My name is Neale Bacon. I have lost (so far) 200 pounds with no pills, potions, shakes, short cuts or surgery. Join me for tips and tricks I learned on this journey. There may even be a laugh or two along the way.

stress-2379631_640Stress sucks! That’s something we all know. It can cause acne, hair loss, weight gain, weight loss and a host of other health problems. Put simply, it can make you feel crazy and  overwhelmed at EVERYTHING! But, there is a way to combat stress.

Routines and organization is the best way to deal with stress throughout the day. What better time to start with a routine, then first thing in the morning! Setting the tone for the day starts the minute you open your eyes. If you aren’t careful, stress can rear it’s ugly little face into your sights before you can do anything about it.

So just how do you combat stress first thing in the morning? Well. I’ll tell you!

Here are my top tips to get you started in creating your own morning routine to help alleviate stress.

Stop Hitting Snooze

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If you’re one of those people that keep hitting the snooze button in an attempt to get more sleep, you’re probably not going to like what you’re about to read. When you press that snooze button over and over again, you are causing yourself to have less time to prepare for the day. That alone can cause some stress. I am fortunate in that I very seldom, if ever, have to set an alarm for morning unless I am up super early for a flight or something. If you need five or six alarms timed to go off 15 minutes apart, try setting them a little earlier than when you actually need to wake up. This will allow you to be able to hit that snooze button (once or twice – not 10!) and still get up on time. Having to rush in the morning is a breeding ground for high stress levels throughout the day. That snooze button is just not worth it.

Don’t Constantly Check Your Phone

phone-1209230_640Constantly checking your phone, whether its social media or emails, can cause those stress levels to heighten. Checking your phone right after waking up, and in some cases before you even get out of bed, overloads your brain causing stress by trying to wake up faster. Try not checking your phone until you’re up and having a healthy breakfast. It will allow your mind the time it needs to wake up on its own and do it calmly.

 Breathe

We often forget, but good quality breathing is so important. Learning to calm yourself girl-2176513_640through breathing exercises will help fight away the stress that hits in the form of panic attacks and anxiety attacks or plain old stress. Take in deep breaths while counting to five and then exhale counting to five. Doing this helps to gain control of the situation which alleviates the feeling of being overwhelmed and stressed by everything going on around you. Doing this in the morning before you even get out of bed is a great way to prepare your mind for all the tasks you need to tackle.

 Repeat An Affirmation

I am not a big new age or touchee feelee kind of person, but sometimes saying kind things to yourself about yourself will definitely make you happy and keep those pesky stress levels at bay. We also tend to be our own harshest critics, so it helps quiet your inner critic. It can be anything that makes you feel positive like “I am grateful for my life”, “I begin my life today”, “I am kind”, or “I am beautiful”. It really just depends on you and what you need/want to hear. The moment you start to feel like you’re being flooded with too much and become overwhelmed, take a breath and repeat your affirmation. This will help calm you and also help keep you positive and motivated to get through the day.

 Eat A Good Breakfast

cereal-898073_640You heard me say this before but it’s a fact that Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but there is science and plenty of studies that can prove it. In fact, A British study taken in 2012 found that “people who ate breakfast reported feeling 89% less anxious in challenging situations later that day, and were able to deal with dilemmas 7% faster than on days they skipped their A.M. meal” (“12 Morning Tricks To Set Yourself Up For A Much Less Stressful Day”). So, make sure you not only eat breakfast, but that you eat a HEALTHY breakfast. A healthy breakfast does not mean grabbing a coffee and a breakfast sandwich as you rush to work. Having a healthy breakfast and taking the time to enjoy it will increase your brain function and reaction and allow you to focus more on the tasks you need to tackle each day.

 Make A List for Productivity

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Early on in the morning, try to focus on all your high-concentration tasks. This includes things like writing reports, seeing patients, managing finances or anything else that might require more focus and/or creativity. The best way to put those things in order of how much concentration they require is to make a list. After you complete one of the tasks, cross it off. Doing this will alleviate the feeling of being overwhelmed and flooded with tasks throughout your day.

