Tips to keeping weight down even when eating at restaurants.
1. Hydrate – when dining in a restaurant, drink a full glass of water and eat a side salad before you order your meal. You will be much less likely to order that huge bowl of pasta or to overeat.
2. Share – split an entree with your spouse. Most restaurant portions are about twice a normal serving size. Starting with a salad will make it more filling.
3. Alcohol – Keep in mind that if your liver is metabolizing alcohol, it’s not working on anything else, like fat. Be mindful of the effect you’re having on your efforts to attain your goals when you make the choice to drink. I still enjoy wine but I’m much more mindful of how much I’m taking in because I know I’ll have to work it off later. If you are going to drink alcohol, consider drinks without sugar or wheat such as vodka soda with lime instead of beer or a margarita. Try drinking dry red wines instead of sweet reds or whites.
4. Substitutions – Don’t be afraid to ask for an extra side of vegetables instead of rice or potatoes. You’ll have much less of a blood sugar spike and you’ll actually be getting important vitamins, minerals and fiber as well instead of just empty calories.
5. Plan your attack – before you get to the restaurant and face the onslaught of smells and appealing pictures, start thinking about what healthy menu items you could order or how you could modify things to make them healthier when you order. I start thinking about how much I like the chicken salad when I am on my way to the restaurant or how I’m going to have a steak and make sure I get extra veggies instead of that baked potato.
6. Skip dessert – don’t even look at the dessert menu. It’s designed specifically to tempt you and the designers are very good at what they do. If you can’t resist, then at least split the dessert between everybody at the table so you just get a couple bites instead of your own 500 calorie dessert. Think of the calories in terms of how much you’ll have to exercise to work it off. I think of a 500 calorie dessert as 5 miles of running. Studies show that people tend to eat less when they think of calories in terms of how much they’ll have to work to burn them off. 100 calories takes a mile of running.