The article below I included because it shows a nurse who “thinks outside of the box” and who was able to take her idea and make it profitable and productive. I have always felt that nurses are the perfect entrepreneurial pool because nurses frequently are faced with having to “make do” or “make it work” in daily dealings with patient needs.
Here is a fine example of a nurse who took a problem and pushed it through to an acceptable outcome, both for herself and others. How many other nurses out there do you think are doing the same thing? I think the number would be surprising. Nurses are very creative and willing to think critically about problems.
BY TERESA MEARS
Christine Bromley of Fort Lauderdale worked for many years as a nurse, teaching her recovering cardiac and diabetes patients how to eat right. But she didn’t always take those lessons home, and she struggled with her weight for years.
A desire to run her own business led her to create One Helping Helps Many (OneHelp
ingHelpsMany.com), which sells nine-inch dinner plates designed to maintain portion control.
The products are part of what is called the Small Plate Movement, which advocates that both families and restaurants downsize their plate sizes. The movement, which includes numerous books and products, cites studies that show that people eat less when the food is served on smaller plates.
Bromley’s plates are imprinted with the words “One Helping Helps Many,” and she donates 15 percent of her process to three charities: Commit 2B Fit, a South Florida organization that combats childhood obesity; House of the Children, which helps provide sustainable water around the world; and Feed My Starving Children, which packs and ships meals to children in more than 60 countries.
Q: What prompted you to create a small plate?
A: I did home health nursing for the last 15 years and that was mainly teaching patients. I taught them how to change their lifestyles, and a big part of that was their diet. Though they were taught that you had to cut down their portions, they fought it all the way. They didn’t know how to change a lifestyle.
It all began with the plate. We had tools that showed where the vegetable goes, where the protein goes, and it was much smaller than the average 12- or 14-inch plate.
I wanted to have a plate that the whole family could eat on. I had battled the bulge my whole adult life. I had gone to every diet center and did great, and then when it came time for maintenance and returning back to normal food, I blew it because I was going back to the big plates.
Q: Why do people find portion control so difficult?
A: When you have a large plate in front of you, and you’re told as a child to clean your plate, you cannot really put it together. We were not taught portion control. When I went on diets I would go to these diet centers and they would have their little bits of food in the Tupperware, and I would do OK with it, and I was satisfied. I knew that’s what I had to eat at each meal. When I was given back my regular-size plate, I just couldn’t do it.
Q: How did using the small plates change your approach to grocery shopping and cooking?
A: Mealtime was always an important part of our day. I came from a big Italian family, always had big family gatherings, and eating was a big part of my life. To make my kids happy, I would buy a lot of food at the grocery store. If my kids were happy eating, we ate. And we put on the weight. When my plates came off the production line, I started with my family. We loved eating off the plates because we could eat a small amount that satisfied us. But I was still putting on the table the amount of food I did before (and people went back for seconds). I realized I had to include portion control at the grocery store, and that’s when things began to change. Since July I have lost 17 pounds. Even my grocery bill has declined. I went from $200 to $250 at the grocery store weekly to $150 to $175. Now I plan my grocery list according to my plate and I visualize what I am going to put on that plate. When we’re done eating, when the food is gone, you’ve gotten what’s healthy for you and we’re done.
Q: What other tips do you have for people to avoid weight gain, especially over the holidays?
A: Eating three meals a day is the best defense against overeating.
Q: Did you start out as a participant in the Small Plate Movement?
A: I came upon the small plate movement about a year after I decided to do my business. I looked for portion control plates, but I was amazed I really didn’t find anything mainstream. I found plates that were juvenile, that showed pictures of food.
Our plates have increased in size since the ’60s to 36 percent bigger. They said just by cutting down a plate two inches, from 12 inches to 10 inches, you cut calories 22 percent. If you eat like that for one year, you’ll lose 15 to 20 pounds. I know from nursing that just a 15-pound weight loss in someone who’s overweight improves their health dramatically.
There also was the book, The Nine-inch Diet, and it was a fun take on how our plates have grown over the years and how important it is to go back to the nine-inch plate. But, again, there was no actual plate.
Q: Do you have any advice for people who can’t afford new plates?
A: I guess it would be to eat on smaller nine-inch salad plates. Even if people don’t choose to buy the One Helping Helps Many plate, it’s going to be stuck in their head that nine-inch plates have a purpose.
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