Our culture is set up for obesity.

I am all for personal responsibility when it comes to weight loss. But, one has to acknowledge how crazily our culture is set up in making it an upstream swim much of the time.

When looking through menu's of restaurants (those that have them, and thank you NYC at least for that) I can't help but notice how out of whack portion sizes are.

Most dishes contain close to your daily allowance of calories. An appetizer can contain a whole day's calories. If, like a good customer, you are to get an appetizer, entree and a desert (and a drink), you can easily eat 3 days worth of calories in one meal.

I am not saying that is is not my responsibility to look at that info (when they have it!) and plan my meals accordingly.
But this pattern is so prevalent everywhere! It re-trains you how to view "normal".

But it is not something universal and unavoidable in any society. On my trips to Japan, I used to attribute small portion sizes you get in restaurants to the cost of food being much higher. Only now, after I've trained myself to recognize what a normal portion is supposed to be, it dawned on me -- Japanese portion sizes are not small! They are exactly what they are supposed to be. They are normal. I could eat out 3 times a day there and simply maintain my weight.

I don't know how we got sold the myth of "value" here. Where there is "value" in less fresh, less nutritious, more processed food, as long as there is MORE of it.
There is no value in getting 4,000 calories for your dinner when you only need 700. Every calorie after that does not do anything good for you.

On my recent trip to New Orleans, when I asked for people's recommendations for restaurants, I would get same comment from more than one person -- people rave about restaurants, because the portions are "MASSIVE". I felt that it would be a waste of time to explain to them that "massive" is not necessarily what I am looking for in a meal.
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Replies

  • MsPudding
    MsPudding Posts: 562 Member
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  • I agree. Eating meals has become all about convenience and taste. People do not want to take the time to cook, let alone, watch the calories they are shoving in their bodies.
  • TyTy76
    TyTy76 Posts: 1,761 Member
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  • DashDeV
    DashDeV Posts: 545 Member
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  • Indeed. Its all to do with profit
  • SALSACHICA1
    SALSACHICA1 Posts: 66 Member
    Just this weekend i was told how "rude" I was that I didn't eat with everyone else. I had already eaten and was joining them JUST to see them... I felt bad and started to eat some of the pizza, about 1/2 down with a slice, I ACTUALLY had to go throw up... my stomach hurt so bad from the high fat, high calories, and the fact that people make you feel bad for actually watching your weight... it is amazing. I told my boyfriend, next time I just wont' join him and his friends because they are all HUGE and although I am thinner, I want to stay that way.
  • Chief_Rocka
    Chief_Rocka Posts: 4,710 Member
    On my recent trip to New Orleans, when I asked for people's recommendations for restaurants, I would get same comment from more than one person -- people rave about restaurants, because the portions are "MASSIVE". I felt that it would be a waste of time to explain to them that "massive" is not necessarily what I am looking for in a meal.

    You don't have to eat all of it.
  • obrientp
    obrientp Posts: 546 Member
    I agree. Whenever I go out to a restaurant I usually bring leftovers home, and can get one and sometimes two meals out of them.
  • whierd
    whierd Posts: 14,026 Member
    You know you can control what you eat at home...right?
  • jacksonpt
    jacksonpt Posts: 10,413 Member
    On my recent trip to New Orleans, when I asked for people's recommendations for restaurants, I would get same comment from more than one person -- people rave about restaurants, because the portions are "MASSIVE". I felt that it would be a waste of time to explain to them that "massive" is not necessarily what I am looking for in a meal.

    Massive is AWESOME... it means not only do I get dinner that night, but I get lunch the next day too!

    Just because it comes to you as a single meal doesn't mean you have to eat it all, or all in 1 meal.
  • rml_16
    rml_16 Posts: 16,414 Member
    You know, even before I ever started tracking calories, I knew restaurant meals were ridiculously high in calories. If I knew ahead of time I was going out to eat, I would eat VERY light all day. And if it got sprung on me, I'd make up for it the next day. It seemed to work out.

    I think that's part of the problem, but also a lot of people seem to not have an internal switch that tells them they're full and they just eat and eat. And not just in restaurants.
  • Chief_Rocka
    Chief_Rocka Posts: 4,710 Member
    Eating meals has become all about convenience and taste.

