Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Size matters... portion size that is!

Most of us are guilty of overindulging in our favorite decadent foods or eating until we feel that the buttons of our pants are about to pop right off. With many super-sized restaurant portions and enormous servings, it’s almost inevitable that we fall into this trap. However, with the proper guidance, game plan, and strategy, we can conquer this super-sized way of life. First off, it is important to understand why it is that we overeat. First and foremost, we eat for nutrition, energy, and to satisfy our hunger. It is when we have fulfilled those needs and keep going instead of knowing when to stop, that we go overboard. It is helpful to understand what kind of eater you are. Do you eat out of boredom, because the food is right in front of you, you don’t want it to go to waste, mindlessly eat, or maybe you are an emotional eater? Identifying which type you are, will definitely help you find the best strategy to kick this habit. Whatever your reason may be, learning the appropriate portion size for your body type is crucial for a healthy lifestyle and proper weight management. 
Daily recommended food intake:

True, the Food Pyramid is a bit old school but it still remains a great resource and handy reference. For a more personalized plan and updated guide, visit http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

A helpful guide for food measurements:

Helpful tips and strategies:

  • Eat out of plates, bowls, and cups that match your desired serving size. For example, you can purchase bowls that hold only 1 cup or other containers that have notches indicating various measurements. Eating right out of those measuring tools does the trick.
  • Prepare your food ahead of time. Dividing bulk foods into small ziplock bags according to serving size not only helps control how much you consume, but it is also extremely convenient especially when you are on the go. This also eliminates mindless eating straight from a family sized bag of chips, cookies, etc.
  • Divide your plate into food groups to make sure you are getting in all your servings of fruits, veggies, protein, carbs, etc. for the day.

  • Use smaller plates, bowls, and cups. Using an enormous sized bowl for cereal makes you want to fill the entire thing and you unknowingly end up eating double to triple the amount of an average serving size.
  • Use measuring cups- they work!
  • Keep a food log to keep yourself accountable. Think, do I really want to have to write down that I ate that spoonful of ice cream?
  • Read food labels for accurate serving sizes.

You do not have to eliminate certain foods completely from your diet, but keeping them in moderation as well as everything else is key. As children we have been told that we must “clean our plate” and make sure we eat everything. This is not the case; realize when you are full and when to stop. It is more than okay to bring home leftovers. Remember, everyone is different; find the strategy that works best for you and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier you. Finally, the combination of a well-balanced diet along with regular physical activity is the key to an overall healthy lifestyle.


"ChooseMyPlate.gov." ChooseMyPlate.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2013.
"Dietary Guidelines: Build a Healthy Base." Dietary Guidelines: Build a Healthy Base. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2013.
"Your Guide To Calories And Portion Sizes." Prevention. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2013.

Kimi Ma

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Having a Partner vs. Working out Solo

You may be trying hard to get regular exercise and make healthy food choices, but if you don't have like-minded friends, this can be hard to get into. Working out by yourself can be pretty difficult. I highly recommend finding a workout partner to maximize your program. When it comes to exercise, you don't have to go it alone. In fact, studies show you'll improve your overall results by working out with a partner. It's why Lance Armstrong and Matthew McConaughey team up for athletic challenges, and why Madonna and Gwyneth are forever together at the gym. Even Barack and Michelle are known for sweating it out together. Yet, sometimes it’s not for everyone. There are some benefits to working out by yourself as well as with a partner.

There are 5 key reasons why having a partner is a good course of action:

1.    They provide motivation. Having a partner helps for the days when you don't want to work out, they will be there to get you out the door. And for the days they feel like skipping, you will get them to the gym. When you want to give up completely, they will talk you into sticking with your plan.

2.    They serve as spotters. When you do exercises such as bench press, squats, military press, etc. Your partner can help spot you. They will keep your workouts safer yet more challenging at the same time, along with checking your form to make sure it is proper the whole time. By having a spotter you will be able to push yourself to new peaks because you will have them to help you.

3.    They increase your exercise arsenal. There are numerous strength moves you can do with your partner, like crunches with a medicine ball, partner pushups and leg tosses. These are fun and very effective.

4.    They provide companionship. Misery loves company. Working out can be lonely, especially long cardio sessions. Having a friend next to you to talk with while you slave away on the elliptical can make the time fly by and actually make it fun rather than a chore.

5.    They provide competition. There is nothing in this world that makes us as human beings push ourselves to new limits like the thrill of competition. If you have a partner who is slightly stronger than you, it can be surprising to see how hard they will push themselves to surpass their partner and they joy they would get from doing so.

Some reason to go solo:

1.    Nothing but time. When you work out by yourself there is nothing holding you back except you. You don't have to wait for anyone to work out just when it is convenient for yourself and you can make your workout as long or as short as you want it to be.

2.    Speed efficient. Generally working with a partner takes longer do to the waiting time in between set. If you just want a quick workout you are able to power through it without a partner holding you back. Especially if you and a partner are at different strengths, you lose a lot of time simply changing the weights.

3.    Less distractions. Working out by yourself also takes out distractions. It allows you to focus on your workout and tune the outside world out. Too often there are just workout groups standing around and talking rather than actually working out.

Moral of the story is plan to see that having a partner is in most cases seems to provide more benefits than working out by yourself. I personally work out on my own normally only for the reason that my schedule doesn't allow me to really link up with a partner. I would work out with a partner if I had the option. Working out by myself is annoying sometimes because I can't push myself to my max potential in certain areas without one. Plus it's nice to see gains as a team; it makes the sense of accomplishment greater. So if having a workout partner is not for you, that’s fine, but at least consider giving it a try.

-Will Perdue
AFFA Certified
U.S. Marine