Party of One?

August 8th, 2011 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

Do you ever eat at a restaurant and have NO IDEA how much bread you ate?  Or
how much rice or pasta you consumed?  Not to mention the chips and salsa…

I get involved in the conversation and sometimes don’t remember how many pieces of bread I ate until they’ve taken away the basket.


At the same time, bolusing for each piece doesn’t seem to work out very well, either.  (I’m sure I look quite disengaged when I’m hunched over staring at my waistband.  Who wants a disengaged dinner date??)

And what about when they ask if you’re ready to see the dessert menu?

(Geez; I’ve just been eating for 45 minutes and they’re asking me about DESSERT?!)

Staying a healthy weight involves managing several of these aspects of dining out with friends.  For me, it means not only passing up dessert, but also telling the wait staff I don’t want a spoon or fork to “share” with someone else.  (It absolutely astounds me how often this request is disregarded.  And yes, I do factor that into the tip!)

For a lot of people, it means asking the restaurant staff to remove the bread basket or tub of chips as they sit down.  For others, it means trying to hold off on eating anything until the meal itself arrives.

For those of us with type one diabetes, our “full” factor may not kick in at all due to the fact we are missing amylin in addition to insulin, so watch for the pace of others at your table and follow their cues.

Whatever you find that works for you, eating out does require awareness and discipline.

Mindless Eating collected some interesting studies on how groups of people eat compared to those eating alone.  Say your average calorie consumption when eating meal X alone at a restaurant is 400 calories.  When you order that same meal while with another friend, you are likely to consume 530 calories (33% more) and if you are dining with three others (family of four) you are likely to consume 630 calories (58% more).  Heaven forbid you dine with seven others; your likely consumption increases by 96%– 784 calories!

It’s the pace of dining that affects us and our calorie consumption according to Dr. Wansink “…when you eat with a group, the average amount others eat suggests the amount that’s appropriate for you to eat.”

All of these tips and tricks really do factor in when we are trying to learn or re-learn our eating habits to improve our weight and health.  For the first few weeks of any
new focus on weight loss, it may be smart to avoid as many big-meal dining experiences as you can.  But you know you will return so you may as well start in with some smart strategies early.

Eat as slowly as possible, with utensils, and take several “breaks” by putting down your utensils and sipping water.

Order soup, not salad.

Remember that it takes about 20 minutes for anything you eat to register on your hunger scale—so eat more slowly.  By the time you’ve eaten the bread before the meal and the meal itself you should be so full dessert isn’t necessary.

For me, I am always doing my best at this.  I’m always aware of the pitfalls of too many meals out!  Cooking my own meals is a major help, as is planning dinner during breakfast so I know how to eat the rest of my day.

And, above all, I’m glad I’m married to a tall skinny guy.  I’m always trying to avoid looking like Laurel and Hardy when I’m with him.

I always felt like Oliver Hardy when I weighed the same as my foot-taller husband!

Hey, it’s motivation that works for me.

What works for you?

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