Here are some examples for clarity:
- 2,000 Calories In each day, minus 2,500 Calories Out each day, equals Weight Loss of 1 pound per week.
- 2,500 Calories In each day, minus 2,000 Calories Out each day, equals Weight Gain of 1 pound per week.
Obviously, the quality of calories you eat has less to do with weight management than does the amount of calories you eat. You can consume the healthiest foods the earth can supply, but if you eat too much of them, weight gain will be the end result.
I often say the kind of calories you eat determines your health, while the amount determines your weight. Portions over the past 20 years have directly affected the weight of the nation. It is astounding how portions have been super-sized over time.
Twenty years ago vs. today
- A bagel 20 years ago was 3 inches in diameter/140 calories. Today it is 6 inches/350 calories.
- A cheeseburger had 333 calories. Today it has 590 calories.
- A plate of spaghetti with three meatballs had 500 calories. Today it is 1,025 calories.
- A 6 1/2-ounce serving of soda had 85 calories. Today's 20-ounce soda has 250 calories.
- A 3 1/2-ounce serving of fries had 210 calories. Today 6 1/2-ounce serving of fries has 610 calories.
- An 8-ounce cup of coffee had 45 calories. Today it's 16 ounces and has 350 calories.
- A muffin was 1 1/2 ounce and had 210 calories. Today it's 5 ounces and has 500 calories.
- A chicken Caesar salad had 390 calories. Today a chicken Caesar salad has 790 calories.
- A serving of chicken stir fry was 435 calories. Today it's 865 calories.
Clearly, we are enjoying too much of a good thing, and, in many cases, too much of a bad thing. Portion is a nutritional concept we must understand. The amount of calories listed on labels often represents more than one serving, so make note of how many servings are in the package or can you are purchasing.
A serving of cheese should be no larger than a pair of dice and a serving of meat should be about the size of a deck of cards. A healthy plate of food consists of this: one-half vegetables and/or fruits, one-fourth protein-rich foods, and one-fourth whole grains.
Before you throw in the towel, examine the size of your portions. And remember: You will be hungry when you cut the portion size. Understand that if you are slightly hungry, you are losing weight. No one loses weight feeling full all the time. It takes knowledge, commitment and a continued dedication to moving your body on a regular basis.
Cindy Boggs, corporate fitness presenter, author and Activate America director, has been an ACE-certified coordinator/instructor since 1989. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to YMCA of Kanawha Valley, 100 YMCA Drive, Charleston, WV 25311, or e-mail cindys...@aol.com. Look for her award-winning fitness advice book, "CindySays ... You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World" on her website www.cindysays.com or contact her at 304-342-3533.