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For weight control, consider a smaller plate

We all fret about managing our weight during the holidays. But keeping our waistlines in check throughout this festive, food-filled season -- and beyond -- could be as simple as swapping our gigantic 21st-century dinner plates for the dainty 9-inch versions of yore.

That's the premise of The 9-Inch "Diet" book, in which author Alex Bogusky argues that if we could manage to make our entire meal fit on a smaller plate, we'd automatically, and painlessly, cut back on the number of calories we consume. The idea (which I write about in this week's "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy" column) is not entirely original: Bogusky acknowledges the research of Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating (whom I feature in an upcoming "Eat, Drink" column), whose pioneering research demonstrates the ways in which tiny environmental cues affect our food choices and consumption.

The fascinating thing is that we're all so clueless about those cues and the way we are subconsciously manipulated by them. Bogusky calls for us to rebel against our cluelessness by investing in 9-inch plates of our own, replacing the gargantuan plates in our cupboards, and thus taking control over how much we eat. The beauty of this non-diet "diet" plan is that it accommodates any style of eating, from Atkins to vegan and everything in between. As long as it fits (no piling on, please!), it's legit.

So, this holiday season, I invite you to heed Bogusky's call. Find yourself some 9-inch plates. You might have some of Grandma's china in the attic; those plates are undoubtedly small; otherwise go shopping for what are now called "salad plates. Then use them.

I also invite you to show off your 9-inch-plate beauties: Snap a photo of your holiday meal perched on a little plate, and send it to me at checkup@washpost.com. They could be used in a follow-up post on the 9-inch-plate revolution.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  |  November 24, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Nutrition and Fitness , Obesity  
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Next: Hold the salt on that turkey

Comments

My doctor tells me I need to eat more salt to increase my sodium; yet, I have hypertension. Does this make any sense to you? Please advise.

Posted by: AmericanInterestsFirstandLast | November 25, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

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