The #1 Reason You’re Gaining Weight

plate with a measuring tape wrapped around it

( — Many changes have taken place over the past 20 years, but one major change affecting our health is portion size – and how easily, and cheaply, we can stuff ourselves on unhealthy food options. Who would have thought that a quarter-pound cheeseburger could cost only $1? Or a meal of chicken nuggets, French fries, and drink would be only $2.99?

We want it all and for a low price we can get it all: a full stomach and a host of health problems. We have to ask ourselves if this really is a good deal, not only for our pocket and appetite but for our overall well-being.

Bigger Portions = Bigger Health Problems

Not only have portion sizes doubled, but so have the obesity rate and the number of people with diabetes. Many health problems today are directly linked to our diet. Heart disease and hypertension, diabetes, and several others can all be controlled with diet during early stages. We have become accustomed to quick and cheap ways to fill our plates. Twenty years ago portions were smaller and we were overall a healthier society. Let’s take a look back in history and try to eat like we did back then.

Remember, ordering from the menu is a conscious decision. Choose with your mind and not with a growling stomach or penny pinching hand.

Coffee: Small 8 oz. cups of coffee were the standard. Even adding milk and sugar, a cup was approximately 45 calories. Now we are choosing double the portion with flavored syrups and milk – a 16 oz. coffee with syrup and whole milk is 350 calories. So the key is to keep it simple – avoid the flavoring, unless it is sugar-free, and always choose skim milk.

Pizza: 2 slices of pizza used to be much smaller, equivalent to one large slice currently. Therefore 2 slices of pepperoni pizza used to be 500 calories. Now it is closer to 850 calories. Choose one slice of pizza paired with a salad or veggies to fill up instead of eating more pizza.

Popcorn: Going to the movies usually requires a snack – the hard to resist popcorn at the snack counter. 20 years ago, packaging was much smaller. The standard size contained about 5 cups for 270 calories; today a large tub contains about 11 cups and is approximately 630 calories. In that case, skip the popcorn and choose a low calorie meal such as a submarine sandwich or salad. Much more filling and you won’t be hungry during the movie!

Carbonated Drinks: Drink size used to be much smaller when it came in a glass bottle. The average caloric content was only 85 calories. Today 20 oz. drinks are the standard and usually contain 250 calories. Choose diet versions or smaller portions. Offer a friend half of the drink instead of consuming the whole bottle.