Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Portion Teller. Small Changes will bring big results with boot camp!

Americans eat too much of everything. There isn’t one food group responsible for our expanding waistlines. In order to avoid cravings and lose weight, we need to cut food from all of the food groups instead of cutting out entire groups. This book provides a simple plan to help us eat the right foods in the right amounts.
  • Fruit (2-4 servings daily)
We all know that fruits contain loads of vitamins and minerals, but they also contain a lot of sugar which is why we’re told to limit our fruit intake to 2-4 servings per day. Dr. Young tells us that the most helpful visual for determining the right serving size of fruit is a baseball. A baseball’s volume is approximately 1 cup. So 1 cup of berries and 1 baseball sized apple or orange would be good examples of a fruit serving. According to The Portion Teller, the best fruits, nutritionally, are berries, kiwi, melons and citrus, and we should avoid fruit juice, dried fruits, canned fruits in syrup due to their high sugar content.

  • Non-Starchy Vegetables (3+ servings daily)
Yippee! We can eat as many servings of vegetables as we want! Again, the visual of choice is the baseball. A serving size of raw vegetables is 1 cup, while a serving size of cooked vegetables is 1/2 cup. The best way to maximize your vegetable nutrient intake is to eat as colorful a plate as possible. Some of the most nutrient packed vegetables include spinach, red peppers, asparagus, broccoli and carrots. There’s no need to avoid any of the non-starchy vegetables because according to Dr. Young, “No one ever got fat from eating too many carrots.”

  • Grains and Starchy Vegetables (4-8 servings daily)
The Portion Teller Pyramid allows us to eat more servings of grains and starchy vegetables than any other food group. But it also provides us with a warning for the types of grains we’re supposed to eat. It tells us to choose healthy grains such as whole wheat, rye, and oats while avoiding white bread, muffins, bagels, and pasta. However, the most important thing to consider when eating our grain servings is the correct serving size. Remember, “white flour products, such as bagels and muffins, have increased in size over the past few decades, sometimes as much as 400%.” A computer mouse is the right size for a baked potato, a CD is the right size for a pancake or a pita bread. And a CD case is the correct size for a piece of bread. Be careful with your grains, the average American eats 17 Portion Teller sized servings of grains every day.

  • Fish, Poultry, and Meat (2-3 servings daily)
6-8 ounces of meat will provide us with all of the protein we need each day. Dr. Young recommends one serving of meat with every meal and she stresses that low fat, high protein meats such as poultry, fish, and the leaner cuts of red meat are the ones we should be eating. You may also want to include eggs and legumes into your balanced diet as these contain different types of fats that might not be found in the other types of protein. The visuals provided to help us size up our meat servings depend on the type of meat being eaten. More often than not, a deck of cards will be similar to a serving of meat. However, if you’re protein source is a flaky white fish, a standard check book is a good visual that approximates 3 ounces.

  • Dairy (2-3 servings daily)
There are many benefits to including several servings of low-fat dairy into your diet on a daily basis. Dairy products are wonderful sources of calcium and the B vitamin Riboflavin; some sources are even fortified with Vitamin D. Another huge benefit of consuming dairy products is that the protein in them fills you up so you don’t feel hungry. I like dairy products a lot and find it hard to keep within the recommended 2-3 servings per day for dairy–I guess there are worse things that I could be cheating with. Dr. Young provides several visuals to help find the right serving size when it comes to dairy products. My favorite one is the “4 dice visual.” Whenever I go to a party, often the thing that trips me up is the cheese tray–certainly one more of those little cubes couldn’t hurt? But how many have I already had? My new trick is to use a plate. Every five cubes basically equals about one ounce, or one serving of dairy. I put all my “dice” on my plate at the beginning and don’t go back to the buffet. I don’t have to limit myself to just one serving, but I make sure to budget those extra cubes in to my day.

  • Fat (1-3 servings daily)
1 to 3 servings of fat daily is not very much fat. The Portion Teller provides simple visuals for doling out your fats as well. A golf ball is about 1 oz, a shot glass is about 2 tablespoons and a walnut is about 2 tablespoons. The fat visuals are by far the smallest of the visuals provided in the book because gram for gram, fat has about 3 times as many calories as carbohydrate and protein. It’s recommended to steer clear of the “bad fats” such as butter, coconut oil, cream cheese and mayonnaise so that you can concentrate on consuming good fats such as olive oil, tahini, avocado, nuts, and nut butters.

  • Treats and Sweets (0-2 servings daily)
Everyone agrees that treats and sweets aren’t good for us. But they are part of life–I’d never give them up completely. Like fats, treats also have very small visuals to help you relate to serving size because they are calorie dense foods. You’re supposed to think in terms of 1/2 of a baseball or 1 tennis ball. The Portion Teller also gives us some tips to help us deal with the sweet tooth in all of us:

  • Avoid your triggers–if you can’t stop with one serving of chips, then don’t eat any.

Only splurge 1 day a week–avoid eating sweets on a daily basis and they’ll seem like more of a treat.

Skip soft drinks–you’re better off chewing your calories than drinking them.

Fat free still means calorie laden–be careful when eating those low fat cakes, cookies, and ice creams.

Share–order one dessert for two people when at a restaurant.

I highly recommed picking up a copy of the Portion Teller - small changes can make big differences on the scale! If you combine the principles of this book along with our total body workouts at Texas Fit Chicks boot camp, your body will completely CHANGE! Check out Melisa, who successfully changed her portion sizes and trained with us - her results are proof it works!

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