This also applies if you are a stay home mom or dad. Having a list will still help you get more done. Looking back at a completed checklist will make you feel like you actually accomplished something today, and that can help reduce stress in itself.

So, there you have it.

If you are fighting stress each day or even every once in a while, you can decrease the amount of stress you feel just by sticking to a good healthy and quality morning routine.

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!

 

 

 

 

playground-2457320_640The need to ensure kids’ health is one of the most important obligations of parents. In today’s world where many adults tend to live with unhealthy and inactive lifestyle, it is crucial to teach your kids the essentials of health while they are still young.

While you can still guide them, you need to help them understand the different aspects of their health. In doing this, you do not have to sound as if you are giving a sermon or a lecture. Through your nurturing and care along with their other daily activities, you can ensure that your kids have healthy and balanced lifestyle. And this is why starting with the basics and maintaining some basic aspects will ensure you raise a healthy kid!

Developing the Right Habits

5210GraphicverticalThe habits that kids would develop will surely be carried on through their adult years. While they are still young, it is every parent’s duty to help them develop the right habits. Along with character development, you should also take into consideration the daily habits of your kids, for instance, the foods that they eat, their physical activities, their relationship with other people and even their perceptions on things and the environment.

Kids do not have ample knowledge about the world. Most of the time, they get easily enticed with foods or even with activities they think are fun and enjoyable without taking into consideration the negative effects.

In order to help them, you need to discipline your kids in such a way that they grow to become individuals who are responsible, health conscious and mature.

Healthy Diet

farmers-market-buylocal-984x500Many parents if not all will encounter problems when it comes to feeding their children. Sometimes as parents or grandparents we get fooled by the marketing of so-called healthy foods. I watched a great documentary on Netflix recently called In Defense of Food.  In it, the presenter showed how a serving of yogurt can have as much sugar as a bottle of soda.

After all, even adults are having a hard time eating a healthy diet for the main reason that by doing so, they have to eat nutritious yet tasteless meals. The appetite of kids can be highly sensitive. Young children would often be easily enticed to eat foods that contain too much oil like fried chicken, French fries, etc. Several kids cannot refuse to eat chocolates, candies and other products that contain too much sugar. There is really nothing wrong with this. But everything that is too much can also be dangerous. As a parent, you need to monitor the foods that your kids eat. There are ways for you to provide creative meals that are both delicious and nutritious. 

cereal-898073_640One of the most important habits to develop in kids is eating a healthy breakfast. It helps fuel them for a day of play or as the new school year approaches, helps them prepare for a day of learning.

A good healthy low-sugar cereal with some fruit is a good start, and don’t forget healthy snacks.

 

Physical Activities

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Apart from their daily eating habits, kids also need to exercise. Considering their age,  you cannot compel them to exercise if they do not want to do so. In guise of sports or other activities that involve playing with other kids, you can ensure that your kids if physically active. Not only does he/she enjoy the company of other kids, your child also gets the chance to exercise without him/her knowing it.

Start taking note of how your kids are going in each of these three areas and start making improvements where you need to.

As always, I am here to support you and your family on your journey to health.

Now to announce some changes!

You will notice the banner has changed and I have gone back to the old name for this blog – Low Fat Bacon Bits. I have moved away from coaching though still sharing my message through speaking as well as this blog and my Facebook page which I would love for you to check out. It is at http://www.gethealthywithbacon.com This address no longer goes to the coaching website but to my Facebook page.

I hope you will continue to follow me here as well as on the Facebook page.

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!

Get a move on!

 

can't out exerciseSomething that goes hand in hand with good eating is exercise. There is an old saying that you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet, but you need both components for healthy weight loss, or to be healthy in general.  I know it’s hard.

Fit exercise into your busy schedule? That’s as absurd as saying that there are eight days in a week. Not to mention that when you are overweight you will do anything to avoid it. In high school I would have faked PMS to get out of gym class!

