s how much we deserve to eat”- Lisa Young, R.D
What Taffy learned on Day 4: Losing weight is about making choices, which have to happen at the start of the meal, not the middle or end.
Day 5 to 7: I weigh in
- Without counting calories, Taffy has lost four pounds.
- She realizes that she does not need as much food as she thought
“How much you eat should relate to how many calories you need, and that number depends on your weight goals and other factors.”-Lisa Young, R.D.
- Taffy gained new awareness of just-right portions, and it helped remind her of what’s normal and what’s crazy.
- She is now in touch with her “perfectly working mechanism” that she was born with: Her appetite.
This article just goes to show that our concept of food is totally out of whack. How much we eat depends on our lifestyle, and everybody’s needs are different. If you have an office job where you are sedentary for most of the day, you will need less calories than someone who has a more laborious job, such as an exercise instructor or contractor.
Realize that while eating out, the portion on your plate is most likely for two or more people.
THE CRAZIEST OF PORTIONS
- Recommended amount: .75 oz
- Restaurant amount: 4.55 oz, 352 more calories
- Recommended amount: 3 oz
- Restaurant amount: 5.3 oz, about 200 more calories
- Recommended amount: 1/2 cup
- Restaurant amount: 3 cups, 550 more calories
- Recommended amount: 8 oz
- Restaurant amount: 16 oz, 100 more calories
- Recommended amount: 5 oz
- Restaurant amount: 8-10 oz, 200+ more calories.
Eating like this for one day can add more than 1,200 calories to your diet without you even noticing!
Start to learn proper serving amounts by purchasing a food scale, or simply using tricks such as the size of your fist for grains and vegetables, palm of your hand for protein, and a tennis ball for fruit.