Think of your last 24 hours of eating. Were you mindful? Did you know that if you eat only from a plate, it can increase your awareness AND help you eat less– all while enjoying your food more! These tips will help you get started today!
The kitchen drive-by. Are you familiar with it? You’re walking past the fridge and you grab a few grapes. Your child is snacking and you snag a few handfuls here and there. It’s lunchtime and somehow you’ve forgotten to prepare a plate for yourself. You graze, you grab.
Take a moment and think of your last 24 hours of eating. Did those hours include any eating done standing, driving, or in a kitchen drive-by? What percentage of that food was eaten from a plate, sitting at a table?
Really think about it and try to give it a number.
If you discover that some, or even most of your food, was eaten without the added awareness that sitting down to an intentional meal can offer, you have something to get excited about!
In this simple change series, I’ve touched on the biggest problem with diets and how you can get diet help. Then, last week we discussed one habit-based skill that could make a marked difference in your health and weight loss while remaining incredibly practical at the same time- healthy menu planning.
This week we are going to chat about the second of four topics- Eating only from a plate (or bowl, or cup, etc. You get the idea).
If you are looking for a way to reduce your overall food intake without decreasing your enjoyment, this habit is for you.
How enjoyable were those chips grabbed between board meetings or diaper changes or those M&M’s popped in your mouth while catching up on Facebook? No doubt they tasted good, but could they have been more enjoyable?
What if you had them with your lunch?– Knowing that you had planned for them, you were able to taste them, own them, and enjoy the heck out of them all while kicking guilt to the curb.
By choosing to eat only from a plate, we’re not saying “no” to all the tasty things around us. Rather, we are simply saying “not now.”
Even whole foods like fruit and nuts that are eaten on the run can bump up your overall calorie intake without delivering the satisfaction that comes from a well thought out meal or snack. You’re getting calories but your brain is not getting the message.
Imagine how this habit could lead to unwanted weight or stalled weight loss!
If the idea of cutting out all of your un-plated eats sounds overwhelming, take a breath. There is progress to be made and it doesn’t have to be all at once.
Think about your day.
What times of day are easy for you to stick to more intentional eating?
What times do you feel less in control?
Is there one window of time in your day that you can focus on?
Let’s say that you rarely nibble in the morning hours. If you are feeling hesitant, this is a great place to start. We love easy wins because easy wins can build confidence and help you develop your own strategies.
Once you know how to bypass those infrequent bites, you’ll be better prepared to tackle the more challenging times.
Or maybe your “just right” is a moderately challenging time. It sounds a little bit uncomfortable but something that you feel confident you can manage. Middle ground it is!
On the other hand, you may decide that honing in on the time that is most challenging is exciting to you and you are stoked to make some headway now. Equally awesome, start there.
Once you have a plan in hand, here are a few tips to help with implementation. Try one, try all. This is your show.
MAKE EATING ONLY FROM A PLATE EASIER
Here are 5 tips to make your transition easy and even fun. Scan the list below and choose one that resonates with you.
1. GET A PLATE YOU LOVE
Yes, you may have a set of perfectly matched dishes already, but shopping for your own 8 or 9-inch plate at TJ Maxx is the equivalent of a child getting a new backpack before heading back to school.
It’s just fun and it starts this new venture out on a high note. Smaller plates help us feel more satisfied with smaller portions, so you may as well stack the cards (or plates) in your favor!
2. TRY ON SOME TRAINING WHEELS
If you find yourself reaching for food during a lull or during food prep, consider chewing some gum or sipping on some tasty tea.
It’s ok to replace the nibble urge with an alternative behavior. Other activities that involve your hands may help, too, if this urge hits during downtime.
3. KNOW YOUR WHY
Our brains are pretty persistent at maintaining habits, like it or not. By being ultra familiar with why you are eating only from a plate, you’ll have a reason to press past the first automatic reaches.
Please don’t do this just because I said so. It is important to see the value for yourself. This habit is still my biggest challenge, and the reason that I strive for this is that I like the way it feels to eat my food with a presence of mind.
Picking during food prep and sitting down to a meal already full is a complete bummer. The bits eaten were not enjoyed and then neither was the meal. It’s a lose-lose.
This is also a smart way to cut out calories that may not be serving us. You could see a dramatic reduction in your intake without a lot of fanfare.
4. EMBRACE IMPERFECTION
Sorry, if you haven’t realized it yet, you are human. Humans aren’t perfect; you are not perfect. Let’s take away the pressure to do this perfectly and focus on doing your best. Your best on any given day will depend on your preparedness, sleep, schedule, and so on.
Allow yourself to be human and you’ll enjoy this process a lot more. Don’t let a couple of slips (that really don’t matter) frustrate you and lead to poor food choices.
There will be times that you don’t eat only from a plate and that’s a-ok!
5. EMBRACE “NOT NOW”
I cannot emphasize this tip enough. Let’s say that you are faced with the leftover birthday cake in the break room and your first inclination is to shave off an undetectable sliver to pacify the urge to eat- remind yourself “not now.”
If that cake is worth eating, it’s worth getting a plate and eating it with purpose. And, if you like, box up what you are hankering for and set it aside for your next meal.
This habit is the opposite of deprivation. Food eaten and enjoyed with your presence of mind is far more enjoyable than that scarfed down in a hot second.
READY TO EAT ONLY FROM A PLATE?
If you are looking to improve your eating habits but don’t know where to start, isolating your meals and snacks to a plate at a table is a great place to start. By focusing on this shift, you will be setting yourself up for an enjoyable time of eating with a clear start and end to your meal service.
Picking does little to satisfy, while forks and knives that slow us down and bring attention to the task at hand increase satisfaction.
It’s worth a shot. And, hey, if you don’t like it, you can always go back to the kitchen drive-by!
SEE ALL THE EMAILS IN THIS SERIES:
- The Biggest Problem With Diets and How to Solve It
- How to Create a Healthy Menu Plan from Scratch
- Are You Missing this Surprisingly Simple Diet Tip?
- How to Start Eating Slowly in 3 Easy Steps
- How to Eat Better Without Making Yourself Crazy
Brandice Lardner is a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, Author, and Jesus Girl whose mission in life is to help women ditch the diet mentality and find peace with food and their bodies so that they are better equipped to do the great things God has called them to do.