First, you’ve never exercised before or regularly played a sport. Second, you’ve never been into the fitness crowd and third, you’re far too busy to even think about exercise. In other words, you’re just not into it.

Of course your friends talk about it and rave about the latest fitness craze, but you’ve seen it too often, some of them are on the “on-again-off-again” treadmill / stair master mania, and you wonder why they haven’t shed the fat that they’re desperately still trying to hide. Seeing what your friends go through and not seeing any results, you cling to the notion that your total lack of interest is justified.

First of all, forget what everyone else is doing and whether it works for them or not. You need to find out what works for you!

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Once you’ve accepted the fact that exercise is good for your health, then you can consider some of the ways you can include it into your life. The top 3 health concerns that people face today are all easily preventable with a balanced diet and regular exercise: Osteoporosis, Heart Disease and Diabetes.

So what are the benefits of exercise?

Well, if you make exercise part of your day, Denise Austin believes you’ll quickly experience some noticeable benefits.

These include:

  • Waking up in the morning feeling refreshed
  • Having energy left at the end of the day
  • Feeling more optimistic about recreation
  • Sleeping more soundly at night
  • Weight loss

So how do you start?

Here are some easy to implement ways you can incorporate Fitness into your daily life to get started:

Office Fitness

Just as ergonomic experts recommend that office workers take their eyes off their computer screen every hour or so, fitness experts are advocating getting up from your chair and taking a brisk walk up and down the stairs. It is being said now that sitting is the new smoking.

When you feel the need to take a break, offer to pick up supplies for your colleagues, take the mail downstairs instead of waiting for the trolley, or think of something you could put in your car instead of waiting until 5 pm. That way, you force yourself to get up from your seat and walk for a few minutes. Some companies are even having walking meetings.

Family Exercises

This can be one of the most fun! On the weekends when you join the family in their activities, try to integrate exercise into these activities: if the kids or grand-kids are into cycling, join them for bike rides. Are they off to their swimming lessons or skating lessons? See if you can sign up in the adults section, or take a walk outside the recreational center while waiting for them. Even playing in the park with them is exercise. Chase a Frisbee, blow some bubbles, play tag, and be a kid again.

Chores Are Workouts!

Who says you can’t burn calories while doing housework or gardening? Take a breather from your hectic schedule and devote some down time to tending to your lawn, trimming your rose bushes, scrubbing the kitchen and bathroom floors, etc.

Walk, don’t Drive!

Park your car far away so you can walk to the front door of the office, to the entrance of the mall, to the doctor’s office and to the post office.

Just start by incorporating 10-20 minutes of movement a day that you wouldn’t normally do and watch your health increase!

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Changes ahead!

Before I sign off, I want to let you know about some changes. I have shut down the website for Get Healthy with Bacon but kept the domain. It will now direct you to my Facebook page, where I will continue to post weight loss, diet and health tips, so please stay with me.

I am moving away from coaching and more towards motivational speaking, which will allow me to use my other skills (ventriloquism and comedy) to share my message. I will still be doing the blog, I will be continuing the Facebook page and now you can find me on Instagram under http://www.instagram.com/healthybacon.

I am still passionate about healthy weight loss. I am just taking that passion in a new direction.

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!

I belong to a couple of organizations regarding weight and obesity like the Canadian Obesity Network and the Obesity Action Coalition. The OAC has a great newsletter called Your Weight Matters. You can check them out at http://www.yourweightmatters.org/

I was going to blog on this topic anyway, as it is that time of year again when we hit the road! I got this in my mail this morning and it is said so well I wanted to share this with you so here we go.

open road

“Healthy On-the-Go: Tips for Travel, Vacation and More

With spring wrapping up and summer well on its way, many people are gearing up for a brand new season packed with fun-filled activity! Whether you’re staying local or traveling away from home, staying on top of your weight management goals should remain a top priority.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to keep healthy, active and energized while you’re on-the-go this season. Be it by plane, car, or even cruise ship, there are many steps you can take to ensure you’re living your happiest and healthiest lifestyle.

