My Eating Disorder Would Have Loved “My Plate”

Getting rid of THE food pyramid? The infamous pyramid that I’ve known since elementary school. When I heard about this, my jaw may have dropped but I kept an open mind. The idea of a plate, I could see where it could maybe work. Maybe a pie graph that showed how much we are suppose to have of one category versus another throughout the day. (I’m a very visual person). I had my hopes. But then I looked online at what this new “Plate” idea truly was and all hopes I had were instantly shot down.

My first reaction was “Is this what I’m suppose to have for every meal?” The old pyramid told us that we needed 2-3 servings of dairy, 6-11 servings of grains, etc. but this new plate only shows us how much we are to put on a single plate. What size is “the plate?” Maybe I only have to use a salad size plate. After all, it emphasizes eating less. And wait, I can fill half my plate with fruits and vegetables! GLORIOUS! My eating disorder would have loved this idea! Actually, it sounds a lot like what I used to do in my disease. I bet I’d conveniently be full after eating that half of the plate too. Dairy isn’t ON my plate? What if I want my dairy on my food? Does it have to be on the side? I don’t like it on the side, it’s not very symmetrical. (I might have some OCD tendencies). How much is 1 serving? Do I need 1 serving or 2? What size is that little bowl? On the website it tells us to use fat-free or low-fat milk! But what about the fact I use almond milk which is not fat-free?

Saving the best for last: there are no fats, oils or sweets on this plate. I instantly, jokingly emailed a dietitian of mine and asked if this meant that I no longer had to have my fats or desserts in my meal plan. Then I realized the horror of this: NO MORE ICE CREAM! Thankfully, ice cream is made of milk, so maybe it can count as a dairy! ;) After more investigation I saw that they point out that fats and oils are important but not considered a food group in this new plan.

With a lot of frustration, I dug into the website more in search of how much of each group we needed in a day. I found under “interactive tools” that we can make a “Daily Food Plan” based upon our own body weight, height, and activity level. This table was created for me:

So it addresses fats but it also puts it in terms of calories. My normal is definitely over that. And only 6 teaspoons of fat allowed? This is going to cause a problem. At least this did give me a tool to see the total number of servings needed for each group. I just had to do some digging to find it.

All in all, I prefer the old pyramid. Maybe it’s just because that’s what I’ve grown up on, it’s what I’m used to, and I don’t like change. I don’t know. Or maybe it is actually that I think this new one is harder to understand and lacks some information with initial glancing. I am glad I have my own dietitian to tell me what is appropriate for my body, my mind, and my level of activity.

What do you think of My Plate?


15 Responses to My Eating Disorder Would Have Loved “My Plate”
  1. Romia
    June 7, 2011 | 1:38 pm

    i felt totally identified with this entry, although this whole idea of the plate its a lot easier than the pyramid there´s a lot of details left in the air, my ED would definitely loved this, but probably “normal” people would feel like they´re on a diet going by this new “rules”

    great as usual!

    • Jenn Sternecker
      June 7, 2011 | 4:03 pm

      I agree with the whole idea that “normal” people would feel like they’re on a diet. I feel that it’s very restrictive. After figuring out what I was suppose to have for my body, I compared it to my meal plan and realized how much more my meal plan has me eating. It definitely would not be healthy for me to follow this one. Thanks for the comment!
      Jenn Sternecker recently posted..Pushing through the Battle

  2. Romia
    June 7, 2011 | 1:39 pm

    God i misspelled my name, its Romina, by the way!

  3. PJ
    June 7, 2011 | 1:42 pm

    funnily enough I thought a similar thing when I saw the plate. I couldn’t help but think my meal would be nice neat *little* piles of food, all separate on a nice *little* white plate. And the same thing every.single.time.
    My OCD side could have a field day with this :)
    (and that’s not even mentioning how nicely I could align my cup and fork so they sit ‘just so’ beside my plate!!)
    PJ recently posted..I screamed

    • Jenn Sternecker
      June 7, 2011 | 4:04 pm

      Haha! I agree! It’s so perfectly aligned. The only thing I would change was the fact that the protein was a little smaller than the grains so that wasn’t very proportional. Lol.
      Jenn Sternecker recently posted..Pushing through the Battle

  4. Katie @ Health for the Whole Self
    June 7, 2011 | 4:24 pm

    I agree that the new “my plate” thing is totally problematic. I firmly believe that there is a way to educate people about healthy habits without 1) encouraging a diet mentality and 2)prescribing a one-size-fits-all solution. This, however, isn’t it. Sigh.

