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Small Dish

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Here's another principle from Brian Wansink's research in the book Mindless Eating:

Using a larger plate or bowl influences me to serve more. Even nutrition science professionals were fooled by this illusion. (p. 66)

At an ice-cream social where distinguished professors and PhD students did not know an experiment was underway, they were given either 17-oz medium size bowls or 34-ounce larger bowls to serve themselves as much as they wanted from four different kinds of ice cream. Serving scoop size also varied. Everything was filmed.

"Surely our guests wouldn't be affected by something as mundane as the size of the bowls and the scoops? They think, sleep, lecture, study and eat nutrition. They've written hundreds of top-level research papers on nutrition."

"None of that mattered. Those who were given the huge bowls dished out huge amounts. In fact, they dished out 31 percent more--127 more calories' worth of ice cream. It only makes things worse if you give them a big scoop. People with a large bowl and a three-ounce scoop dished out 57 percent more ice cream than those given a smaller bowl and a smaller scoop."

Wansink says MOST of our feeling of having had enough comes from our perception of how much we got, not from stomach signals or our satiety mechanisms. Over and over studies show that we think we got more if we're looking at it on a smaller dish. Larger dishes result in people consistently UNDERESTIMATING how many calories they're getting.

A large dish causes me to take more. A large dish causes me to think I had less and feel less satisfied. I'm going to use these simple adjustments to my advantage!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALECIA0823 3/21/2011 8:20PM

    What an interesting study! I too, usually set the table with smaller salad plates instead of the larger dinner plates, which helps. I also try to picture my plate divided into quarters, and half is fruits and veggies, 1/4 is protein and 1/4 is carbs.

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MAMASUDS 3/21/2011 3:32AM

    Thanks for the reminder.

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WARMSPRINGDAY 3/20/2011 9:10PM

    Very true. emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/20/2011 9:10:29 PM

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WATERMELLEN 3/20/2011 7:08PM

    It's interesting to look at 1950s "juice glasses" (about 4 oz) or remember the old single serving green glass Coke bottles (about 6 oz).

But it's not just at restaurants. The size of home serving plates has expanded enormously -- and our rear ends to match!!

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TRAVELGRRL 3/20/2011 5:29PM

    I have heard this advice a lot but it's time I definitely took it. I like thefirstday's renaming idea. I'm going to try that today!

PS - Love the new springy background!

Comment edited on: 3/20/2011 5:29:40 PM

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TEACHINMOM 3/20/2011 5:14PM

    I bought myself a "Mom's special" plate. It's much smaller than our regular dinner plates and it really did help me think I'd had plenty!! Way to adjust!!

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    Hey Freelady, here I am catching up with you and reading your last few blogs. You have it goin' on right now in a big, big way. You are taking control, inspiring others, applying new techniques and passing on great thoughts. Thanks for that and congrats on the 5K church run. That accomplishment will give so many that wonderful, inspriational, I can do anything pride when they finish. Yes! Yes we can.

I'm off to research the Pose method. I think that is my shuffle, shuffle low impact method of saving my knees as I run. emoticon

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GMASANDIE 3/20/2011 3:36PM

    I have used a seven inch luncheon plate for years. It helps as long as I don't have (that is rare) It is just the right size. I am for anything taht helps! Have a grfeat evening! Thanks for sharing!

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THEFIRSTDAY 3/20/2011 3:15PM

    I've renamed my plates. The big round plate is now the "salad plate" and the small plate is now called the "dinner plate". That helps me keep a better focus on what I want my meal to look like.

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You Can 5K

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Today our workout leader told the group that the church's Fit & Healthy program will be sponsoring a 5K in late May. Looking around, I saw stunned faces and worried looks. We are not typical gym rats. Many never exercised regularly before this group experience.

I told them they could absolutely do this. I told them they had time to train. I told them they could walk it in an hour today, which would be just a girlfriends' chatty stroll. So all we gotta do is start improving our time!

They were intrigued to hear about SP's Couch to 5K training. They started looking less panicked (many are local Biggest Loser participants who are basically required to do the 5K). SparkPeople has so many instant resources to pass on!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HSMOM2FOUR 3/20/2011 5:36PM

    Great advice! Sounds like it will be fun to do it all together!

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CYCLINGSANDY 3/20/2011 2:29PM

    You were great to encourage others in making a 5k a reality.
Keep it up!

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NANCY- 3/20/2011 11:53AM

    How sweet of you to offer your insight and encouragement, Having a path to follow makes things doable.
Thanks for posting this, it reminds me that "it" can be done.

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TRAVELGRRL 3/20/2011 10:06AM

    Watermellen, I'm going to look up POSE. You are a font of wisdom even on someone else's blog!

FL, you told those ladies just the right thing. A 5K is a WONDERFUL start, and once they do ONE they will be hooked! The "racing" experience is such a rush, and everyone roots for EVERYONE no matter how old, how slow, how out of shape. Also, I did not know that SP had a couch to 5K!! Are you going to walk the 5K or run? I'm not interesting in running (WAY to much work) but I would walk to the moon and back!

