Mission Accomplished! Portion Control Revisited

It has now been a week since I set myself the task of controlling my dinner portions and serving sizes.  In order to do this I decided to eat from an 8 inch plate, which is only half an inch bigger than the plates that were used in the 18th Century, and 3 inches smaller than my usual 11 inch dinner plate.  It is important to note that a 3 inch increase in the diameter of a plate, for example from 8 inches to 11 inches, creates 50% more space for food, and in turn 50% more calories.

I can honestly say that I have not been hungry throughout the week, which makes me wonder why I would usually eat so much more food at dinner time.  One of the reasons could be explained as being psychological, as children we are always told to finish what is on our plates.  We carry this into adulthood and usually just continue eating until the plate is clean, regardless of the fact that we may be full before this happens.

Another reason is that when sharing dinner out, we like to fill most of the plate.  I am sure that everyone has had the experience of being in a restaurant, having your main course delivered, and wondering if the chef forgot to put the rest of it on the plate!  I have been in this situation and thought that I will till e hungry once I had finished, but I was surprisingly satisfied.  The point is that people do not tend to share out a dinner that only takes up a fraction of the plate at home, even though it may be sufficient.  By using a smaller plate the problem is solved because you can fill up your plate, finish everything on your plate if you choose, and yet you will still have had a smaller portion than usual and consumed fewer calories.

The hardest part of this challenge was the amount of food that was left in the pot each evening, I wanted to continue filling my plate just to reduce the amount of leftovers, which is not good.  I realise now that I cook too much food in the first place and in future I am going to cook smaller quantities.  Another important lesson that I learned was the importance of well spaced meals and having healthy snacks handy.  If I had skipped lunch for example, there is no way that I would consider going home and eating from an 8 inch plate as I would be too hungry.  I have discussed the importance of not skipping meals in more depth in a previous post 10 Things You Need to Know About Losing Weight.

This week has been interesting and has taught me that I can be satisfied with much smaller portions than I would usually have.  Whilst I do not choose to continue to eat from an 8 inch plate, doing so for the week has made me much more conscious of my portion sizes and I intend to keep it that way.

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