Day 18--Downsize Your Plate

Welcome to Day 18!

Today was your first day driving your moon buggy around the Moon. What a rush!

All your training mates were fighting over who got the biggest buggy. You didn’t want the drama, so you just took the smallest buggy, and took off to explore. Little did you know that—bigger isn’t always better!

Those bigger buggys were hard to steer and to keep them upright. Your buggy was agile and energetic—it was just enough buggy for you. You can’t wait for your next buggy trip.


Using a Smaller Plate

Everyone knows that to lose weight, you have to eat less. But, your Assistant doesn't want to eat less. She hates being hungry. 

The strategies of using smaller plates trick the Assistant to eat less without noticing. When you use small plates, you eat less, but you'll feel as if you ate a bigger portion off a bigger plate.  

Downsize Everything

You'll want to downsize your plates, but don't stop there. Also, downsize your plates, bowls, silverware, cups, and serving ware.

By switching to petite versions of dinnerware, you'll be cued to eat less without using up any of your precious willpower. And, miraculously, you'll feel just as full as if you ate the jumbo sized meal.

Treva’s Axiom

It all boils down to Treva’s AXIOM— The smaller your dinnerware, the smaller the portion served. The smaller the portion, the less you will eat, but you'll still stay satisfied.


Whatever You’re Served, Is Right

People believe that whatever portion they’re served is the "right" portion size. Portion size is SO important because 92% of us will eat whatever portion we're served. And plate size is a visual cue that suggests what is a normal portion to eat. 

However, our standard dinner plate size is NOT what a typical portion should be. Over the past several decades, our dinner plates keep getting larger and larger.

When I surveyed Ebay to look at dinner plate sizes over the years, I saw this…In the 1930’s the plates were roughly 9”. In the 1950’s, plate size was 9 1/2"- 10”. In the 1980’s 10” -11” was pretty standard. Fast forward to the 2000’s and you will find plates that are 10 1/2" to 12”—Big enough to be serving platters on our grandmothers' tables.

When you are deciding how much to eat, your Assistant does some tricky mental gymnastics, looks at the food, determines how filling it is, and estimates how much to put on your plate to satisfy you. 

The Assistant is looking at the volume of the food--how much space it takes up to decide if that is enough food.

When your plate is small, a small amount of food looks like a lot more. Your brain is tricked, but so is your stomach. It’s an optical illusion, that if you don’t get right, you will eat more unknowingly and gain weight.

Dinner Plate Optical Illusion

Let’s do a comparison.

Here’s my dinner served on my 11 1/2” Lenox Dinner plate.


Dinner on a 10 1/4” Corelle Dinner plate.

Dinner Plate Large.png

Dinner on an 8 1/2” Corelle Lunch plate.


Which one of these dinners would fill you up?

Remember the Assistant is deciding how much to eat based on what volume of this food she thinks would be satisfying.

Yep, you guessed it.

These plates have exactly the same amount of food!

But, the amount of food is not equal to your brain. And that is what matters. 

The Assistant decides what is going to fill it up even before your meal starts. So let’s help the Assistant be more satisfied with eating less by using smaller plates.

Cues to Eat

But, large dinner plates aren’t the only thing that cue us to eat more. Large silverware, large serving spoons, and even large serving bowls and platters serve as subconscious signals to eat more

In a research study pretending to be an ice cream party for graduate students, students were either given medium size bowls or extra large bowls.  Those who had jumbo bowls scooped up an extra 31% more ice cream. Some of the ice cream tubs had large ice cream scoops versus small ice cream scoops. The students who had large bowls and large scoops ended up with a whooping 57% more ice cream than those who had smaller bowls and smaller scoops.

So not only have I downsized my dinner plates, I bought smaller silverware in packs at Costco.

I use my large spoons for serving meals instead of serving spoons. 

I also encourage smaller portions at meals by putting a 1/3 cup in whatever starchy side I am serving at dinner.

I also have numerous small ramekins that I bought at World Market and thrift stores for serving ice cream, yogurt, or fruit. I try to match the actual serving size with the serving bowl.

You Can’t Just Serve Less

Don't think that now that you know about this, you can just use your same old plates and take less. Research shows that even if the Boss knows about your Assistant's tendency to eat more on big plates, you can't just eat less. She'll always take more on those big plates anyway.

What Will You Do?

What ideas do you have for ways you can downsize your plates, bowls, silverware, serving plates, and serving ware?

The cool thing is that once you move the small plates to the front of the cupboard and move the large plates to back of the cupboard, it's not an ongoing willpower thing. It's a fix-it once and forget-it option.

Check out the PDF below for more sneaky ideas on how to eat less, but still stay full at meals.





Eat Less Hack

In order to lose weight, we know we need to eat less—we need to get less calories. But that's the trick, right? We don't want to do that.

Our Assistant part of our brain doesn’t want to go hungry.

So we've talked in the past about how to eat according to the plate, that just by changing the proportions of foods and the order of the foods , you can still be full, but eat less.

Now I'm going to share another hack today. Another trick to eating less without even noticing it.

Trying to Eat Less Can Backfire

So, the assistant doesn’t like to go hungry, and she'll put up a fight if you try and eat less. We've all tried it.

I know we've tried to eat less, skip a meal here and there, and then I ended up on the other side, even eating more than I would have anyway. So, here's a way to eat less without the assistant having a fit about it.

How You Decide How Much to Eat

When it comes to how much to eat, The Assistant looks at the food and she figures out how filling it is.

Is it heavy?

Is it rich?

And then she looks at how much volume you have of the food, and she figures out whether that's enough to fill you up.

Well, one of the things that The Assistant uses as a guide to how much to serve is to how big your plate is or how big the serving spoon is or how big the serving bowl is.

Those are all visual cues for her to know whether something's going to be filling or not.

The Expanding Plate

Now back in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, our plate sizes were about 9-10 inches at the most. But over the years, our plate sizes have gotten bigger and bigger. 

I actually measured some of my dinner plates. They were 11 1/2 inches! That's a lot more food that your Assistant's going to eat on a big plate versus a little plate.

And I actually have a blog post with pictures that show you this. I'm going to put the link below (forget the link, I put it up into the introduction section). So, check it out.

But, just by changing to a smaller plate, you eat less, but The Assistant doesn't know you ate less.

You Fool Your Stomach

In research, people rate themselves as just as full with a smaller plate ,eating less—than they did with a big plate, eating a lot more.

And in some studies, people who got a large gigantic bowl with big serving spoons, ate 57% more than someone who had a small normal size bowl and a normal sized serving spoon.

The Assignment

It’s such an easy thing to do. Just change out your plates. Once you eat less, you stay satisfied. 

It's one of my favorite tricks and first things that I recommend to people to do to eat less and still stay full. So try it out.

What I did was I took my 10 1/2 inch dinner plates, moved them into the back of my cupboard. I've bought some 8 inch lunch plates and we all use those in my family at dinner.

Well, except my teenage son, he uses big size plates and get several servings of them.

But you know, for the rest of us humans, the eight inch plates work great. So try it out, see how you end up eating less and are still satisfied.



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