Out and About? Stay Healthy While You Travel with these Tips:

Master the Menu

Visiting different restaurants while you travel is almost guaranteed. If you can, preview the menu ahead of time to make your healthiest choice. If not, don’t be afraid to take some time to weigh your options and choose a dish that is rich in power foods such as lean protein, vegetables, fruit and whole grains. Also, be aware of what kinds of condiments and “extras” your dish includes, and consume these in moderation.

Pack Your Workout Clothes

couple walkingCome prepared for any opportunity to work some movement into your day. Whether it’s a short walk/jog or even a trip to a nearby gym or fitness facility, staying active on-the-go can help your body sustain its progress until you’re back to your usual routine.

 

Bring a Snack Pack 

When you’re on-the-go, finding the nutrition you need can be difficult – especially if your schedule is packed. A snack pack filled with healthy, wholesome goodies can satiate you and ward off undesired cravings when you’re in a situation that leaves you feeling hungry.

Carry Water at All Timeswater

Having water on hand at all times is crucial for maintaining energy levels throughout the day, which is especially important if your day is packed with activities and responsibilities. Water will also help you manage control hunger and manage your appetite.

Stretch!

Sometimes, traveling can mean sitting in one place for extended periods of time. While this may be unpreventable, it’s important to take any opportunities to stretch and keep your body moving in any way it can.

Pencil-in Time to Sleep

cat-1584543_640While travel can be fun and extremely engaging, it can also be exhausting – which is why an appropriate amount of sleep can go a long way! Sleep will not only help you with your weight management goals, but it will supply you with the energy you need while on-the-go.

 

Remember any Vitamins or Medications

If certain medications or vitamins are part of your daily routine at home, they should be a part of your routine while you travel! Carrying a small pouch in your bag or purse is a simple way to ensure that your vitamins and/or medications are with you when you need them.

Although vacation and on-the-goal travel mean a break from your usual home structure, this doesn’t mean that your weight management goals have to suffer. With a little extra thought and planning, you can do much (if not all) of what you do at home!”

So there you have it. I think this is some really great advice and I would just add a couple of things to it.

Under Pack Your Workout Clothes – when you book your hotel ask if they have any kind of a fitness centre. I have found most decent hotels will at least have some weights and maybe a bike or treadmill.

Under Bring a Snack – I do more than that. I travel a lot when I am doing shows, and I always ask if I can get a fridge in my room, and if not, I bring a travel cooler. I then shop at local markets to have some healthy food. Often times food on the road is not the healthiest, especially when I am doing fairs. Restaurants are a nice treat now and then, but bringing your own is best.

Under Taking Your Medications – many pharmacies blister-pack-e1418254470396will pack your meds in blister packs. This is great when flying so you don’t have to pack your meds in their original bottle. For example, one medication I am on for my diabetes is Metformin, and I but them in big containers 500 at a time. A blister pack is so much easier.

Well there you have it. I hope some of these tips help you stay healthy on the road, and keep you from running away from your healthy eating plan.

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!

visit your local farmer's market!

I have blogged about farmer’s markets before, but I firmly believe they are a real undiscovered treasure in most communities. People are more focused on healthy eating these days, especially organic foods. While this might sound like an oddity in today’s supermarket culture, farmers markets are getting to be more and more popular each year. The products come from your local “foodshed”, the atmosphere is fun and will lift your spirits, and the food tastes fabulous.

There are lots of websites that will show you where to find your local farmer’s markets, or sometimes there are just lots of signs posted around. Don’t be afraid to try markets in towns around you as well. You will probably find different vendors and different products.

For my readers in the Lower Mainland of BC, check out http://whatsatthemarket.com/

farmers-market-buylocal-984x500By buying at your local farmers market, you’re cutting back the number of miles that your food journeyed to get to you, providing more of your food dollars directly to the growers, and protecting local agriculture and the green spaces that it supplies for our communities.

