Back in 2003 my mother purchased a new set of plates that she was excited about. She couldn’t wait to serve her first home cooked meal on them. After cleaning them thoroughly she went to place them in the cabinet and to her surprise they wouldn’t fit. You see, she lived in an home built in the 70’s and during that time a regular plate size was 9.6 inches. She decided to send them down to me, stating “I know they will fit in your cabinet because you have a newly built home.”
My mom was correct, the 11.8 inch plates fit perfectly with room to spare. So let’s think about this. The increase in plate size encourages us to fill the entire plate with more food. I’m sure many of you grew up like I did, you could not leave the table until your entire plate was empty. My mother would constantly repeat, “Money does not grow on trees and you will not waste my food.” Cleaning your plate is habit that is hard to break even as adults. No matter the size of the plate we still hear our parents in our ears and subsequently we clean our large plates. These larger plates have added an additional 50 or more calories. With those 50 or so additional calories a plate, you can expect to gain 5-15 more pounds a year.
Using smaller plates is just one change you can make and so I offer these other habits to include on your quest for a more healthy diet.
1- Use small plates! Using smaller plates starts a chain reaction. When you use a small plate, you select smaller portions, and in turn take in fewer calories.
2- Eat your vegetables first! If you are following a proper meal plan, half of your plate should be filled with color correct? If you eat your nutrient and vitamin rich vegetables first, they will start to satisfy your hunger. When you move to the next portion of your meal, your “lean” protein you will start to become full. End with your Mac n Cheese or mashed potatoes (they don’t count as your veggies…I know some of y’all were going to try me, LOL) you will automatically eat less. By changing the sequence you eat the food on your “small” plate and by eating your vegetables first, you automatically bring nutritional balance to your diet.
3- Don’t put it in the basket! If you think your plates are the only thing that has gotten bigger look at the grocery carts. Retail knows the smaller the cart the less stuff you will buy. No one likes to see an empty grocery cart. I know that Doritos and Snickers along with Haagan Dazs Vanilla Swiss Almond ice cream are my vices so I dare not put them in my basket or else the ice cream will definitely be gone in one night. You must remove all temptations from your home. We are driven by convenience. If you don’t have any junk food in the house, you’re probably not going to run out and get it. So you’re stuck with the health food you filled your grocery cart with, right?
4- Stop waiting! For all of the parents or anyone who has taken care of a baby, how many bottles did you feed the baby in a day? Not 3, like the number of meals you feed yourself a day. And God forbid if you wait to feed the baby when they are starving your reward is a screaming baby. You anticipate when they will/should be ready for their next bottle and you feed them. So if you wait until you feel hunger, to eat, it is already too late and you more than likely will binge eat. You will literally go from starving to stuffed. Instead eat 5-6 small meals a day on small plates, that way you will never get hungry, your metabolism will increase and you will start to lose weight.
Healthy habits are learned, but they require you making a decision to make the changes. Change your plate size, change the order you eat the food on your plate, change your grocery shopping habits and for pete’s sake stop starving yourself. All of these changes along with a change in attitude will help you lose the weight.