Tip #6


Portion Distortion –(don’t join the clean plate club)

Our society has what I call Portion Distortion.  Let’s face it, we overeat on a daily

basis. Our food landscape has changed.  This world of fast food, restaurant food,

prepared food, and mammoth portions of food make it difficult to keep a calorie count

within a healthy range.  Studies have shown, over the past few decades, portion sizes

of everything from pizza to bagels have inflated by an average of two to five times in


Supersizing has become the norm at restaurants, not just at fast food joints.  We all

want a "bang for our buck” so it’s an easy marketing tool for restaurants to fill you up on

cheap starches like bread, pasta, and rice, while keeping the perception that you’re

getting heaping plates of food for your money.

If an Italian restaurant served you a proper single serving of pasta—the size of your

fist—you might never come back.  Wrongly, we equate value to portion size, and this

attitude towards food has gotten us in big trouble.  Did you know that by eating an

additional 10 fries or an ounce of cheese per day, either of which is approximately 100

calories, you can gain up to 10 pounds in one year?  CALORIES COUNT!!!

Perfect Portions. The first thing you need to really get a grasp of is that your stomach

is about the size of your fist. Most plates of dinner served at a restaurant are twice—

sometimes three times—the size of this. At a buffet-style restaurant, you could be eating

portions five to six times the size of your stomach. Yikes! You can’t out train a poor diet.

You can learn to moderate your portions by following these tips:


  • Spread food across the center of the table.  If it’s directly in front of you, you’re more apt to nibble, or pick up more food than you need.
  • Slow the pace of your eating. Instead of inhaling your food, enjoy the meal by putting your fork down in between bites. Don’t pick it up again until you’ve swallowed the food in your mouth.  Savor each mouthful.
  • Increase the number of chews per mouthful—Gomer Pyle was right. His Grandma always said, "Chew your food at least 20 times before you swaller."
  • NEVER  eat out of a bag or package.  It's extremely difficult to tell how much you’re actually eating, and you may consume the entire contents.
  • When you prepare a sandwich or snack, put all the ingredients away before eating. You won't be tempted to eat a second if you have to get everything out again to make it.
  • Use half as much oil as usual when you sauté vegetables for dinner tonight.  Better yet, roast or broil them instead to bring out delicious flavors and only drizzle some EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) on them after they've cooked.
  • Drink half your pop now, and save half for tomorrow, instead of downing the entire bottle in one sitting.  Screw the cap back on tightly and it will stay carbonated another day.


  • Share the meal with someone else.  If you're alone, eyeball your appropriate portion, set the rest aside on your plate, and ask for a doggie bag right away to pack it for home.
  • Ask for lemon wedges for your water.
  • Ask for half portions or smaller portions—most restaurants will comply.  Don’t worry if it’s not cost effective—your health is worth it.
  • Use only half your normal creamer in your coffee. There are no calories in coffee, but there are many in the creamer.
  • Cut your mayo, oil-based salad dressings, and butter in half.  These items are 100% fat, so dip your food into them instead of drenching your food with them.


— Jaime Brenkus Health Tip 6