Let us know how the training goes!

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WATERMELLEN 3/20/2011 9:46AM

    They might also like to take a look at the POSE running technique: short stride, rapid cadence, midfoot landing. All helps reduce injuries.

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Sports Banquet Strategy

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thanks to Beck Diet Solution, I planned ahead for tonight's sports banquet and I'm giving myself credit for following my food plan. I feel good about staying within 100 calories of my prescribed range for the day's total.

I kept reaching into Beck's "toolbox" of techniques, so that I could really enjoy this special dinner without a setback to my goals.

- Anticipate the menu and mentally practice food selection. I started last night, thinking through each part of the evening. I knew we would go through a buffet line and serve ourselves from a catered entree and bread, plus pick from "potluck" carried-in side dishes, and be offered overwhelming potluck desserts. I planned to skip the entree, because my experience has been that it's not that good. I planned to skip the bread, because I can buy bread another day. I planned to skip the beverages, because my enjoyment in that category doesn't justify the calorie expense. I planned to carefully choose from the homemade salads and cooked vegetables, which I really, really love. I planned to carefully choose from the homemade desserts and ignore store-bought desserts.

- Mentally practice portion control. I rehearsed drinking a lot of water, eating a lot of salad first, being deliberate in serving myself the vegetable dishes, and practicing rigorous triage to determine which desserts would be truly enjoyable and satisfying.

- Eat light all day, with adequate protein, to budget calories for the special occasion. I had a 2-egg veggie omelet & green tea for breakfast and greek yogurt for lunch. I was waiting for the good stuff!

- Eat a small snack before the event so you don't show up ravenous and jeopardize self-control. I had some nuts an hour before we left. I felt hungry enough to really enjoy it, but not desperate. (Dr. Beck is trying to convince me that hunger is not an emergency, but I'm a tough sell, so I hedge my bets!)

- Commit to one plate, no seconds. Dessert takes a small plate. I adhered to this. Woo hoo!

- Remember your goals and your reasons to lose weight. I picture getting ready for the sports banquet a year from now, easily finding something to wear because I am slim and trim. Next year the season-ending video which shows me keeping score at the central table will not make me cringe.

- Measure portions. I consciously took lots of two kinds of raw veggie/green salad, 1/2 cup of cheesy potato casserole, and 1/2 cup of bean casserole. From lots of practice measuring at home, I knew what 1/2 cup looks like. I greatly enjoyed this delicious meal with no guilt.

- Take and toss. I chose a moderate square of a dessert bar which wasn't delicious. One bite revealed it wasn't worth it. I discreetly put it in the trash. I took a reasonable portion of an extravagant trifle which I would never make myself; it was phenomenal. I took a small portion of an elaborate chocolate creation which was delightful. I feel good about these choices.

- Stop before you're stuffed. I began to feel full when I still had several bites of casserole left. Because I didn't feel deprived over-all, I was able to push the plate away and cease eating. Hooray!

- Use distance to your advantage. I pushed the not-quite-empty plate out of my reach until the table was cleared, so I didn't mindlessly nibble on the remains.

- Finesse food pushers. My friend graciously brought all of us large cups of festive punch. I enthusiastically thanked her and clung to it until I could privately hand it off to my daughter who hadn't had any yet. Not worth the calories to me. I'd rather chew my calories.

- Distract yourself. As the evening wore long, I felt a pull toward the dessert table to graze. I perceived that I was not hungry, and I discerned that I had objectively had enough, so I walked the other direction and found someone to talk to.

Surprisingly, it was fun strategizing to meet this challenge. It was rewarding to pull off a healthy outcome while genuinely enjoying the meal. I felt in control and made deliberate choices, so I didn't feel deprived.

All of you SparkFriends have effectively and compassionately coached me to "know the plays" and win tonight. Dr. Judith Beck wrote the manual for practical strategies at every turn. And my Creator, the Eternal One, is ever faithful. I am a grateful girl tonight.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUNEBUGG02 3/21/2011 4:49PM

  That is such an encouragement and you are to be commended! Indeed you should give yourself an enormous amount of credit for all that planning and for following through. Kudos!

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MAMASUDS 3/21/2011 3:21AM

    I stand in awe! Thanks for sharing. I will print this and reference to it the next time I have a buffet coming up. Great job!

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WATERMELLEN 3/20/2011 3:02PM

    Wow!! You are BRILLIANT and absolutely deserve to give yourself credit. Great planning, and great follow through with the choices and the distraction once you'd had enough! Beck lives: inside your head!!

That visualizing how you'll look next year at this banquet was just (if you'll pardon the metaphor) icing on the cake!!

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TRAVELGRRL 3/20/2011 10:12AM

    EVERYTHING you said resonates with me; you did a great job! Your "rational" self was sitting on your shoulder, consciously evaluating every minute of the evening, providing "real" commentary. The "irrational" self was SILENCED! (You know, "I deserve this, it's a special event, etc. etc. etc.)

Congratulations, I certainly know what a big victory this is!!!!


