Thursday, April 30, 2015

Get Fit–Don’t Sit

Have you heard?  “Sitting is the new smoking” can be heard in all the corridors.  People are busy using treadmill desks and exercise balls for desk chairs. 

I don’t know about you but with my bad knees, I have found that if I don’t get up and move every half hour or so, I can really tell when I do get up. One of my biggest problems is that I get working and forget to get up and move.  I have tried setting a timer but either I forget to set it initially or I am busy and think “one more minute” and then forget or I forget to re-set the timer.  And then I am sorry.  With the timers on phones and tablets so easy to use, you would think I could take this easy step. 

Maybe sometimes the easy steps are the hardest.  We should all probably move more and I just need to set it as a priority. 


With this in mind, the American Diabetic Association has declared May 6th to be National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day.  As stated in their literature, “the goal of the National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day is to encourage people to get up and move throughout the day.” 

Want to join me in celebrating National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day?  Great!  If you have any ideas to help me make sure I get up and move, please let me know.  I would appreciate your help. 

If your company would like to participate in this event, the ADA has a tool kit that you can download for information, press releases, and artwork.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Start Again

How many synonyms are there for starting over?

As much as I really hate to admit it, Silent Sam and I are starting again. Yes, we had slipped big time off our "eating plan" and we have to get back to it.

Is it discouraging? Yes. But, it must be done and we know we can do it. Do I think this will be the last time we have to start over? I would love to tell you "YES!" with all the PMA (positive mental attitude) that I can muster.

I think we will have some success and some failure.

Silent Sam is doing great with his fitbit and walking daily. I am right now relegated to knee strengthening exercises so that I can feel better.

But we do have one thing that is a great advantage. We have each other and we are working together.

So if you need to start over, let me know and we can support each other.  If you are doing great, let me know that and I will celebrate (in a non food way) with you.  You can leave comments below or there is a "The 9 Inch Plate" facebook page where you can comment.

I would love to hear how you are doing.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Revisiting - Why a 9 inch plate?

The following was one of my first posts on this blog.  I decided to revisit it after I read several articles about things Google has done in their offices to get the employees to be healthier.  (The cynical part of me thinks this smaks of social engineering but who am I?) If you would like to read about the changes they made in their cafeterias and offices, there are several sources but this Washington Post article sums it up.  

Have you switched to a 9 inch plate?

Did you know that in the United States dinner plates have grown to be 11 – 12 inches in diameter?  Why does this matter?  Well, psychologists will tell you that we were taught to eat everything on our plate and when your plate is 11 or 12 inches across, you are eating a lot of food.  It was suggested to us that we should have 9 inch plates.  (Somehow from looking at us they guessed that portion control may be a problem.)  In checking the cabinet, I found that our dinner plates were 10.5 inches across and the new plates that I bought (to replace chipped ones) were even larger.  So I went on the hunt for 9 inch dinner plates so we could experiment and see if it made a difference.  Now, I would hate to think that I am such a simpleton that changing the size of the plate would make a difference in how much I ate.  After all, could just having a smaller plate make a difference in making me feel full?  

Once again Silent Sam’s diabetes (in your head please follow that word with the ominous DUM, DUM, DUM soundtrack) has led me to shopping.  So this is not all bad.  Just kidding.  It took me a little while to find a plate that was 9 inches.  I finally found that Fiestaware has a luncheon plate that is 9 inches.  Please note – this is not the salad plate or the dinner plate but the luncheon plate.  Really, does one need that many sizes in casual dishware?  Oh well mine is not to wonder why, mine is but to do or buy….

I decided to order 4 luncheon plates.  Of course that leads to the hard decision as to what color to order.  Over the years, I have heard conversations about the color of plates.  One person was sure that the way that you picked a plate color was to imagine spaghetti on it – would it look appealing?  And with Fiestaware, do you pick just one color or an assortment?  I decided to go with one color for the preliminary order.  Yes, I was planning ahead or perhaps feeling positive about the outcome of this experiment.  I also ordered some small bowls for frozen yogurt.  Let me admit here that there is no way to tell what size a bowl is from a picture on your computer.  They looked small…  

I may or may not have told the family about this purchase until the plates and bowls arrived.  Luckily no one objected to my color choice.  The bowls are small – Silent Sam took out the measuring cup and announced that they hold ¾ of a cup of liquid.  The plates looked much smaller in the cabinet but they were a cheery color so I was hopeful.  

I am a simpleton.   Since we started using the plates, I do feel full at the end of the meal.  One of the tips that we were given for portion control was to divide a 9 inch plate into quarters.  One quarter was for protein, one quarter for starch, and the other half for vegetables and salad. It is mostly containing the protein and starch parts of the meal where we had problems.  I would say that there have only been a couple of times since we started this new lifestyle that I have been hungry at the end of dinner.  I will admit though that with the “frozen yogurt bowls” that I have occasionally wanted to lick the bowl clean but I have resisted so far.  Something about the visual of that stops me in my tracks.  

Now you have it.  My first and perhaps best tip right now is the 9 inch plate.  There are more tips and tales to come – and not all involve shopping.  

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Crock Pot Italian Soup

Well, we are coming to the end of Sunday soup season and I thought I would give you one more recipe.  We have really enjoyed our winter nights with soup for dinner. 

Today’s recipe is modeled after a recipe from Fabulously Frugal, which looks like an interesting site.  I did make it their way first but was not completely happy with the recipe and made adjustments.  I will only be giving the adjusted recipe. 

Crock Pot Italian Soup
Serves 6


1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion diced
1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans
1 can (14.5 oz.) can of diced tomatoes (I use fire roasted.)
2 carrots sliced
2 small potatoes diced (I used red potatoes)
10 – 12 garlic cloves (really, I mean 10 –12)
1 tablespoon each of dried parsley, dried oregano, dried basil
1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning (yes, I know it is a bit redundant)
6 cups of chicken broth reduced fat and reduced sodium
1 cup pasta shells uncooked


1.  Brown the ground beef and onion in a frying pan until the meat is cooked through. 
2. Put all ingredients EXCEPT the pasta in the crock pot.  Stir them to blend. 
3.  Cook on HIGH for 4 hours. At the end of 4 hours, add the pasta and let it cook for an additional hour. 

Nutritional Info

Calories=306,Total Fat 6.4 g,Saturated Fat 2.2 g,Cholesterol 68 mg, Sodium 978 mg, Potassium 861 mg, Total Carbohydrates 29.1 g, Dietary Fiber 4.2 g, Sugars 5.6 g. 


The nutritional information does not take into account the low sodium chicken broth.  We found that College Inn chicken broth is both lower fat and lower sodium.  It cost a bit more but we have had some soups that taste so salty that we try to get as low sodium as we can.
Okay, this soup is HOT at the end of the 5 hours.  I mean that you need to let it cool for a long time.  We think it is possible that it is actually better the next day when the spices have a chance to blend.  We have eaten it right after it cooked and then again the next day or two for lunch.  It really is better the next day but it may be that it is so very hot when the time is up.
About the spices, I know that Italian seasoning is basil, parsley and oregano but with six cups of broth, you need a lot of spice otherwise it would seem really tasteless.  So I am generous with my tablespoon of each and then added the Italian seasoning.  We were happy with the result. 

As usual, the original recipe called for salt and pepper.  I do not add salt and pepper when I cook.  Okay, I am weird but I am not a huge fan of pepper and soup so often ends up salty that I just don’t feel the need to add them. 

I hope you enjoy it! Let me know if you have tried the Sunday night soup idea during the winter or any night.  I would love to know if you enjoyed the recipes!

Thanks for reading!