Americans and their portions are out of control. For example, whereas a muffin once weighed in at 1.5 ounces and 210 calories, the current version is more than twice the size – 4 ounces and 500 calories. A cup of coffee, with whole milk and sugar, once averaged 8 ounces and 45 calories. Compare that to today’s mocha coffee, which is 16 ounces and 350 calories.
And that’s only breakfast. I shudder to think what the numbers are like for a serving of spaghetti.
But that’s not because I’m holier than thou – it’s because I really love my pasta.
Nonetheless, I think our national obsession with super-sizing is doing us harm, and not only when we’re at the table.
I think we tend to super-size at work.
How much do you have on your plate at work these days? Is it more or less than a few years ago?
With all the lay-offs brought on by the Great Recession, chances are it’s more. If you’re taking on more work because others have been laid off and you want to keep your job, there’s probably not a lot you can do about it.
But you can try to practice a little portion control on a daily basis. It’s important to work both hard and sustainably at the same time, to avoid flaming out in a big way. With annual planning and performance reviews, you have a chance to work out reasonable expectations and benchmarks with your supervisors.
You may still have too much on your plate, but at least you won’t be expected to choke it all down in one sitting.
We can also practice portion control when accepting assignments or looking for work. Think of it as the kind of healthy strategy you’d adopt at a buffet or potluck. Just as the eyes can be bigger than the stomach, our ambitions can be more optimistic than our capabilities would warrant.
Avoiding taking on more work than you could reasonably accomplish is a great way to practice portion control.
And let me just throw out another kind of portion control that’s bound to be controversial. I’d like to advocate portion control in terms of salaries and benefits.
The pay gap between the highest paid executives and lowest paid staffers has reached an appalling level. According to the Corporate Library, the average CEO makes $10.9 million a year – about 317 times as much as the regular office worker.
Do you really think the CEO of your company works 317 times harder than a secretary?
Maybe if more CEOs had cut their pay, they could have saved more staffer’s jobs in the downturn.
I think that’s a profound form of portion control which would have boosted the health of the economy over all.
What do you think?
by Danielle Dresden