    Is that not how it's always been?
  • jwdieter
    jwdieter Posts: 2,582 Member
    OP is correct. The meal sizes at most US restaurants are good for athletes, but ridiculously oversized for most of the population.
  • TheRealParisLove
    TheRealParisLove Posts: 1,907 Member
    Prepared food is also quite affordable. I remember when I was a kid, dining out was a luxury. Fast food was available, but the portion sizes were much, much smaller. In high school I worked at McDonald's. A happy meal drink was 8oz. and the kids could choose milk, orange or apple juice instead of soda. They offered small beverages, those were 12 ounces (it was .50-60 cents). If you were to hand an American consumer a 12 ounce soft drink (with ice) he or she would freak out at the tiny size today.

    On the other hand, most families had a stay-at-home mom. We could live off of one income with blue collar service work as the wages hadn't become depressed yet. I knew men who had retail jobs at clothing stores or as grocery checkers making $15-17 an hour with bennies back in the 1980's.

    Today, blue collar workers have to have two incomes to see any kind of reasonable lifestyle. Even construction workers, who once made some of the best union wages, are only earning $10-12 and hour in the private sector, and that is a skilled job that requires heavy labor.

    We are exhausted and broke. So we'll call for Chinese or pizza delivery. Then we get fat.

    Portion size is only one piece of the puzzle. I agree with the OP that our whole society is set up for obesity.
  • chai_masala
    chai_masala Posts: 51 Member
    It's not just about diet/portions either. We've built this nation around cars, and now we don't have to walk ANYWHERE. Exercise is not an inherent part of our life, but an optional addition to it. This is a huge issue in urban planning and public health.
  • stillnot2late
    stillnot2late Posts: 385 Member
    Just this weekend i was told how "rude" I was that I didn't eat with everyone else. I had already eaten and was joining them JUST to see them... I felt bad and started to eat some of the pizza, about 1/2 down with a slice, I ACTUALLY had to go throw up... my stomach hurt so bad from the high fat, high calories, and the fact that people make you feel bad for actually watching your weight... it is amazing. I told my boyfriend, next time I just wont' join him and his friends because they are all HUGE and although I am thinner, I want to stay that way.
    [/quote

    I hope you never let peer pressure take control of you again. Lead your own self, don't follow.
  • NattyJayne1991
    NattyJayne1991 Posts: 25 Member
    I completely agree! I don't think it helps either when your parents tell you 'eat all that's on your plate- don't be rude!'
  • _HeartsOnFire_
    _HeartsOnFire_ Posts: 5,304 Member
    I have to say I agree with the OP, however, I am good with meals being large because I can take the leftovers home.

    However, I will say that in the past I had been known to eat the whole thing in front of me because it was so good. I know plenty of people that did the same thing. We all paid for it after because we were stuffed. I do think and wonder if with the meals getting larger and larger if people are starting to think that's the normal size...

    As far as food in Japan, it probably was the right amount of food, and it may have been more expensive just because it's all fresh. This was somewhat of the case in Ireland, though you would get a slightly larger meal, not to the extent you do in the states, but all the food was fresh. That usually does cost more than processed, canned food.

    My complaint with why America may be getting larger is the growth hormones pumped into animals. Where do people think these growth hormones go? They don't stop just because the animal is dead and now being eaten. I tell my friends who eat meat that if they want meat they should try to get it at their local farmers market. I also think that milk is not great either because milk is for making babies get bigger. That's what it's supposed to do. We are the only species that drinks another species milk, and by the time that milk gets to us, there's so many antibiotics and other things in it, that any benefit that might have come from it is gone. I'm not anti-meat, anti-milk, I just think people should really get educated and find out what's in it and if it's helping them.

    Sorry for the detour there...

    Yes, meals are larger, but people can take home leftovers. But it's all in personal choice, personal decisions.
  • You know you can control what you eat at home...right?

    I think everyone does... Oh yea sarcasm.

    She makes a valid point... Oh dear.
  • suecan2
    suecan2 Posts: 45
    our society is definitely expecting large portions nowadays and in turn is allowing our bodies to adapt to cleaning up the plate and now many teach their children this concept. that is why childhood overweight issues are at an all time high. but one by one we all can be a great example - with your next meal.