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If you’ve kept up on my blog or seen any of my social media posts, you’re likely to know that it’s going to be the small changes over time that add up to huge results.

Call them atomic habits, tiny habits, micro habits, or whatever other kinds of habits you want – it’s the small ones day in and day out that compound over time and help you become the type of person you’re working toward.

Eventually, one day you look up and realize you ARE the healthier person you had always wished you were. You’re doing the things that healthy people do! Your daily routine consists of the things that make your healthy lifestyle healthy – you’re active, you mostly eat well, you drink water, etc. All the things, that’s what you do now.

Those small changes, the same ones that help us all become the healthier people we want to be are exactly how we ended up in our predicament.

Little by Little

After the great depression, food increasingly became more abundant in the U.S. Factors such as specialization (think mono-crops), mechanization, and chemically induced efficiencies (pesticides) helped stabilize our food sources.

Plus processing became more mainstream. Along with women leaving the kitchen and entering the workforce came microwaveable and frozen dinners  – the TV dinner was invented in 1953. This industrialization of food was when we first began losing sight of real food (whole, recognizable foods) in favor of processed stuff we have today.

But the change didn’t happen overnight! People didn’t wake up one day and all the machinery, plants, and methods to produce all the “junk” food was suddenly up and running.

Nope, it happened little by little.

Supersizing

To give you a very exact for instance, here’s a comparison of a fast food value meal in 1950 versus now:

Soda size
  • 1950s: 7 oz
  • Now: 30+ oz

*(400%+ increase)

Burger size
  • 1950s: 3.9 oz (not quite quarter pound)
  • Now: 12 oz (¾ pound)

*(300% increase)

Fries
  • 1950s: 2.4 oz
  • Now: 6.7 oz

*(270%+ increase)

And that’s just for a regular size meal! It doesn’t even take into account a supersized value meal or all the extras that you can order in addition to your meal (hello, apple pie!).

But those massive changes didn’t occur overnight, they took 70 years to take root. If people in 1950 were presented with a value meal the size of today’s value meal, they would have assumed it was in error. 

Now we’re almost outraged if they don’t shove as many fries as possible into that little carton, plus some bag fries (you know, the ones in the bottom that are free game if you’re the one holding the bag). We’ve been conditioned to the bigger portion sizes.

No Really…

We’ve literally been conditioned to it, and it’s the worst here in the U.S. Ever compared McDonalds portion sizes here in the U.S. to another country?

Japan for example – our medium soda cup here in the U.S. is one third bigger than it is in Japan (675mL vs. 500mL).

So it’s literally a cultural thing here in the U.S. that more is better, and we’ve taken it hook, line, and sinker… to the ultimate detriment of our health.

We don’t bat an eye at the next food challenge monstrosity and as a society we don’t advocate for appropriate serving sizes to help people get healthier.

That means it’s all on you as an individual to take back control over your health by first, realizing the portion distortion madness that’s all around us; and second, taking that knowledge and using it to make better choices when it comes to portion sizes.

It won’t happen overnight (remember how it took 70 years to get here?) but the little changes you make in controlling your portion sizes will add up over time to huge results… or smaller results if you’re looking to make your waist line or the number on the scale smaller.