half plate LRWelcome to our healthy lifestyle challenge lead by our program dietitian Vicki Bovee and her husband, Bill. Because we can always do better to live a healthier lifestyle Vicki and Bill decided to work on a weekly challenge together to provide support and accountability for each other and hopefully inspire you to make healthy changes. Follow along with them as they tackle a variety of challenges to eat better, eat more mindfully, and improve physical health and emotional well-being. Vicki and Bill invite you to participate and accept the challenges to improve your lifestyle too. Some of them may be difficult and please feel free to modify the challenges to accommodate your dietary needs and physical abilities.

Challenge # 28 The Half Plate Rule
In his newest book, “Slim by Design,” food psychologist and eating behavior guru, Dr. Brian Wansink, has a wealth of information and recommendations based on his research findings. I have incorporated many of his findings and tips into the preop Steps to Success class, our non-surgical Health & Lifestyle classes, and some of our weekly challenges. This week we decided to try a tip he has given to tens of thousands of people, The Half Plate Rule. “Fill half your plate with fruit, vegetables, or salad, and fill the other half with whatever you want.” There is really nothing you can’t eat, you just have to eat an equal amount of fruit, vegetables or salad. If you want seconds, you have to fill the plate with an equal amount of fruit, vegetables, or salad. He states that by using this rule people reported eating a more balanced diet and ate until they were full but not stuffed. Think about it. If you want four pieces of pizza, you have to eat equal amounts of fruit, vegetables, or salad. I bet you will eat less pizza.

But before you get started on this rule at home, you will need to practice it first at the grocery store. He found that most of us have fruits and vegetables filling only 24 per cent of our cart. You will need to have more fruits and veggies available to fill half of your plate. Thus you have the Half Cart Rule. Divide you cart in half, width-wise, by placing your purse, a bag, or the grocery sales flyer in the middle. Start shopping in the produce department and place your fresh fruits and veggies in the FRONT of the cart. All other items go in the back half of the cart. Dr. Wansink’s research found people buying more fruits and vegetables with this rule and they believed it was normal to fill half the cart.

Off to Raley’s we went for our weekly shopping trip. I always start in the produce department and I typically put the fruits and veggies in the back of the cart. Today I started placing them in the front of the cart. I didn’t tell Bill what I was doing. I just told him to put the produce in the front and we would put everything else in the back of the cart. We were just about ready to move out of the produce department when Bill looked in the cart and said, “That doesn’t look like enough. I better get some more fruit.” Well, I’ll be damned. It worked.

Vicki’s observations:
• The Half Plate Rule does work. On Sunday I was going to make myself a hamburger for lunch with tomato and cucumber salad. The clock said noon, my usual lunch time. My head said, “I’m ready for my hamburger,” but my stomach said,” I’m not able to eat the salad with it. I’m not hungry enough.” So I waited an hour until I was hungry enough to eat both.
• I didn’t eat seconds of anything at home. We still used our small plates so it wasn’t like we were loading up for the first go-around. Since we are always working on putting down our forks (challenge #5) while we are chewing, and I’m counting my chews (challenge #17) it takes time to eat, especially chewing salad. That was sufficient time to get the signals to my brain that I’d had enough to eat.
• We did have pizza and salad one day at work for lunch. I had two pieces of pizza but I made sure half my plate was filled with salad. Two pieces was enough for me. Without all the salad, I most likely would have eaten three pieces of pizza.

Bill’s observations:
• This was a great challenge for me as I love fruits and vegetables but for some reason I don’t always add them to the plate of food I am eating.
• Sometimes I just like to grab some fruit to eat between meals and this challenge made me more aware of incorporating my fruits and vegetables with my main course.
• I am not a big person for seconds so this was not a big problem for me but I do remember one dinner that I wanted to go back for more and I just didn’t have a big enough appetite to eat another half plate of veggies. No seconds that night.
• This is a great way to get your needed allotment of fruits and vegetables and not overeat.

This is a really simple rule to remember and will have you eating healthier meals while not feeling guilty about what is on the other side of you plate. For Bill and myself, we were better off sticking to the small plates. It’s not that we were trying to eat less fruits and veggies, it is that the big plates are too much food for us and it doesn’t much matter what it is. Overeating is still overeating.

Next week is a feel good week. We are using a couple of strategies to live a happier life and we can all use a little more happiness in our lives.

Eat Smarter…
Vicki Bovee, MS, RDN, LD

Want to catch up on what you’ve missed?
The road to success is always under construction. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-weekly-lifestyle-challenge/
Challenge #1 Eat everything sitting down. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-weekly-lifestyle-challenge-week-one/
Challenge #2 Eliminate cheese as an ingredient. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-two/
Challenge #3 Walk sideways in your home. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-three/
Challenge #4 Include a fresh herb in your daily meal plan. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-four/
Challenge #5 If there is food in your mouth there should be nothing in your hand. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-weekly-challenge-week-five/
Challenge #6 Eat the MyPlate recommendations for fruits and vegetables. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-6/
Challenge #7  Stand (and walk if possible) while talking on the phone. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-7/
Challenge # 8 Don’t eat out of the package. Put your food on a plate or in a bowl. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-8/
Challenge # 9 Keep a food record. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-nine/
Challenge # 10 Power down while eating. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-10/
Challenge # 11 Eating to reduce inflammation. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-11/
Challenge # 12 Eating to help our environment. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-12/
Challenge # 13 Switch it up. https://www.westernbariatricinstitute.com/?p=2576
Challenge # 14 The road to success is still under construction. https://www.westernbariatricinstitute.com/?p=2583
Challenge # 15 Little bites. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-15/
Challenge # 16 Drink your water. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-16/
Challenge # 17 Count your chews. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-16/
Challenge # 18 The 100 Bite Diet. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-18/
Challenge # 19 Start your day right. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-19/
Challenge # 20 Holiday moves. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-health-lifestyle-challenge-week-20/
Challenge # 21 Limit TV time. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/limit-tv-time-wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-21/
Challenge # 22 The Paleo Diet: Eat Like a Caveman. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/eat-like-a-caveman-wbi-weekly-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-22/
Challenge # 23 Sweet dreams. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/sweet-dreams-wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-23/
Challenge # 24 What color is your plate? https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/what-color-is-your-plate-wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-24/
Challenge # 25 Six month reflections https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/six-month-reflection-wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-25/
Challenge # 26 Retro-walking. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/retro-walking-challenge-26-of-our-healthy-lifestyle-challenge/
Challenge # 27 Gimme a high fiber https://www.westernbariatricinstitute.com/?p=2861

Do you need to get back on track with your lifestyle changes or want to get started with a healthier lifestyle? Read about our Health and Lifestyle Program.


Vicki Bovee is the Registered Dietitian for Western Bariatric Institute and leads the non-surgical weight loss program, "Health and Lifestyle Program."
Vicki Bovee is the Registered Dietitian for Western Bariatric Institute and leads the non-surgical weight loss program, “Health and Lifestyle Program.”