    • Jenn Sternecker
      June 7, 2011 | 5:28 pm

      I agree Katie. The diet mentality is the biggest part the aggrevates me. The focus on fat-free items and eating smaller portions is frustrating. They don’t even say anything about how some people might be eating just enough, or maybe not even enough of some nutrients. They are purely focusing on one population.
      Jenn Sternecker recently posted..Pushing through the Battle

  5. azhe'n
    June 7, 2011 | 9:08 pm

    oh yeah. i’m not doing well presently anyway, and my brain friggin loved this. okay, my ed brain loved it. i too would have no problem eating the left side first and then shoving the rest of it away. fat? what fat? that is totally problematic and i did read an article which was discussing ‘the plate’ (seriously, are we all 5?) that recommended using 8 inch plates rather than the supposedly standard 12 inch plates. this is another hallmark of problems for me that does not need reinforcing. i’ve never been comfortable with a plate that is 12 inches. it’s horrifying.
    there’s really not too much about this besides throwing the plate out that my ed doesn’t like. that, to me, is a sad commentary and a tad bit maddening. i ended up angry with myself over reading about it.
    i hope it helps someone.
    azhe’n recently posted..twenty seven rounds

    • Jenn Sternecker
      June 7, 2011 | 10:26 pm

      Wow! I hadn’t heard about the plate size suggestions. That is absolutely crazy. Thanks for letting us know. Keep fighting your own battle! That’s the one that matters!
      Jenn Sternecker recently posted..Pushing through the Battle

  6. R
    June 8, 2011 | 10:47 am

    There always seems to be a new way of measuring how much we should eat. It was once a problem for me (and still is, a little).

    I once had a dietician tell me something quite wise: Eating should be like breathing. Natural, and easy…

    Shame it doesn’t seem to be so…!

  7. [...] Voice in Recovery, My Eating Disorder Would Have Loved “My Plate” [...]

  8. zoe (and the beatles)
    June 14, 2011 | 12:39 am

    it looks kind of cartoonish. and i am not down with the idea of eating 2 cups of dark green veggies twice a week. twice a week? twice a week!? yeah effin’ right. it really bums me out americans need the government to tell them how to eat. i don’t trust the government for much else so why the hell would i trust them with my food?

  9. LNC
    June 22, 2011 | 2:56 am

    I found the whole food plate campaign very triggering. On the site it said “enjoy your food but eat less” this was a blanket statement on the site. I wrote a letter to the email address on the site and they told me that it’s not for people with special needs or eating disorders and that they weren’t suggesting a portion size. I pointed out it specifically said “eat less” to which I got no follow up response. The food plate assumes everyone looking at it is over eating, which is ridiculous. I was so upset by the obviously uncaring response I got back from my email to them. I am really angry my tax dollars went toward this unacceptable campaign

  10. jaimie winkler
    July 15, 2011 | 2:23 pm

    I completely agree about this plate model. The old standards like the food guide pyramid and the original DASH plan work to prevent chronic disease. IT WORKS! Why are we changing something that has scientific evidence that these plans prevent heart disease, diabetes, promote bone health?(FGP/DASH includes 5 svg of fruits/vegs versus some of the other “guidelines” that push 10 servings). I like the idea of having other ways to visualize a healthy intake, but you can’t even fit the appropriate amounts of carb/protein on that plate!!!!

  11. Alyssa
    January 14, 2012 | 8:37 pm

    I totally regret reading this. My ED would definitely manipulate this plan to its advantage. This is exactly how I got myself into trouble to begin with. (Minus the dairy and grains). Being in recovery, this is still hard to look at and not get those comments from ED. Ugh.

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