Emie is all about diversity. She’s had all types of jobs - waiting tables, sales, politics, accounting, teaching and more. Her interests seemingly know no bounds – from camping and boating to reading poetry and going to art galleries.
She’s quite likeable and throughout her life has formed an amazing array of friendships, which as she puts it, “are so different from one another that if I had a party and invited everyone, people would be standing around staring at each other in disbelief thinking “whaaaat?!”
She loves to stay in touch with each of these disparate friends or groups of friends, and like most of us, much of the social scene centers around food, and usually meeting up at restaurants.
She’s had some health challenges and has made great progress. Most of the time she cooks at home, and she now limits her social engagements to a few times a week. But….
A lot of her friends don’t share her desire for healthy living and eating and she usually finds herself “Zeliging” (a term she coined from the only Woody Allen film she liked. The main character Zelig, per Wikipedia, “out of his desire to fit in and be liked, takes on the characteristics of strong personalities around him”).
So she follows someone else’s lead or goes with the crowd.
And then she pays the price. She feels like crap afterwards and usually throughout the next day. It’s not such a big deal if it only happens rarely, but for Emie, it’s 2-3 times a week.
So what to do?
Serendipity! I remembered an article I read a couple of years ago and it popped into my Inbox again this week.
Going out to dinner is a great way to get out of the house, spend time with friends—and not have to cook or clean up. But when you’re trying to eat healthfully, watch your portion sizes and avoid overdoing it, eating at restaurants can be tricky.
Of course, you know menus don’t give all the details, and are full of temptations. But you might not have known that people have been shown to eat more when dining out with a group—and the larger the group, the bigger the difference.
Research showed eating with one other person increased consumption 28% over eating alone, and that number increased with each additional person.
So how can you dine out without a side order of regret? Research suggests the best solution is to:
Go to dinner with a like-minded friend – a Food Buddy
People tend to order like the others in their dining party. Hearing your friends choose healthy, lower-calorie options makes you want to choose healthy, lower-calorie options. It’s a form of peer support.
So for Emie, whose friends aren’t so like-minded, here are four other tips:
1. Decide before you dine:
Most restaurants have online menus. After lunch (when you’re already full), check out the website and pick the best option for dinner. That way you won’t cave to in-the-moment cravings.
2. Order first:
Nobody wants to be the lame duck ordering grilled vegetables with brown rice after everyone else has settled on creamy pastas and burgers. Nip the situation in the bud by being the first person at the table to order. You might even make your companions rethink their indulgent menu picks.
3. Pay attention to portions:
Restaurant portions are often bigger than anything you’d serve yourself at home. (And they’ve been growing for years.) If you find yourself getting full when you’re halfway through, ask the server to pack the rest up to go. Then, you won’t overstuff yourself by picking, and you get an extra meal out of it. Who said there was no such thing as free lunch (the next day)?
4. Refuse refills:
They’re a good deal for your wallet—but a bad bet for your belly. In one study, people ate 73 percent more soup when the bowl was secretly refilled as they slurped. As much as you’d like another complimentary basket of bread or another drink, a polite “no thanks,” is the way to go. We promise, the waiter won’t be offended.
Wishing you well,
P.S. Know you could use help? I can help you too figure out what’s getting in the way between you and better choices. Let’s have a chat about how integrative health coaching works and find out if working together is a good fit. I offer a complimentary session and scheduling is easy with my online booking system: Schedule Now