Portion control is a simple, practical weight-loss strategy and, for this reason, it makes a lot of sense to a lot of people. Basically, the guiding principle is ‘don’t eat too much,’ and in a bid to make this an easier axiom to implement, nutritionists have developed a series of specialised ‘diet plates.’ However, whether you own one of these or not is, in the end, not that important. Anyone can practice portion control, and it’s as easy as downsizing your crockery. Research has shown that we serve ourselves according to the size of the tableware we use, so naturally, if we’re eating from a platter, we’ll be eating too much. I’ve done some research into what is becoming a global weight loss trend and compiled a list of reasons to start using a smaller plate.
Over time, standard portion size has slowly increased, especially in pre-packaged foods. Items that would have been considered enormous ten or twenty years ago now look pretty average to many of us, and this has lead, naturally, to overeating. In short, super-sized servings have become ‘standard’ and the small plate, carrying less food can help to redress this imbalance.
Making the change to a smaller plate requires that you start to consider what you’re putting into your body. It’s a short step from downsizing portions to downsizing fat content, for example, so that after a few weeks, you’ll find yourself firmly on the path to a healthier diet and lifestyle.
As mentioned, ideal and actual portions are not, unfortunately, one and the same. For example, nutritionists tell us that a single serving of pasta should fill the wrapper of a cup cake, but as I’m sure I don’t need to point out, most of us are getting more than that in one sitting. While this amount might look tiny on a ‘normal’ big plate, it looks pretty okay on a small one. In this way, downsizing your crockery helps to make the ‘ideal’ portion appear ordinary, and if you think about, that’s pretty much the goal of the diet.
Many diets place certain things off limits and this, while effective, can be difficult to maintain. If mashed potato is, for example, strictly struck from the menu, we often find that it’s the only thing we want. Cravings are a part of every dieter’s daily life, and, of course, they can be overcome. There’s no denying, however, that they’re also the reason a lot of us fall of the wagon, so to speak. The small plate strategy helps to navigate around this, the pitfall of all pitfalls, since it doesn’t veto anything; you can eat what you like, but not too much of it.
If you lead a busy life, and most of us do, you’ll know that weighing foods and calculating calories are simply too time consuming to be feasible. Switching to a smaller plate doesn’t require any of this fuss, however: you just cook your meal and serve it on the downsized crockery.
If you go out, buy a set of 9” plates and make a rule that you’ll use them, the chances are pretty good that you actually will. Unlike swearing off chocolate or avoiding starch, it takes no will power to serve your dinner on a smaller surface.
Just as your body comes to expect enormous meals, so it will get used to eating less. This process of habituation will happen more quickly than you might imagine. Downsizing dieters suggest that after a week or so of the smaller plates, you’ll stop noticing the change.
The downsized portion has been around for a while now as a slimming strategy and it has a lot of people completely sold. It’s an effective antidote to oversized portions, helping dieters to correct the size of their servings, and this seems to be its most valuable function. Calling a halt to overeating is both a great first step on the path to a healthier lifestyle, and the key to the way in which using a smaller plate helps you to lose weight; what are your thoughts? Do you have any contributions to make?
Top Photo Credit: gifrancis
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