There’s just no way to get around eating out. We all do it, for better or for worse. The better is obvious: The table is prepared by someone else. The food offered includes choices that never come out of our own kitchen. Everyone can choose whatever he/she wants. The food is delivered by a smiling person who treats you like you deserve all their attention. And, the table settings all belong to the restaurant so we can leave all the dirty dishes without any guilt whatsoever. We are not responsible for anything but the bill, and it’s a bargain for what we get.
All that’s the good part. But there are a couple of drawbacks. Many dieters confront their demons at a restaurant, and fall off their program We know why. They are too hungry. They have been too “good” on their diets, keeping their eating limits carefully, downplaying their hunger.
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You, however, are doing things differently now. You don’t have to be intimidated by going out to a restaurant. It can be a pleasant experience, not a threat to your commitment to eating right, because of the sane and healthy way you’ve been eating all day long. But, you have to pay attention to some basic guidelines. First, let’s talk about food quality at a restaurant, because it can be a problem Quality is not the top priority in a restaurant. Taste is. And how can a restaurant enhance the taste factor? By adding fat in the form of butter, oil, sauces, cream, fatty meats, fried foods, and deep-frying foods— you get the picture. You’ve probably tasted the picture. Then, there’s the salt and the sugar—okay already.
There will come a time when these fatty, rich foods will not appeal much to you anymore, but until that happens, what will you do? You will make sure to eat every time you get hungry throughout the day, including the few hours before you go. You will pay attention to the menu because you are not overly hungry, and you will order the best-quality food that you like from the menu. Maybe it won’t be a perfect food choice, but it will be much better than you used to order and it will improve each time you go out.
For example, you like fried calamari for an appetizer, but you also like crostini or shrimp. This is easy. The grilled chicken salad sounds good but the half-pound California burger with cheese sounds really good, too. As long as you are not too hungry, this will be a manageable decision. You know the salad is much better food in terms of quality, but a salad doesn’t really appeal to you. What else sounds good? A grilled chicken sandwich with cole slaw is your next best pick. Try each time to go with the best choices you can, shooting for real food choices—clean food.
Suppose you’ve gone to a movie with friends and they want to go out for pizza afterwards. Do you run home because you “can’t eat after supper”? Do you go? Do you have an anxiety attack? No, your recovery should be sane and rational. Of course you go and, since you’ve eaten well all day long, you are not particularly hungry. This is why you didn’t have the barrel of buttered popcorn and gigantic Coke at the movie. If you are hungry, have a piece of pizza, preferably the lighter variety, and enjoy yourself. If you find you aren’t satisfied with that, then perhaps you haven’t been paying close enough attention to your hunger during the day. Check it out.