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Big Buckets, Bigger Bellies

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Old 11-19-2005, 11:33 PM   #1
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Default Big Buckets, Bigger Bellies

From Time magazines recap of medical news this week:
BIG BUCKETS, BIGGER BELLIES A Cornell University study shows that big portion sizes make even unappetizing food disappear. Moviegoers served large tubs of two-week-old popcorn ate 34% more than did people served the same stale popcorn in medium-size containers. The moviegoers seemed unaware that the tubs made a difference: 77% said they would have eaten as much no matter how big the container. (Study published in September/October 2005 Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.)
In previous studies from the same researcher,
they found that people not only significantly underestimate the calorie content of what they eat, but discount even more the calorie content of food they eat but don't like. "When asked how many ounces or calories they had eaten, both groups - those given either medium or really large buckets of popcorn - reported about the same amount," Wansink said. Another factor is that while people tend to acknowledge that portion size and container size may influence other people, they often wrongly believe they themselves are unaffected, Wansink found in a 2004 study. "This suggests that portion and package size may insidiously influence people at a basic level of which they are not aware or do not monitor," Wansink warned.

So how do you control portion sizes? What are your tricks? Something I've found really useful are the 1 cup plastic bowls with lids from the dollar store (3 to a package). They are suppose to be for babies & todlers but they are a flat enough bowl that it seems like you are getting more (that container size thing again). And with the resealable lids, I can package up some of my favorite crackers & pretzels ahead of time so there is no temptation to add just a few more 'since the bag is open'...why is it that just a few more can end up meaning a few more servings? I love them for snacks on the go- stuff doesn't get smushed or end up all over inside my bag...& its cheaper then getting those little 100 calorie snack packs. The other nice thing is that I can nibble & reclose for later if I don't want to eat an entire serving at once.

I also use my FoodSaver to reseal just about everything- there is something about the extra steps it takes to cut the package open & then reseal it that makes me stop & think more then a chip clip every could
With just 2 people in our household, we would get tired of the same cereal, crackers, cheese, etc before we could finish a package. Now I can have several 'open' packages because I can truely reseal them so we don't have to have the same kind day after day. I hate to sound like an infomercial, but it really has help me save money by not throwing away stale food or ending up eating something I didn't want/need just because I didn't want to waste it before it went stale...the only one who loses out is my dog since there are hardly ever things that go stale anymore....
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Old 11-20-2005, 03:21 PM   #2
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Thanks for posting this. Portion sizes really do make a difference to how much I eat, and it was brought home to me just how much when I moved here. Everything (except jars of Marmite ) comes in much larger sizes here than in the UK, yet I would eat without taking account of that. My weight increased to record levels, yet I would have sworn I wasn't eating any more than I had before. I use your trick of measuring things out into single, reasonable portions now, and it's amazing how much longer a packet of Munchies lasts! I still eat too many of them, mind, but at least I'm aware of how much food I'm really putting into my body now.
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Old 11-20-2005, 05:15 PM   #3
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Very cool, thanks for the study info.

Not to get all geeky and academic, but this research really fits in with a lot of work in social psychology that says people tend to underestimate the effects of situations on their behavior. In this case, the situation being portion size, which people claim has no influence on them.

Just goes to show how unaware of our behavior we can be!
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Old 11-20-2005, 06:45 PM   #4
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That is some good info and advice. Thanks!!!
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Old 11-21-2005, 01:52 AM   #5
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Great info in your post, both your article and your advice. Portion sizes are just *insane* in the US. It really takes a while to deprogram yourself from thinking a sandwich should weigh 2 pounds and take up half a plate. I have a few 1-cup containers, but need to get some more. The little 8oz. margarine and cream cheese containers work well for that, too -- just can't see what's inside 'em.
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Old 11-21-2005, 10:52 AM   #6
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I saw a news story on GMA about buying food in bulk, like at Price Club. Apparently when people have more, instead of stretching it out, they eat more faster. Then tend to make more unplanned purchases there as well, and spend twice as much as they budgeted before they went into the store.
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Old 11-21-2005, 03:48 PM   #7
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I can bellieve it! About the only thing we buy in "bulk" is our Kashi GoLean cereal, and that's only because it's a staple for us and the place with the far most inexpensive price on it is about 30 miles away. We plan a trip to that store (Trader Joe's) and do other stuff in that area while we're there. We mete out our Kashi portions every breakfast, otherwise it would be *really* easy to just keep munching on it!
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Old 11-21-2005, 09:05 PM   #8
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Geez - This makes me feel rather guilty considering I downed a bucket on Sunday watching Harry Potter 4. I really need to stop getting the stupid popcorn, that way I won't EAT the popcorn.
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Old 11-21-2005, 10:22 PM   #9
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I just visited your website, Beth Anne. Loved reading about how you and Greg met and about his proposal and all.
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Total weight loss:










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Old 11-22-2005, 09:50 AM   #10
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Glad you enjoyed it Kimberlie, it is a pretty cool story, isn't it
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