Lose weight with a smaller plate

Are you planning drastic, far-reaching new year’s resolutions? Stop! Making tiny (almost stupidly tiny) changes will be more lasting in the long run. Follow Oliver Burkeman’s easy steps… here is a small change that will make a big difference


Lose weight with a smaller plate

It’s all too easy to think of poor dietary habits as a character failing – a sign that, deep inside, you’re weak. But that makes changing them really hard.

The truth, as food psychology expert Brian Wansink has shown, is that our consumption habits are influenced by all sorts of factors you’d never predict.

For example, we can’t help judging what constitutes a ‘reasonable portion’ by comparing it to the plate it’s on – so simply by switching from a 12-inch plate to a 10-inch plate, Wansink found, meant people ate 22 per cent less, on average. (Meanwhile, they drank less from tall, thin glasses than wide ones – so that’s one way not to overindulge on wine.)

Another amusing experiment involved a ‘bottomless’ soup bowl, that kept refilling from underneath; people ate much more soup, but didn’t realise it, or feel more full.

Before you put yourself, or your family, on a rigorous diet, consider a tiny change to how you’re serving dinner. 

More inspiration:

Read Make one change happen by Vanessa Anstee on LifeLabs

Photograph: plainpicture/Etsa