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NANCY- 3/19/2011 9:52AM

    WTG on using your tools. Using the tools from Dr. Beck does empower us, your blog shows it so well.
There is nothing like successfully practicing what we have learned.
Oh what a wonderful feeling!!!

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WARMSPRINGDAY 3/19/2011 8:12AM


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JIBBIE49 3/19/2011 12:45AM

    I love the "BECK Diet Solution". Thanks, Judith Beck, PhD emoticon

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Make it Work in Your Favor

Friday, March 18, 2011

Brian Wansink is a food lab director. His premise is that many factors constantly cause me to be mistaken or deceived about how many calories I'm taking in. Some factors are behavioral or environmental; others come from someone trying to sell me more. In his book Mindless Eating he tells how to make these unconscious factors work in my favor.

"Hidden persuaders around us influence how much we eat and how much we enjoy it. Marketers already know what you read in this book, and they use it relentlessly so that you buy their hamburgers instead of their competitors'."Awareness can help these principles work in your favor.

Wansink discusses "How to remove the cues that cause you to overeat, and how to re-engineer your kitchen and your habits."

For example, the universal advice to plate your food and plate every snack has very sound scientific research behind it. "When people preplate their food, they eat about 14% less than when they take smaller amounts and go back for seconds." p. 56

I have checked this book out from the library 3 times, plus borrowed the audio CDs, which are very well done. You won't fall asleep listening . . . I found it riveting.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAMASUDS 3/21/2011 3:11AM

    Thanks for sharing. Please keep it up. Since I don't have a lending library to access, I am gleaning from you.
I started plating our food when our kids were little. It saved money and ensured that each child was getting a balanced me, not to mention saving me stress once we sat down at the table. It is good to know that it is good for the wasteline as well.

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JIBBIE49 3/19/2011 12:46AM


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BIGLITTLEWOMAN 3/18/2011 11:04PM

    Perfect timing as I'll be returning books to the library in the next couple of days. I'll make sure to check for this author. I like the audios, I find them more motivating than the read.

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WATERMELLEN 3/18/2011 6:12PM

    I've added "Mindless Eating" to my list too -- sounds very helpful.

And thank you for the gym clothes -- I'll be heading there tomorrow morning!!

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WARMSPRINGDAY 3/18/2011 5:05PM

    Sounds good. I'll put it on my list, although my list is longer than I can handle at the moment.

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JSPEED4 3/18/2011 11:22AM


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CHANLSURFR 3/18/2011 9:28AM

    Interesting. I'll have to try that book out. Thanks!

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NANCY- 3/18/2011 8:29AM

    Interesting info. He helped me set up rules that help me get through potential pitfalls. I loved the soup experiment and equate it with a buffet. If I have a plan it is easier to decide to follow it.
Keep Sparking!!!!

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

I have been thinking a lot about Dr. Beck's "NO CHOICE" technique in the Beck Diet Solution. The idea is that I have ALREADY made a choice, to stay with my food plan, and thus no decision remains to be made.

Lately what helps is to tell myself, "That is irrelevant to me." My youngest left several yummy leftovers from her snack RIGHT BESIDE ME. Grimace of self-pity. I caught sight of it from the corner of my eye, looked away and told myself "Irrelevant. That food is irrelevant to me." Thank you, Lord, I got busy with something else. But I didn't linger over a decision, which is what often sinks me.

One place I have to go a lot has a very alluring coffee bar with treats. For a while I'm pretending it's a shoe repair booth. Not relevant to me. I don't even need to feel interested.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAMASUDS 3/21/2011 3:07AM

    I used your strategy of "irrelevant" this weekend. Thanks! It works wonderfully for chocolate covered peanuts.

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MLROBINSON 3/19/2011 10:16AM


I love that! Thanks for sharing it. I needed it today.

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JIBBIE49 3/19/2011 12:46AM


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BLUESKY_321 3/18/2011 11:02AM

    Love this! Thanks for sharing and giving me a new tool to use!

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NANCY- 3/18/2011 8:18AM

    Using that resistance muscle will become easier with practice and time.
You Rock!!!

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LILYBETHSMOM 3/17/2011 8:05PM

    That really is a very helpful tip. It can be so hard when you have a house full of people eating whatever they want and you're sitting there trying to make healthy choices. I finally decided to make my own cupboard. That way, when I'm doing my late night snack rummage, I won't come across any bad food choices. I even went so far as to make my own freezer! But what can I say???? It really does work!

Blessings & Healthy Eating!

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WATERMELLEN 3/17/2011 6:21PM

    THIS IS SO CLEVER!! I can just imagine myself saying, "Totally irrelevant!" "Not even on my radar." "That decision has already been made, actually: not interested."


I don't do doughnuts.

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MAMASUDS 3/17/2011 4:03PM

    Wow! A shoe repair booth. I will need to remember that one. As I type, my daughter left a really yummy looking hot cross bun beside my computer and I was contemplating if I should eat it or not. Thanks! Now it is just a paperweight - or atleast it will be by the time she gets up in the morning. Ha!
Way to hang in there. Congratulations on staying in range.

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