Week 2: The Pudge Be Gone! Fitness Challenge

| 04/09/2011 | Comments (0)

This week our challenge is to become aware of and modify our meal and snack portions. Most people consume far more calories than they realize. The culprit? A warped sense of portion size.

According to a survey conducted by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), most Americans (78 percent) still believe that the kind of food they eat is more important in managing their weight than the amount of food they eat.

People wonder why they’re gaining weight or unable to lose. Americans are concentrating too much on cutting fat, or relying on fad diets that restrict carbohydrates, sugar, or some other nutrient. Studies reveal that these strategies fail to address the issue of total calories consumed, as well as overall good nutrition to support your activities. Unless you are utilizing a pre-packaged food delivery system for your weight loss program, chances are that your diet is unbalanced nutritionally in some respect.

Serving Sizes Essential to Good Nutrition

Experts say that understanding the concept of standard serving sizes is essential to good nutrition. Standardized serving sizes help consumers, health professionals, and food manufacturers find a common language for the sake of communication.

Although serving sizes are “standardized,” individual portionsizes will vary, because people have different caloric requirements. Portion size also depends on a person’s specific weight management goals and health needs.

The American Dilemma

The problems of obesity and lack of nutrition awareness also seem to have a cultural component. Take a look at fast food restaurants. Most of these restaurants offer “super-size” or “value” meals, which often contain an entire day’s worth of calories and fat. I’ve included links to some of the more popular fast food restaurants in my immediate area.

Stats from the U.S. Department of Agriculture reveal that Americans’ total daily caloric intakes have risen by 148 calories per day since 1980. They say this amount reflects an extra 15 pounds every year. However, activity levels do need to be taken into consideration for each individual, along with facts such as just what are they eating, etc. Sometimes government tends to over-simplify when pushing their statistics on us, so just use your head and be cautious and educated.

Interestingly, the same studies show that the amount of fat in the average American diet has decreased from 40 percent of total calories to 33 percent during the same period. So even though calories from fat have decreased — at nine calories per gram of fat versus only four for a gram of carbohydrates or protein — we’re told that Americans have more than made up for their lower fat intakes with larger portion sizes of other types of foods. Larger portion sizes equal more calories. And more calories lead to weight gain, regardless of the source of the calories — fat, protein, or carbohydrate. This means that even if you are eating “good” food, eating too much of it will result in a failure to lose weight, or in weight gain.

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Veteran social researcher, relationship advice columnist, author and radio host. Author of hundreds of articles on American and black culture, gender issues, singles, dating and relationships. Author of "Sucka Free Love!" , "The 24 Types of Suckas to Avoid," "The Black Church - Where Women Pray and Men Pray," and "Why Vegan is the New Black" all available on Amazon.Com. Her unique voice and insightful commentary have delighted fans and riled haters for 20 years. Read her stuff on SurvivingDating.Com and AskHeartBeat.Com.

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