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I've lived in America my entire life so far and I've heard that the reason Americans get so fat is because we eat large portions of food at a time. However, having lived in America my entire life I wouldn't know what would be an appropriate portion of food. When I look at an average meal it seems normal to me, but I often wonder if someone from another, much slimmer, country like Japan would look at an average meal that I eat and think it's a lot of food.

While I'm certainly not fat, I'm definitely not in shape and could afford to lose a little weight. I nearly never drink soda, I rarely eat out at fast-food places and I have actually gained much of an interest lately in vegetables and Genmaicha tea.
I know exactly why I'm heavier than I would like to be, and it's because I only exercise maybe once every other day and I eat what I am beginning to think are large portions of food.
Only recently have I started exercising and ever since I started I've gained weight. WTF.
I did read though that once you start exercising you may gain weight because your body is recalibrating, but I'm not putting any money on the word of a single article.
While I would like to be as skinny as an average Japanese, I will most likely never be that way due to my body shape, but if I want to be skinnier am I going to have to decrease how much I eat at a time AND get more exercise? Should I also eat more small meals throughout the day instead of three large meals?
You don't need to spread out your meals throughout the day, unless you have blood sugar issues (diabetes, hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia) or something.

If you really want to be sure... Weigh your food (get a cheap food scale) and count them calories. Count your snacks, your liquids (juice, sports drink, etc), everything. That's how I lost 65 pounds. I still have 15 more pounds that I'd like to lose, but it's been over a year and I have kept those 65 pounds off. Use an app or a site to simplify the calorie counting process. There are many free ones available if you look!

Combine exercise and diet to get the best results. While you can lose weight simply by decreasing your calorie consumption, exercise helps keep your metabolism up, and is beneficial all around. I would suggest doing strength training to minimize muscle loss.

I personally am not a big fan of the stereotypical skinny Asian build; I'm an Asian myself and am trying to look more athletic and muscular. But whatever floats your boat. biggrin
piparminttukaramelli's avatar

Wheezing Fatcat

Most packaged foods have the recommended portion on them. Next time you reach for a box of cereal or crackers, look at the nutrition facts label. These are almost always based on a 2000 calorie diet, so if you don't need that many calories or if you need more, (approximate your needs with this tool) you'll have to adjust accordingly.

On the label, "Serving size" is how much you should be eating. They can write it in several ways. If it's a family-sized bag of chips, for instance, they may write it as about 12 chips or 1 oz. There might also be a "Servings per container" section. This lets you know how many servings are inside the entire package. So again, if we're talking about chips, the serving per container might be about 10. That means your portion size should be no more than 1/10th of the bag.

When talking about meat, one portion is about the size of a deck of playing cards.

For most raw fruits and veggies, eating more than is needed is not really an issue. There are little calories in many of them and they offer many health benefits. More is usually better.

Drinks are almost always referred to in 8 oz/1 cup. portions. Your basic red Solo cup is 16 oz, as are most dinnerware tumblers. The old standard is that you need 8 glasses of water per day, so that's 4 Solo cups of water. The serving size for milk, juice and most other beverages is also about 8 oz.
Spike_Flair

Only recently have I started exercising and ever since I started I've gained weight. WTF.
I did read though that once you start exercising you may gain weight because your body is recalibrating, but I'm not putting any money on the word of a single article.?


This made me laugh, but it's not your fault. You will do a huge mistake if you measure your progress towards "fitness" by weighting yourself. Many people do that, sadly. Time to educate yourself *rubs her hands*. The reason you gain weight when you work out at first is simple: muscle is way heavier than fat. And muscle builds up faster than you lose fat. Also, fat that's been there for a long time, gets off slower. Actually, if you plan on being fit through working out, expect to see a bigger weight, but a leaner, and more toned and soon enough a tighter body.
I've been to a sports high school and have a diploma on fitness, and will soon go to medical school and trust me, I know what I'm saying.
As for food - everyone is different. Everyone gets hungry differently. That's not due to the country but to how much your body is used to. AKA your metabolism. I am not telling you to calculate your calories here, but an average intake of 1500-2000 calories should be fine per day. It also depends on what you eat. If you eat a s**t load of salad... it will surely not matter compared to eating a
Spike_Flair

Only recently have I started exercising and ever since I started I've gained weight. WTF.
I did read though that once you start exercising you may gain weight because your body is recalibrating, but I'm not putting any money on the word of a single article.?


This made me laugh, but it's not your fault. You will do a huge mistake if you measure your progress towards "fitness" by weighting yourself. Many people do that, sadly. Time to educate yourself *rubs her hands*. The reason you gain weight when you work out at first is simple: muscle is way heavier than fat. And muscle builds up faster than you lose fat. Also, fat that's been there for a long time, gets off slower. Actually, if you plan on being fit through working out, expect to see a bigger weight, but a leaner, and more toned and soon enough a tighter body. The reason people give up to working out (due to ignorance, mainly) is that they think it's not effective due to weight.
I've been to a sports high school and have a diploma on fitness, and will soon go to medical school and trust me, I know what I'm saying.
As for food - everyone is different. Everyone gets hungry differently. That's not due to the country but to how much your body is used to. AKA your metabolism. I am not telling you to calculate your calories here, but an average intake of 1500-2000 calories should be fine per day. It also depends on what you eat. If you eat a s**t load of salad... it will surely not matter compared to eating a McD's. So food portions don't matter... what you eat matters. And if you eat healthy and food with little calories, it won't matter how much it will be. Research, educate yourself and most importantly, don't stress over it.
Food scales are super cheap. Go to Target or Walmart to find one. ^.^

Lean meats are wonderful! But wether or not you have a lean meat, red meat, or whatever, your serving size of meet should not be larger than your fist.

