One of the hardest parts of maintaining a healthy weight loss program is going out to eat. Eating out represents one of the biggest challenges to the determined dieter. How is anyone supposed to lose weight with the world offering up daily temptations? What is a determined dieter to do—simply lock themselves in their house and never step out for fear of temptation? Clearly, this is not possible. At some point you will have to go out to dinner and face your greatest fear. Perhaps your greatest fear is the dessert cart, or just that greasy burger with basket full of crispy yet fatty French fries. Whatever your poison may be, here are some tips for how to eat safely outside the home and not gain an ounce. It is truly possible!
Give Yourself a Day Off from the Diet Grind
One of the easiest solutions to eating safely outside the home is to designate the occasional dining out day. Make a deal with yourself: you will not eat out more than say, once a week (or longer, if you can bear it!), but when you do go out, you are allowed to eat anything you want. This is an easy way to avoid feeling deprived (and thus more at risk of falling off the diet wagon). By following this dining out system, you can still commune with friends, family and co-workers without having to give up your diet or worry about spoiling your progress. Just remember that if you are going to go with the ‘eat out and enjoy it’ strategy, you have to make sure you are not going to eat out very often. Give your wallet, and your waist, a break, and stay in.
Control Your Own Portion When Dining Out
Here is another easy trick to eating out and not gaining an ounce. It’s all about portion control. Studies have shown that the average American restaurant portion has grown considerably in recent years. Many dieticians believe that restaurant-sized portions are simply out of control. Do yourself a favor and take matters into your own hands. When you get that giant plate of steaming spaghetti, that oversized taco platter, that enormous hamburger, or whatever else you may have ordered, the first thing you should do is take your dinner knife and separate your portion into two. That’s right: slice right through that delicious hamburger, steak, or whatever is on your plate. If you think you simply cannot help but consume everything in sight, ask for a box or doggie bag with your order. Store away half of the portion. Now you have something to snack on for later. You will again be doing a favor for both your waistline and your wallet!
Stay Hydrated to Stave Off Hunger Pangs
The simple truth is that you will never succeed if you are constantly tempted to hungry. Part of the way to make sure that you do not overeat while dining out is to make sure that you are fully hydrated. Drink plenty of water during dinner. Moreover, fill up on things that are good for you and which will not cause you to gain weight. So, besides a tall glass of water before the meal arrives, choose healthy appetizers and first dishes, such as vegetable-based soups or crisp salad. Never arrive at a restaurant on an empty stomach—this is a great way to ensure that you will indeed overeat. Instead, make sure to have a small snack to before heading out to eat. That way, you won’t be tempted to scarf down everything on your plate on sight.