1. Find your 8″ plates. Clean the dust off them, dig them out of the basement, or wherever you last saw them. Now before you start heaping mounds of that delicious supper on them; stop for a moment. Contemplate the plate, hold it in front of you… be the plate. Say to yourself “I can do this.”
Envision a horizontal line going across the middle, and then a shorter line perpindicular to this one, but stopping in the center. No food can cross these lines. It is electrified, an invisible force field, an inpenetrable boundary. Do not cross them.
2. You may now approach your food. The “zones” that you just mentally created are where you are going to put the food. The two small areas are for the smaller portions. One is for Green Vegetables and the other is for foods high in Carbohydrates or starchy things. “A carbo-what?” Carbohydrates (or “carbs”) are mostly things made from a processed grain, like wheat or rice, but also includes potatoes, yams, and carrots. Breads, rice, pasta or noodles fall into this category.
3. The second small zone is for Green Vegetables. So green beans, spinach, your salad, broccoli, peas, etc, would go here. Why the green stuff? Because it’s lower in calories per volume, compared to the carbs, but also they’re also cheap too. And prepared right, they’re a good source of vitamins and trace minerals. Steamed or lightly grilled are best. Boiling will leach away much of the nutrients. Blanching (a very brief immersion in boiling water) is somewhere in between.
4. The big zone is for your protein. In a typical American diet, meat is often the centerpiece of the meal. Whether it’s chicken, steak, ham, or whatever, if it’s part of an animal- it goes here. Eggs and tofu would also go here. Proteins take longer for your digestive system to break down, and they give you a sense of being more full for a longer period of time.
Still listen to the little voice in your head, keep it lean. No creamy sauces, nothing fried, no breading. Baked is good. If it has a sauce, put only one Tablespoon on it. That’s it.
5. So now you have your plate in front of you and you’re ready to sit down and enjoy your meal. That means enjoy it….S-L-O-W-L-Y. Don’t just hork it down like some kind of ravenous ice-age beast. Slow means slow. Chew your food. Put your fork down between bites.
Is this some kind of meditative process? Sure. But going slowly allows time for your stomach to go into digestion mode, which turns down the hunger switch, and this takes time. People get into trouble because they eat and eat without giving time for this process to work, and you end up piling up the calories before you realize you are full. Give it time.
6. Now contemplate your empty plate again. Thank the plate for helping you. Feel yourself becoming full. Allow any residual hunger twinges to fade away. Put the plate back in the sink or the dishwasher (this way you are less tempted to go back for seconds.) Tell yourself that you did a good job and you’re going to do it again next time.