Always have lots of veggies! Veggies are full of fiber, which keeps you full. During a meal, you should eat more veggies than meat.

Fruit is a wonderful source of fiber and sugar, and they are great for snacking on.

Also, do you know how much of your weight is muscle? Muscle weighs more than fat, just saying. ^.^
keiiii
You don't need to spread out your meals throughout the day, unless you have blood sugar issues (diabetes, hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia) or something.

If you really want to be sure... Weigh your food (get a cheap food scale) and count them calories. Count your snacks, your liquids (juice, sports drink, etc), everything. That's how I lost 65 pounds. I still have 15 more pounds that I'd like to lose, but it's been over a year and I have kept those 65 pounds off. Use an app or a site to simplify the calorie counting process. There are many free ones available if you look!

Combine exercise and diet to get the best results. While you can lose weight simply by decreasing your calorie consumption, exercise helps keep your metabolism up, and is beneficial all around. I would suggest doing strength training to minimize muscle loss.

I personally am not a big fan of the stereotypical skinny Asian build; I'm an Asian myself and am trying to look more athletic and muscular. But whatever floats your boat. biggrin

Best advice.
I don't worry about serving size because I only eat once or twice a day, so naturally my serving sizes are going to be bigger than recommended. I have to worry about getting ENOUGH calories rather than too much.
Your meat serving should be the size of your fist, rice/grains and such the size of a tennis ball, and one/two cups of veggies. It is better for your metabolism to spread out you meals into six small ones. f you are to go that, then have a small meal. Like 200-300 calories per meal. They way you lose weight is burning more calories than you consume. 1500 calories should be the minimum you consume in a day. You've gained because you are gaining muscle.
jadedrenee's avatar

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Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies; that's a pretty easy way to keep your diet balanced. Also, drink more water; part of your weight gain may be bloat, and water will help counter that.
Sexillion's avatar

Lunatic

The simple American diet consists enough fat, calories, and cards to nourish 3 people. When I went into my fridge to heathitize it (that's a word now >.> wink I was disgusted by how much i was taking in vs. how much I needed.

Funny thing: The Buffalo Wild wings near me had the number of calories posted next to the foods on the menu......the took them off after a few weeks. emotion_awesome
You don't have to eat less and exercise more, but doing both is the most beneficial. The point of "burning fat" is you literally have to BURN fat. This can be done by eating less than the calories your body needs to burn daily, so it burns your excess fat. While you can eat regularly, and burn 300 extra calories a day from exercise you can lose .5lbs a week. Or you can diet AND exercise and loose up to 1lbs a week plus! (within staying in reason. You must never let your net calories go below 1200 or you go into starvation mode)
Here is a great website that lets you see portion control. http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthtool-portion-size-plate
It is very important you eat breakfast within an hour after waking up, and small snacks or "meals' throughout the day. It is suggested you eat around 6 times, so about every 2 hours. This is what keeps your metabolism up.
geminikitten's avatar

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Having been to Japan with Japanese relatives, they're not as skinny and people think they are but I guess it's true an American diet has higher portions (not American personally but I've done work with your medical and health field on the topic).

It really depends on what you eat rather than portion alone. Too little is actually bad for you as is too much. You also have to remember to use up what you consume through physical activities.

If you are exercising, the weight gain may be due to muscle gain and/or your body is adjusting to the new diet.
Spike_Flair
I've lived in America my entire life so far and I've heard that the reason Americans get so fat is because we eat large portions of food at a time. However, having lived in America my entire life I wouldn't know what would be an appropriate portion of food. When I look at an average meal it seems normal to me, but I often wonder if someone from another, much slimmer, country like Japan would look at an average meal that I eat and think it's a lot of food.

While I'm certainly not fat, I'm definitely not in shape and could afford to lose a little weight. I nearly never drink soda, I rarely eat out at fast-food places and I have actually gained much of an interest lately in vegetables and Genmaicha tea.
I know exactly why I'm heavier than I would like to be, and it's because I only exercise maybe once every other day and I eat what I am beginning to think are large portions of food.
Only recently have I started exercising and ever since I started I've gained weight. WTF.
I did read though that once you start exercising you may gain weight because your body is recalibrating, but I'm not putting any money on the word of a single article.
While I would like to be as skinny as an average Japanese, I will most likely never be that way due to my body shape, but if I want to be skinnier am I going to have to decrease how much I eat at a time AND get more exercise? Should I also eat more small meals throughout the day instead of three large meals?


Dietary effects on your body weight come from two major fields - overall caloric intake and the source of your calories.

Interestingly, studies have shown that the American diet has seen a decrease in fat intake but diabetes and weight issues have skyrocketed. This is mainly due to diet heavy in simple carbohydrates.

As for the bit you're worried about (portion size), that's your daily caloric intake. Calculate your maintenance calories (the amount of calories you need to eat in a day to stay the same weight), then reduce it by up to 30% and divide that amount by 5 (eat 5 meals a day instead of 3 to reduce your portion size). Your resulting figure is roughly the amount of calories you should eat per portion.

Remember to eat more frequently with smaller portions. It helps a lot when you start dieting (and aren't used to hunger pains).
chai fae's avatar

Magical Kitten

Not sure if this has been mentioned already but a real easy way to control your portions is to use smaller plates. Our brain wants to fill the whole plate or its "not enough" food, and even if you do the right portion of food on a too-big plate your brain will think it isn't enough and leave you still feeling mentally hungry. Use a smaller plate with the proper portion and your brain will be satisfied. Another thing you should do is slow down, eating slowly allows the brain to "catch up" with the stomach and then you can stop eating when you feel full. Eating quickly doesn't give your brain that wait time so you're much more likely to overeat.

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