I read a great book once called The 100 Mile Diet by Alisa Smith and J.B.Mackinnon. It focused on a couple who decided to challenge themselves and only eat foods grown within 100 miles of where they lived.

What was kind of a bonus for me is that they live not far from me, so the book was about “my back yard.” Reading this book is one thing that got me into farmer’s markets.  You get to talk right to the farmers or artisans.

I love that not only are there ton’s of fruit and veggies at our farmers market here in Burnaby BC, but artisan bakeries and (my favourite) cheese makers. You can get fresh fish, chicken and other meats as well directly from the producer.salsa guy

You will also discover people who make things like jams, relishes and pickles. We bought some wonderful picked green beans on our last visit. There is a guy at our farmers market who makes great salsas and dips from mild to HOLY COW THAT’S HOT!

 

Do some comparison of prices at your supermarket and farmers market. You might discover that you are able to get a better deal at the farmers market. If a few items are particularly pricey at the farmers market, you are able to save those for your supermarket shopping list, or splurge once in a while and buy a treat.

We do that with cheese. My wife and I will get a couple of types of cheese (after tasting a bunch of course) and really savour it with some nice artisan bread and some fruit like local berries.

At our market, there are often bee keepers with honey and other bee products as well.honey

There are also lots of non food options like hand made soaps, carvings, toys and more. There are even artisan coffee and tea vendors. Nothing like a fresh hot beverage to sip while strolling through the booths.

One thing that really adds to the atmosphere, at least in our market and I am sure in many others, is that there are often local musicians playing. I have seen tables with bubble stuff for kids (or kids at heart) and on occasion a “take one – leave one” book table.

It’s recommended to bring reusable bags to the farmers market. You are able to preserve resources by bringing reusable canvas or cloth bags to carry all the goodies you bought, as well as plastic produce bags to hold individual fruits and veggies you purchase. This helps the Earth and it likewise helps the farmer by cutting down on their expenses.

You might even consider a Rubbermaid type container to put in your trunk to put everything in. There is nothing more annoying than to have all your fruits and veggies rolling all over the trunk.

And lastly. Have a blast at the market! Make your weekly farmers market trip a sort of an “outing” for your whole family. A great deal of the time there is music playing, booths where you are able to sample different foods and produce, purchase a meal and even games for youngsters.

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!

back on track

cat-1584543_640I know not everyone is a morning person, but I wanted to share a few ideas to make your mornings get off to a great start. For the non-morning people, maybe they will make morning bearable.

Morning Routines that will Rock Your Happiness

We live in a crazy busy world where the modern person is stretched too thin, particularly those who juggle family, kids and work. Between taking care of the family and achieving a fulfilling career, people run the risk of not getting enough sleep, exercise, proper nutrition or even a satisfying sex life. Lacking in nutrition in each of these areas can lead to health and psychological issues, such as malnutrition, fatigue, poor body image and stress. In the long run, it’s a recipe for becoming increasingly dissatisfied with life resulting in unhappiness.

More often than not, it is the day-to-day that bogs us down, and to master the daily, it is important to get a good start in the morning. Research shows that morning routines and habits (even quick ones) are beneficial to the mind as it shifts focus to matters that require immediate attention. Here are some morning habits that have proven to not only increase happiness levels, but long term positive health too!

Prayer

I am a man of faith and not ashamed to be so, therefore prayer is part of my daily routine as much as possible. You may not be a person of faith, and that’s OK. I have a little something for everyone today.  I remember reading something once called the morning prayer that went something like this…

Dear Lord,
So far I’ve done all right.
I haven’t gossipped,
haven’t lost my temper,
haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent.

I’m really glad about that.
But in a few minutes, God,
I’m going to get out of bed.
And from then on,
I’m going to need a lot more help.

