Monday, October 9, 2023

Is Weight Loss and Portion Control the Key To Dealing With Climate Change and Its Effects?

I was watching the morning news while eating my usual breakfast of oatmeal and a hash brown (a little treat before my Friday meetings, which I always dread—where's my 4-day work week?). A segment caught my attention: grocery sales are down due to people pursuing weight loss through a new drug called Ozempic. This reminded me of a subject I've thought a lot about and want to write about.

The effects of Ozempic, a drug created as an anti diabetic mediation, was found to have weight loss effect. Despite its long list of side-effects (nausea, diarrhea, fatigue to name a few), its use has promising results for patients in terms of weight loss. It has even impacted sales of grocery, snacks, and even alcohol.

Medical issues aside, what got me thinking was just how a small portion of the population who are taking weight loss drugs can have on the overall economics of our food chain. For me, exercise is important to my own weight control and loss, what has really helped me was portion control. 

Let us be honest: American portions are hu Once in a while, this subject of big plates with huge amount of food comes up but iit quickly gives way other news or more interesting subjects.Also of interest form time to time is how the Japanese or some other culture are able to stay thin and live long healthy lives focusing on what they eat. A lot of time, I found what they eat is not all that different from what I eat. What got missed is how much of it they eat compared to how much I consume. Mediterranean diets? Sure, sounds great except our servings are 50% to 100% more.

I can only speak for Americans here. Let's assume we all reduced our food portions by even just one third. That would mean one third less food waste, lower transportation emissions from moving food around, and less water required to grow crops and raise livestock for dairy, eggs, and meat. According to the USDA, shrinking portions by a third could eliminate 170 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually - the equivalent of taking 42 coal power plants offline. In addition to reducing greenhouse gases, smaller portions would also lower water use, fertilizer runoff pollution, and energy needs across the food system. This simple change could transform the environmental impact of the entire food industry.

Again, all it takes is eating less. And guess what? It could also mean weight loss, better overall health, and increased self-esteem for some. Oh, and one extra bonus: extra cash in your pocket!

I came up with something called "less bites'. It means eating less at every meal. 

  1. If I go out, I make sure not to finish my meal. If I can, I share a meal with my wife or I order smaller portions. I also take home anything I don't finish. It usually becomes my lunch the next day. 
  2. I eat more veggies and fiber. These are usually pretty cheap compared to processed food or meat. Healthier and less calories. Also, better calories as well. 
  3. I look at what I want to eat and I cook about 75% of what I want to eat.
  4. If I am eating at a friends or the food is family style, I look at what I want to eat and I take 75% of it. 
  5. I eat slower now. It helps a lot. Try it.
  6. I snack but I also have smaller portions. I have been making my own healthier snacks - nuts, fruits, popcorn. I even tried making my own protein bars. It doesn't look like protein bars but it'll do in terms of taste and what my body needs. I still eat Cheetos and chocolate chip cookies in smaller portions and not as often.
Over the last year, I have lost about 12 pounds but I really feel I should have made greater progress. So, I am in the midst of my 100 meals of "less bites". It comes out roughly to 33 days of dining where I am consuming 25% less than I did last month while forging salty and sugary snacks during this time. This personal challenge ends just before Halloween. You can figure out why that is. 

Now, if there was only a way to keep track of the waste, savings, and weight loss all together in one app, that would be perfect for what millions of Americans and I want to achieve.

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