WHEN I started working in Starbucks in 1999 we had three beverage sizes - short, tall and grande, the names for 8oz, 12oz and 16oz cups.

At some point, the year escapes me, the 20oz Venti cup was introduced and the short size sidled off the menu board.

For a long time people would still order a short and we would give them a tall cup but not quite fill it but eventually the smallest size became a distant memory.

I remember when we saw the Venti for the first time, agog. This was a pint of coffee. Who on earth was going to order an entire pint of coffee?

Well, lots of people, it emerged.

Big cups are the norm now everywhere. By some standards a pint cup is relatively abstemious, given the hulking options available.

Portions - for both drink and food - have undergone a gargantuan creep to the point where we've lost a natural relationship with satiety and hunger and will indulge in a giant's repast as though it were normal.

I was reading recently that until about the age of three, humans will stop eating when they are full. This is, apparently, a universal trait.

No matter how much food a toddler is given, they will stop when they've had enough. By the time a child is five they will eat whatever's in front of them.

Plate sizes and cup sizes have increased to accommodate our expanding appetites. Did you know the correct portion size for a piece of meat is the same size as a pack of playing cards? A portion of cheese should be the size of a matchbox.

I don't know about you, but I'd feel shortchanged with a matchbox bit of brie. One of the Venti sized drinks I used to make for customers had around 750 calories in it and I wondered if it should come with a disclaimer - did people realise that they were having a liquid meal? Would they care?

Of course, these questions are moot now because Starbucks, alongside other high street cafe chains, provides calorie counts on menu boards and have done for a number of years.

In England last week it became mandatory for restaurant businesses with more than 250 staff members to provide calorie counts for meals. Now the Scottish Government has launched a 12-week consultation looking at introducing the same thing here.

Obesity is a costly business. It currently costs the UK £6.1 billion a year to deal with associated health problems and that figure is predicted to rise to £9.7bn by 2050.

In Scotland, government figures show that two-thirds of the population is overweight or obese.

Acknowledging the discussion around whether thin is necessarily automatically healthy and the debate around whether it's possible to be fat and healthy, there is still a problem and we know we have to deal with it.

What good are calorie counts, though? And might they do more harm than good?

In the US, calorie information became mandatory on menus in certain states as long ago as 2008 but studies show the move has made little difference. While initially food choices changed, that change petered out.

Restaurants surveyed in England ahead of the legislation change said they would not be altering recipes either, so it looks very much like the initiative does not shift the status quo.

Those who live with eating disorders and disordered eating worry that having the numbers there in plain view will be triggering, putting people off going out to eat at all or making what should be a pleasurable experience instead a miserable business.

I spent my teens and early 20s aspiring to an ideal of thinness that was never my own desire but a toxic mix of outside forces and internal pressures.

At some point the dam burst and I began to eat as a subconscious act of rebellion, devouring everything I could, because I could. From one extreme to another, and now a constant search for balance, which is hard to find.

If you are slim and have always been slim it can be very difficult to comprehend just how difficult weight loss is and how the world is simply not designed to help you have a healthy relationship with food.

There's much talk of an obesogenic society but until you're trying to change your eating habits, you don't truly see it.

Relationships to food are complicated and complex and solving the obesity crisis similarly so. It needs wide-ranging change from better education about food to better and more affordable availability of quality food.

Calorie counting is a blunt instrument also, many of us understand that not all calories are created equal.

While there should be far less shame around weight and dietary choices and far more emphasis on structural change, providing people with information to help make balanced choices is also crucial.

A compromise might be to have an opt in system where calorie count menus are available alongside menus without those numbers. While some people will find calorie counts a barrier, others will find them useful in making better choices.

England has led the charge with this but hopefully Scotland can learn from its efforts and introduce a system that, as with diet, understands that balance is key.