It is a good idea, especially if we have a busy day ahead, to start with some a simple prayer. Just a “Hi Lord. It’s going to be a busy day. I am so glad you will be there with me. Please remind me of that now and then. Thank you”

Meditation

Meditation helps to reduce stress responses in the body. Multiple studies have shown girl-2176513_640that meditation leads to lowered blood cortisol levels. Cortisol is commonly known as the stress hormone, as it is released during periods of stress and low blood sugar. Sustained high cortisol levels in the body has detrimental effects on the immune system , which can lead to poor general health with the risk of disease.

While meditation is known to be practised among monks and yogis, meditation is not a daunting practice; anyone can learn to meditate. The core to meditation is to be comfortable, but not too comfortable that you fall asleep. Meditation can be done in any room of your home, and you can start with a short session of around 5 minutes in length each morning. They key is to calm the mind in preparation for the day.

While meditating you should always maintain a good posture, regular breathing, and awareness of your body and the space in order to start to clear the mind and come to terms with yourself. For beginners, you may consider joining a guided meditation session to learn the basics and get you started.

Yoga

yoga-241609_640Many people choose to do yoga in the morning as a stretching routine to prepare the body and mind for the day ahead. Yoga goes hand-in-hand with meditation, so you might want to consider taking up both by adding in a 5 minute meditation after your stretching session.

There are many forms of yoga that can be performed in the morning, ranging from yin yoga that focuses on deep stretching, to more vigorous and aerobic vinyasayoga that goes through a set of poses in quick succession. Yoga overall helps to increase flexibility and strength of the body.

If doing a formal yoga session isn’t your thing, then simply spend 5-10 minutes in the morning stretching your body in a way that feels right for you.

Exercise

couple walkingWe all know we need to exercise, but did you know that getting exercise done in the morning can boost blood circulation and respiration rate to help jump start the day on a positive note?It’s been noted on many research studies that consistent morning exercise aids in getting better quality sleep at night.

You could start with 20 minutes of walking or conditioning workouts in your own home to save time. There are plenty of fast and effective workout videos on YouTube you could get started on to kick start your morning exercise routine.

Breakfast

cereal-898073_640I have written on the importance of breakfast many times. Breakfast is necessary to refuel the body after an overnight fast, and gives you energy for the first half of the day for your daily pursuits.

Having a healthy, protein-rich breakfast will keep you fuller for longer compared to carbohydrate-heavy food like breads and pastries. Consider this: every meal in a day is an opportunity to introduce essential nutrients to the body, and if you are able to get you’re a large portion of your vitamin and mineral requirements sorted out at the beginning of the day, why not? You’ll be able to face the day brighter and happier and on a more positive note.

A balanced breakfast could be a good whole grain cereal with milk and a sliced banana or a boiled egg with fruits and vegetables or wholemeal avocado toast with a pot of Greek Yogurt. For those who cannot work up an appetite in the morning, a quick protein smoothie could be better for you. 

Establishing a morning routine doesn’t need to be complicated or intense. The key is incorporating activities one at a time, and to aim for consistency. Soon enough, seeing the positive effects of these routines on the physical and mental well being will be motivation to keep at them, and eventually turn them into lifelong habits.

What morning routine are you going to start with tomorrow?

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!

I think people very often overlook one of the most important things when it comes to losing and maintaining weight – portion sizes. The other thing is to learn the difference between a serving and a portion. I want to look at both of these today.

Trying to figure out how much we should eat of which foods can be a bit confusing between food guides and pyramids, and even the differences between countries as to what those portions should be.

myplate_blue
The United States introduced a new program a few years ago called My Plate which makes it so much simpler and I have recommended it to people for ages. It simply shows how you food should be portioned on your plate.

Basically it shows that our plates should be 1/2 a combination fruits and/or vegetables, 1/4 grains and 1/4 protein, with a small portion of dairy on the sides.

