I’ve been at this dieting thing for quite a while now. There are some indications that this may be the last time I lose weight. Here are some of the things that I find myself doing more naturally:
I keep in mind how a food will make me feel when I eat it. I know that too much of something could upset my stomach or make me feel sluggish. I know that overdoing carbs could make me sleepy or give me a headache. I know that a well-balanced meal of moderate portions feels much better than eating an oversized meal.
I am more likely to choose my meals á la carte at some restaurants. I know that restaurant portions tend to be large, and I plan to bring some of it home.
I now use smaller dishes when appropriate. I often use 9 inch luncheon plates to serve my dinner, and I use small 10 ounce bowls and sauce dishes to serve myself my cereal and snacks. (The standard size dinner plates in my Corelle set are 10 1/4 inches across. The cereal bowls that came with my set our 18 ounce. The 9 inch plates and 10 ounce bowls were purchased open stock at the Revere/Corning/Corelle outlet store. They don’t come with any of the sets.)
I have learned that I cannot deal with large packages of some snacks such as cookies or banana chips. I have decided that if I really want cookies, I will go to the convenience store and buy one of those individual serving packages. Sure, it costs more by weight, but I end up eating a whole lot less of it. As for the banana chips, one of the local stores sells those in bulk bins, so I can buy exactly the amount I think I can deal with.
I am very happy with these habits. These are the type of habits that will lead to a lifetime of healthy weight. Now if I could just get the fitness part of it established! I’ve started working on that. This month, I have been doing my T-Tapp workout most days.
I just received in the mail yesterday the wackiest weight-loss book I have ever seen: Our Lady of Weight Loss: Miraculous and Motivational Musings from the Patron Saint of Permanent Fat Removal by Janice Taylor. She had a weight problem all her life until one day she was sitting in a weight loss class thinking, “I’m never going to make it.” That’s when she heard The Voice. She said, “If you think you’re never going to make it, you never will.” From what I gather, this was a rather unusual experience for Janice. It did not seem from the way she had written this passage that she was in the habit of hearing voices. But she decided later that night to ask The Voice what she could do about her weight problem. The Voice said, “You’re an artist. Make weight loss an art project.” So that is what Janice did. Instead of eating cake, she made art out of it, and she lost weight. The Voice became Our Lady of Weight Loss. The book is illustrated with wacky images of the art she made while she lost the weight. There are also projects that the reader can do. The first is an altar to Our Lady of Weight Loss made out of a macaroni box and decorated with macaroni and glitter glue. There are Motivational Musings, Tasty Tidbits, Righteous Recipes, Weighty Confessions, and Prickly Prayers. Janice’s inspired ideas have the potential for making weight loss a lot of fun. The book is certainly visually appealing. It also includes sound dietary advice. If one is going to be obsessed with food, then making art out of it would certainly be better than eating it.
I had a few minutes before a meeting last week. As I got off the freeway, I spotted a Barnes and Noble bookstore. I went in and browsed. Since it was January and New Year’s resolution season, diet books were prominently displayed in the middle of the store. One of these caught my eye, The 9-Inch “Diet”: Exposing the Big Conspiracy in America by Alex Bogusky and Chuck Porter. The book was written by a man who bought a lake house built in the 1940s. He was putting things away in the kitchen and discovered that his plates would not fit into the cupboard. He did some research and found out that the average size of a dinner plate in the 1940s was 9 inches. These days, the size of an average dinner plate is closer to 12 inches. Using this fact as his inspiration, he decided to try using 9 inch dinner plates himself. He discovered that he was satisfied with much less food when he ate off of these 9 inch plates. He soon found himself losing weight, and that was the inspiration for the book.
This information about the 9 inch plates is not new to me. Brian Wansink wrote about it in his book, Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. Brian Wansink researches the eating habits of average Americans. His research led to the discovery that people will eat less when food is served in smaller dishes or containers.
We Americans seem to be in love with the idea that bigger is better. Americans eat out more than people in other countries with the exception of Japan. Restaurants have accustomed us to expecting large servings. Our plates have grown over the years, and so have our appetites and waistlines.
Large dishes seem to be a uniquely American phenomenon. I went to a Chinese house goods store in Los Angeles some time ago and noticed that the dishes that they sold were much smaller than I was used to seeing in a typical American store. I don’t often see Chinese people with a weight problem. After seeing their dishes, it’s no wonder why.
I’ve been using smaller dishes more and more myself. I have a large set of Corelle, much of which was purchased open stock. My set includes what they call luncheon plates. I measured them, and discovered that they are just about 9 inches wide. They are perfect for following a 9 inch plate diet. I also have in my set the small 10 ounce bowls. I find that the smaller size is perfect for the smaller portions I prefer. Of course, even the dinner plates in my set aren’t terribly big. They measured 10 ¼ inches across. That is quite a bit smaller than the 12 inches commonly found in stores today. In addition to my Corelle, I also have little sauce dishes. These work well for serving out nuts and dried fruit. I can vouch for the fact that eating from smaller dishes leads to eating less. It’s certainly working out that way for me.