We all do it. We go to restaurants too frequently and end up over eating. Is there a way to stop this and thus, stop the weight gain?

As you are quite familiar, restaurant portions seem to be getting larger and larger. The only way to stop gaining weight is to eat less, not more. On average, restaurant portions are 2-3 times more than what you need in terms of required calories. Below are some tips to help reduce the gain:

Request a takeout box/doggie bag right away
Ask for a takeout box as soon as your food arrives. Once you have it, split the meal in half and put one portion in the box and eat the remaining.

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Have your plate removed as soon as you are done eating
If you do not want to take food out of the restaurant, as soon as you’ve finished eating a satisfactory portion of food, i.e., you begin to feel full then, have the server remove your plate from the table. Because face it, if it stays, you’ll just keep picking at it while other finish eating. You won’t’ be hungry, it’s just a natural thing to do. So, have the plate removed.

Pay attention to fullness
As you eat, how do you feel? Develop a self-scale to check, say from 1-5. If 5 is stuffed then, let your body tell you when you should stop. A word of caution, this only works if you eat at a normal/slower pace. If you eat quickly, you’ll feel full quickly and will have likely overeaten before you can prevent too much calorie intake. It’s simply a way to limit eating too much at one time.

Dessert Time
When dessert time comes, like all else, these menu items are getting larger too and they are real calorie bombs. Split the dessert with a friend or take half of it home. You’ll satisfy your sweet tooth without eating another 1,000 calories over your daily calorie budget.

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Half portions
In many restaurants you can get a half or what is sometimes called a lunch portion. It has less calories because it’s smaller and it’s generally less costly. So, a half portion works great if you don’t want to take food home and reduce calories at the same time.

Following are additional tips:
• Don’t go to the restaurant starving – like shopping you’ll get/eat more;
• Eat a healthy plate – half a plate of veggies, ¼ protein, ¼ grains;
• Fill up on veggies and water – this will leave less room for calorie bombs;
• Finish eating last – doing so will help you eat slower and thus, feel full at the appropriate time;
• Eat healthy and stay healthy;
• Keep tempting food off your plate – cheese cake, French fries, and other goodies;
• Limit alcohol – sugar alcohols have 7-calories per gram and serve as an immediate food source storing other calories as fat;
• Order an appetizer or kid’s meal as your entrée – it’s smaller than adult menus;
• Remove the basket of bread or chips – these have too many calories;
• Skip the all-you-can-eat buffet – this is a guarantee to overeat – stay away;
• Stay away from ‘bottomless’ drinks – particularly sugary soda; and
• Stop justifying overeating – vacation, wasted food, etc. are all excuses – order small, eat small.

Watching the little things, without over splurging will help you reduce weight gain from eating out, which has become more popular multiple times per week. Don’t be a victim of oversized portions – you are in control!

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