The website for my plate is https://www.choosemyplate.gov/

 

In 2016, Health Canada introduced it’s version called the Eat Well Plate and no offense toeat-well-bien-manger-eng-1 my American friends and readers, I kind of like it better for a couple of reasons.

First it just combines the fruits and vegetables to be half the plate. It also shows the meat and alternative section to actually be a bit smaller than 1/4 of the plate.

I am not a vegetarian, but for many, many years our plates, especially with dinner, were very meat centered. There was a big portion of meat, then whatever few vegetables and potatoes on the side. It also shows water along side the dairy and even shows the importance of having a little fat and oil in our diets.

Health Canada has a terrific website with lots of good tips and ideas. Check it out at http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/healthy-eating-saine-alimentation/tips-conseils/interactive-tools-outils-interactifs/eat-well-bien-manger-eng.php . I know that’s a long one. Just look up Health Canada.

You can order portion plates from different companies that can help reinforce this idea of portions in their proper perspective. I have shown the one I just bought from a company called Diva Dish but there are lots out there.

I have found them handy when I go to events like a church potluck. It is so tempting to go overboard. We say we will just have a little of everything so people know I tried their food.

That can add up very quickly, so I will use my portion plate and just take the items I really want to try while still keeping to the right balance.

On both sides of the border, there have been food pyramids. I always found them a little confusing. Again Health Canada streamlined it in The Canada Food Guide which you can download or order printed copies from their website.

I found a new pyramid when I was taking my course as a Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist course and the main feature I like is that it shows exercise as the base of the pyramid. This is a very important point. There is a saying that you can’t outrun a bad diet. This is so true. The two have to go hand in hand.lwm-pyramid

The point I am trying to make is find a system that works for you. Find something that shows you what your food portions should like at each meal as well as totals for the day. For food portions for the day, I like the Canada Food Guide as it lays it out pretty clearly, and breaks it down for men and women and for different age groups. Order or download yours at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/order-commander/index-cereal-box-nutrition-label_ywbgxkeng.php

So now, what’s the difference between a portion and a serving? A good way to learn about this is by analyzing food labels. Here is the label for Cheerios. (I am not doing an endorsement for Cheerios, just using this as an example of label information)

If you look, it says a serving size is 2/3 of a cup, and there are about 9 servings in the box.

When was the last time you measured 2/3 of a cup of cereal? Most people don’t measure. They just dump their cereal into their bowl, and it is very easy for this portion to end up being 2 or even 3 servings.

This is one of the ways people go over on the food consumption on a daily basis. The worst part for their health is that they THINK they have done it right. People will think, “well I just had a bowl of cereal for breakfast so I had one serving of grains” but they have actually had 2 or 3.

If you do that with serving sizes through the day, you could end up having double or triple the servings you should have.

Here’s another one that will surprise you. Many years ago, the serving size of soda was around 5 or 6 ounces. Now the most common serving size is 20 ounces. It says right on the bottle that one serving is one bottle. This means that where a single serving used to be 5 or 6 ounces, it is now 20. Even when Pepsi used to have a jingle that said “12 full ounces, that’s a lot”, 20 ounces is close to double of that 12 ounces.

I saw something very disturbing recently. A famous convenience store chain was having a sale on their icy slush drink, which in essence is ice and sugar syrup. The deal was your could bring your own container and fill it for 89 cents or something.

I saw two high school age kids walking down the road and each of them had a 4 litre (a gallon) milk jug full of this ice and sugar syrup concoction and all I could think of was How many calories are in that?

How many servings are there in a small candy bar? One, right? Not necessarily. I was at a diabetic conference once and the speaker was talking about food labels. She asked how many had eaten a sugar free candy bar and most of the hands in the room went up.

She then showed us labels side by side of a regular chocolate bar and a “diabetic” or sugar free bar. The calories were within 10 calories of each other – but the diabetic bar said it was two servings. That means the calories were actually double those of the regular bar. If you don’t look at serving size, you can easily overlook something like that.

Just watch your portions, plates and pyramids and it gets so much easier.

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day.