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How to Keep From Overeating When Eating Out
Date:1/10/2012

ecific strategies to use when dining out, such as what are the least fattening foods to order when eating at a Mexican or Italian restaurant.

Among the tips:

  • When you order, request a "to-go box" delivered along with the meal, then slide half of the meal into it before you even start eating. "Research shows when you have less on your plate you eat more slowly, and that helps you feel fuller," Timmerman said. "If you wait to put the food in the to-go box, you tend to encroach. Then you say, 'Well, I don't want to waste it.' " Before you know it, you've got a clean plate.
  • Order a la carte. If you don't really want three tacos, rice and beans, pick and choose. Perhaps just order two tacos and call it a day. Also, "ask for gravy, butter and dressing on the side to make sure you're not getting calories you didn't intend or you didn't even necessarily want," Timmerman said.
  • If you can take it or leave it, leave it. "I like focusing on choosing 'loved' calories, and avoiding 'unloved' calories," Timmerman said. "Eat the foods you love, and skip foods you feel neutral about. I'm neutral about rice, so when I eat out, I ask them to not even bring the rice. A lot of time we are eating the 'unloved' calories, we're not particularly enjoying them and we don't even really want them." The exception, she added, are foods that are highly nutritious. You may be neutral about broccoli, but eat it anyway.
  • Share. Split a main course, a basket of fries or dessert.
  • Be mindful about what you're eating and savor each bite. "Let's say you get those fries," Timmerman said. "Eat each one slowly and pay attention to the enjoyment you're getting out of the texture, the smell, the taste. Then you can ask, 'Do I really need to eat a whole basket of them in order to be satisfied, or can I eat a handful?' Focus on the pleasure you're getting from them."
  • Focus on how you feel. It takes the body about 20 minutes to figure out that you're f
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