Small Plates. Big Food.
Put a lot of food on a small plate and it’s supposed to look like more. To me, small plates with big food look like just what they are: Not enough.
I had seven more pounds to go before reaching my Weight Watcher’s goal the last time I reported in to you. The road has been rocky but I’ve managed to lose three more pounds. Now there are four more to go. And I’m so very weak.
Back pressed against the wall of defeat, I need a plan. Giving up is not an option, after spending $40 a month and taking five years to lose 90 pounds. This time, I’m determined to hit that goal and stay there.
I’ve never lost this much weight, or been this close to goal before. So, it’s new territory for me.
To make goal in Weight Watchers means I have to reach and stay at a designated weight for six weeks. The rewards: Clothes that fit very well; a sense of accomplishment, improved chances for longevity and good health; a general sense of well-being; and a Lifetime membership in Weight Watchers, meaning that I can attend meetings for free as long as I’m not more than two pounds away from the magic number.
Maintaining that weight loss means I have to be accountable. I have to go to meetings and weigh in. I have to watch as someone notes my success or failure on a document, measured in pounds and ounces. I have to deal with the consequences.
Indeed my lifestyle has changed. I no longer stop haphazardly at fast food restaurants, littering my car with errant French fries and burger crumbs. Forays to Ledo’s Pizza are few and far in between. (But bacon, sausage and pepperoni pizzas will always be part of my life, however small.) Still, I think about food all the time. If I know I’m going to be out all day without a scheduled lunch break, I pack a bag with ‘legal’ food.
My thoughts about what and when to eat now include a caveat. I read labels and count fat, carbohydrates, protein and fiber. I’m always plotting my next ‘legal’ meal; comparing what my taste buds desire to what the Weight Watcher’s plan requires. Popcorn as tonight’s snack, another power bar, or an orange?
Healthy portion size is key. I’ve heard the suggestion that using a smaller plate is helpful as a trompe l’oeil, or trick of the eye. A little plate will seem to hold more food.
Most American dinner plates are 10 – 11 inches in diameter. Fill that up with meats, carbohydrates and vegetables and, in most cases, there’s enough food for two, three or four people depending upon whose advice you’re taking.
Small plates might work for others, but I look at a small plate and I see a small plate. My stomach growls and I have to think again.
So, I tried another tact. Using a normal dinner plate, an all-American 10-11 inches in diameter, I fill it up with weight-watching panache.
Three-quarters of the plate is filled with vegetables, which count as zero on my plan. They are cooked in olive oil and tossed with a variety of spices and usually roasted, grilled, or stir-fried. The rest: Meat, starch, whatever, is consigned to one-quarter of the plate.
I fill up a big plate, you see, with low-calorie, or no-calorie food. Big Plate. Small Food.
The remaining space holds proteins and/or carbohydrates, the higher calorie side of nutrition. I may not eat it all, but if I do, it’s with guilt free abandon.
We’ll see where that takes me.