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Compare yourself with those who on the Lord’s Day hear nothing except the dismal sound of the world. What a privilege it is for you to hear the proclamation of the gospel!
Bakker, Frans.


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Compare yourself with those who on the Lord’s Day hear nothing except the dismal sound of the world. What a privilege it is for you to hear the proclamation of the gospel! Bakker, Frans.
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The Brown Plate Special

In the comments of my recent Recipe Round-up/Snackalicious Super Dishes post my friend, Ellen B, left a haunting question; well, at least a question that's been haunting me for some time now:

How's an aging girl who loves food (and LOVES to cook) ever gonna lose weight...?

I turned 52 in December and middle age is no longer a specter that threatens to swoop in sometime in the far-distant future; it is the resident ghost that haunts my steps and daily distorts my mirror.

Middle age has not been kind.

So how IS an aging girl who loves to cook and eat ever going to lose weight?  In the past I've lost a fair amount of weight on no-carb diets like Atkins and South Beach but it takes all the fun out of cooking and eating and it just isn't sustainable for me.  I researched juice fasting and water fasting.  It appears that there are many detoxifying health benefits from  a 10 day fast for health and weight loss.  I could probably commit to 10 days without cooking and eating but that would only work for me if I lived alone. 

I've given it a lot of thought and I think I have come up with a doable plan for aging girls like me and Ellen.  I am calling it "The Brown Plate Special" and I invite you to try this along with me!


I got the idea when I bought a couple of cute little chocolate brown plates on clearance last week.  They are just 9 inches in diameter instead of the standard 10.5 inches and have a little "well" in the center that is 6.5 inches in diameter.  I'm thinking that if I commit to using this little brown plate instead of a regular plate for all my meals, and "load" it only so that it looks visually porportionate to a normal serving of food on a normal plate, slowly but surely I will get portions under control and begin to lose weight without giving up cooking and eating the foods we love.

You can use any small sandwich or dessert plate.  The only other guidelines are just the common sense stuff that most of us in our 40's and 50's have already come to grips with:

  • No between meal snacking
  • No evening snacking
  • No second helpings
  • No deserts except on special occasions 

For soups and stews and foods that aren't "plated" a half-portion would be a good rule of thumb.  I plan on switching to a smaller, rice bowl for soups and stews.

As time goes on, I'll be posting up some photos of my brown plate special portions compared to my hubby's regular plate portions.  Since accountability is essential in such matters, I'll be weighing in every Monday morning and I'll confess my weight loss (or lack thereof) in a regular Monday morning post.  

If you decide to join me, feel free to invite friends to join us by writing a post and adding this handy dandy button in your side bar.   You can post your weekly progress on a post of your own or in the comments of my weekly post.

 So, what have you got to lose?


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<a href="http://hiraeth.squarespace.com/journal/2008/1/28/the-brown-plate-special.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i160.photobucket.com/albums/t188/hiraeth_photos/brownplatespecial.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

Reader Comments (13)

This is exactly the tactic that I have taken for portion control. I use my regular daily china, but choose the salad plate for my meals. I have seen a weight maintenance occur that is most encouraging. My biggest temptation is the snacking at night while watching TV or blogging. Godspeed on your brown plate specials.

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterElle

OK girlfriend, I'm weighing in next Monday and I'll start confessing with you. I'm just glad I don't have to post my beginning weight!

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterellen b

This is a wonderful idea. I'm starting my diet seriously tonight!

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

I'm with you on this Kim.

I have been tempted to try the Atkins - a friend just lost 15 lbs but I don't think it's sutainable.

and I really really want something sustainable.

Between your brown plates and Lovella's pedometer I should be able to make some progress.

If I cold only get past the evening snack...

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterIslandsparrow

Great idea! I do take smaller portions, and managed to lose about 5 pounds, but I should just switch to a smaller plate. :) I also post on my blog my exercising status each day. Keeps me accountable. I was sick in the fall and managed to lose 10 more pounds which was not a fun way to lose weight, but it happened, so, now that it's off... I wanna keep it off!

Keep up the good work!

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

Sounds like a plan...but not one that I would stick too. :) I'll just continue doing my Formulazone method. Good cooking, regular meals, but figures all the portion control out for me AND I don't get hungry. :) Reduces that old need for self-control of which, when it comes to food I have little of. Hope it works out well for you though...because it sounds like it should. :)

January 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterannette

Smaller portions are always the direction I head when a few extra pounds are present. I often take out a smaller plate. The hardest part for me is eating with friens. It's so much harder to concentrate while the visiting is happening.
It will be fun to see how it goes.

February 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLovella

Smaller portions can make all the difference....if we could just stick to them! I had a "brown plate" lunch today...before I even saw your blog. I recall reading years ago that we tend to put on about one pound per year, and that's true for me; 30 years ago I weighted 30 pounds less. So....being at the far edge of middle age, I'm attempting to change my habits by walking in Lovella's bloggy walking club, and eating smaller portions. It's great to have all this good company alongside!

February 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSara

I'm new here and just read about your brown plate special it sounds great and I'm going to join you on trying out this portion method. I have tried alot of diets. But I love to eat and this just might work for me. I will let you know how it goes.

February 4, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterroseeagle

well, since I'm trying to do this alone to no avail I'll join in with you and see if it helps....

I asked Ellen about the age requirement she said my 33 years would do it!


March 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMightymom

Kim, I've been "following" this from afar, and I'm taking the time RIGHT NOW to read all your progress; this is a MARVELOUS idea and I'm just sorry I didn't hop on the bandwagon from the beginning. I'll be 45 at the end of the month, and it seems like the past year has been especially unkind to my body. I'm one of those who's "blessed naturally" with good genes...but...those only go so far. When I write my next "Do something" post, this will be part of it.

BTW, this is especially well written--I loved the way you phrased things!

March 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRobin

This sounds sensible, now if I could only add a little exercise! Count me in. I'm taking the button over to my place!

March 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSharon (at Hustle Hag)

I know I got five years before 40, but I should get started. I used to be size 00, now I am 12-14. Ugh!

April 15, 2008 | Unregistered Commentershoshana

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