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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Supersize me

I am starting to feel like such a fogey. So many of my observations these days start with the phrase, "When I was young..." But, really.

A few days ago, I took the kids to Wendy's to redeem some Frosty coupons.

Mmmmm. Frosty.

And, to Wendy's credit, this is a SANE size (the "junior", that is) for a child. So there is that.

However, things got crazy from there. I didn't want to sit there empty-handed, so I ordered a small fountain drink for myself.


No, they did not mishear me...the total rang up exactly as I'd expected.

Now, back in my day--you know, the foggy primordial times of the early 1980s--this 21-oz cup would have held a LARGE portion. The available offerings of my youth were small-medium-large at 12-16-21 oz sizes. When I worked at McDonald's 15 years ago, the sizes were 16-21-32. (This was also when I noticed that they had eliminated the concept of "medium" fries, opting instead for small-large-supersize.) It seems we've gone bigger still, in less than a generation.

I'm a frugal person. I like getting more for my money. But sometimes, and especially in the case of junk food, one needs to ask the question, "What if I want a smaller portion?" Yes, it's nice to have the option of a cheap 21 oz drink if I'm thirsty for 21 oz of beverage. But if I'm only thirsty for 12 oz, my only option is to overbuy and then pitch the unused portion.

Or consume it. Which many of us are mindlessly doing and then wondering at our expanding waistlines. I admit, I've always been not only a hunter of value but also a victim of "eyes bigger than stomach", and much of my extra waistline padding is testament to that. But I'm learning to be mindful not only of the quality of what I put into my body, but the quantity. It helps that I have a child who stops when he is done. It's amazing to see him walk away from unfinished treats because he's had enough. It's so simple, and yet so counter to everything I've spent my life hearing/valuing/doing. I'm learning from him to remember to listen to my body. And my brain. And not just clean my plate because I can, or worse...because I was taught that that's what we do.

Public demand and the power of sales numbers are tough to fight against, I am not holding out hope that someday soon I'll be able to actually order a small "small". Instead, I'm learning to fight against a lifetime of conditioning and allow myself to "waste" it by not finishing more than I need.


  1. that's crazy! We don't have that over here- a small soda at a fast food place is pretty small. And fast food here costs more than it does in the US.

    I still love Frostys, though! :-) Haven't had one in a LONG time!

  2. If I eat fast food, which is very rare...I always order a Happy Meal. It keeps the portion control in check and is cheaper. Plus I get a cool toy. Whenever I tell people this they give me an odd look but the counter person at McDonald's could care less. They just ask "Girl or Boy toy?"