Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mind tricks and portion control

Every so often I watch something on TV and because of TIVO, I can go back and re-watch it over and over until I’m sure I really “got it.” Yesterday, I took it one step further. I replayed a segment of the Today Show and took notes so I could share them with you. Then, it dawned on me that I would probably be able to find an article on the show’s website which I could reprint for so you’d know the whole story. I did, and it’s coming up below.

At our Weight Watchers meetings, we have been preparing for the holiday season by looking for ways to exercise more control over ourselves when confronted with…food. Yesterday’s Today Show featured eight portion control “tricks” and some of them were fascinating because they are based on research studies with eaters. My favorite is the serving dish one, and you can’t tell me that you won’t be buying ceramic bowls after reading it.

Today was weigh-in day. Another .4 pounds gone, for a total of 12.6 pounds in 10 weeks. Alex couldn’t join me today as he has gone on vacation to New York and Boston for the holiday. I did, however, have a great volunteer step up and walk the three miles with me to and from the meeting. Thanks to my supportive husband for making the journey.

Check out the article!

Talk to you soon.

Resist the temptation! 8 portion control tricks
Fool yourself into eating lots less by simply downsizing your table setting
By Blake Miller

Kids are told to clean their plates at every meal, so it's no wonder they grow into adults who feel compelled to finish whatever's in front of them. Breaking that habit can be next to impossible — but you don't necessarily have to in order to lose a few pounds. Switching up your plates, silverware, and even centerpieces (we're serious) can let you polish off every last morsel without having to let out your entire wardrobe.

Keep them saucer-size (about six inches in diameter). Yes, it might feel a little "Alice in Wonderland," but in a Cornell University study, people who ate hamburgers off of saucers believed they were eating an average of 18 percent more calories than they really were. People who ate off of 12-inch-diameter dishes, on the other hand, had no such delusion.

Research shows that the bigger the bowl, the more you'll stuff into it. So stick with small ones, or use a teacup or a mug for foods you tend to gulp down, like cereal and ice cream. Save the giant bowls for salad and broth-based soups so you can fill up on fewer calories.

According to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research, adults pour about 19 percent more liquid into short, wide glasses than they do into tall tumblers. This may be because our brains tend to focus more on an object's height than its width, so short glasses don't appear quite as full.

Stick with teaspoons, even to load up your plate. Another Cornell study found that people who used three-ounce serving spoons shoveled out nearly 15 percent more food than those who scooped using smaller two-ounce spoons.

Serving dishes
In studies, people ate as much as 56 percent more when they served themselves from a one-gallon bowl than they did from a half-gallon one. You can also hedge your bets by choosing ceramic over glass: One study in the International Journal of Obesity found that women ate 71 percent more out of transparent containers than they did out of dishes they couldn't see through.

Skip them, or blow them out right after the salad course. When the lighting is dim, people linger over their food more, which can lead to overeating, says Brian Wansink, Ph. D., director of Cornell's Food and Brand Lab.

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