‘Plate rule’ leads to 9 kg weight loss for woman in three months

By Thuy Quynh   February 27, 2024 | 05:00 pm PT
29-year-old Linh Dan from Hanoi successfully shed 9 kg in three months by adopting the “plate rule,” a method that entails dividing her meal portions on a plate to manage her food intake effectively.

Dan’s diet used to consist of three bowls of rice accompanied by a significant amount of food, which led to an uncontrollable weight gain. She now organizes her meals on a plate, separating them into three sections: half the plate is filled with vegetables, while the remaining half is split between carbohydrates and proteins. This strategy allows her to keep her portion sizes and overall food consumption in check.

Whenever Dan experiences cravings, she opts for nuts, unsweetened yogurt, or fruits that are not overly sweet, meanwhile reducing her consumption of red meat, sausages, and processed foods. She focuses on including white meat and boiled vegetables in her meals and eats them in the sequence of vegetables first, followed by meat, and then rice.

This approach helps her feel satiated more quickly and reduces her food intake, enabling her to lose 9 kg within three months without feeling deprived.

A meal portioned out according to the plate rule. Photo obtained by VnExpress

A meal portioned out according to the "plate rule." Photo obtained by VnExpress

Ha Trang, a 27-year-old from the northern province of Nam Dinh, learned about the "plate rule" from her fitness trainer, who recommended it as a way to manage meal portions. Trang’s plates are now arranged to ensure proper portion control: half of the plate consists of vegetable-based fiber, one-quarter contains slow-digesting carbohydrates such as brown rice, brown rice noodles, oats, and sweet potatoes, and the final quarter is reserved for proteins like chicken breast, lean pork, fish, beef, and shrimp. She also makes an effort to eat slowly and chew her food well to prolong feelings of fullness.

Trang reports that her habit of overeating has disappeared since she started applying the plate rule.

Dr. Phan Thai Tan, a weight loss health coach at Homefit fitness center, notes that the plate rule is endorsed by various respected organizations and health experts, including Harvard Medical School. The method is designed to visually represent the nutritional breakdown of a meal, akin to a pie chart, with each segment denoting a different group of nutrients.

Tan explains that individuals who are overweight often have enlarged stomachs and a tendency to eat quickly, which usually results in excessive food consumption. Segmenting food on a plate sets a limit to the amount one can eat, aiding in portion control. If hunger persists, Tan advises consuming only soup or vegetables, which are lower in calories, instead of increasing carbohydrate intake.

A balanced plate following the plate rule typically comprises 50% vegetables, 25% protein, and 25% carbohydrates. There is an option to reduce or omit carbohydrates for up to six weeks during periods of weight loss or detoxification, but consulting a nutritionist is recommended to ensure the diet’s appropriateness.

Tan also emphasizes the importance of cooking methods, suggesting boiling, steaming, or soup preparation for vegetables. He recommends using healthy oils like olive or avocado oil for stir-frying and incorporating a variety of three to five colored vegetables in each meal, with a preference for homegrown or organic options.

Slow-digesting carbohydrate sources such as brown rice, oats, whole grain bread, and sweet potatoes are advised, along with a daily protein intake from fish, meat, and eggs, limiting red meat consumption to no more than 100g per day and no more than twice a week.

Furthermore, the "reverse eating" principle, which involves eating fiber-rich and vegetable soup dishes before those rich in protein and carbohydrates, is advocated to promote early satiety. Eating slowly and thoroughly chewing food to savor its flavors and extend fullness are also recommended.

For successful adherence to the plate rule, experts suggest planning detailed weekly menus for all meals and snacks, purchasing necessary ingredients in advance, and resisting the temptation of ready-made foods. Sticking to the planned menu and choosing healthy snack options like yogurt, fruits, vegetables, and nuts is advised.

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