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8 June, 2006

Portion control

Writing about how he lost 23 kg in body weight last year, Jeremy Zawodny mentioned reforming his eating habits so that he ate until no longer hungry, rather than until full.

Could this be a cultural issue? There's a common preconception (stereotype?) that when eating in the USA, portions will be massive, so I suppose it's possible to eat until full (and waste whatever's left...). In contrast, in Europe, or at least in my experience here, standard portions are more sensible, and wouldn't routinely defeat a normal person. I've rarely eaten to excess without deliberately going back for seconds or by adding side orders.
I suppose I'm saying that in Europe, one is less likely to be in the position of having too much on one's plate and choosing whether to stop eating; rather, one would have to actively seek more food and keep going.

Needless to say, I'm solely speculating about portion sizes during regular meals – snacking and sedentary lifestyles are different issues.

I'd better stress that this entry is just a thought that occurred to me on reading Zawodny's 'advice' via BoingBoing – it's not a fully-reasoned argument! I'm very aware that it's a partial, maybe naïve observation by someone who's never had a weight problem.
Throughout my twenties I was, if anything, slightly underweight (1.85m and 65 kg) and visibly thin, and in my mid-thirties I'm still on the thin side of 'athletic' (~75kg and more than averagely active). There are are a number of reasons, but the main one, which I might explore in a later entry, is that I have a visceral dislike of excess. Overeating is an alien concept; 'comfort eating' is simply inconceivable.

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