One of the biggest obstacles I hear people face when maintaing a healthy lifetsyle is when we eat out at restaurants.
Yes, eating out can potentially trip us up and throw us off, however, with mindfulness, eating out doesn't have to be a saboteur.
Firstly, it's important to arrive at the venue with an appetite, not necessarily ravenous, but with a good desire to eat. This is because, if overly hungry, we may be tempted to devour the entire bread basket and butter stick, before the waiter has even taken our order. This is No Bueno! Often,
In fact, I will often have a cup of tea or soup and perhaps a protein snack such as cheese if I need to before going out to eat, especially when I know the service may be slow and by the time we actually get to eat, it will potentially be way later than what my internal body clock is used to.
If need be, pack a handful of almonds in a zip lock bag, and put them in your purse, just in case your blood sugar gets really low and you becopme a "hangry" mess at the dinner table. You can always go to the bathroom and discreetly eat the almonds to help you survive a hypoglycemic attack.
When we are training ourselves to become mindful eaters, the intial training period, when dining out at a restaurant, will require extra attention and awareness. Rest assured, eventually we can eat mindfully almost without effort and almost without thinking.
Often times, when dining out with friends, a romantic date, family members or even work aquaintences, there may be some level of anxiety, social phobias or even excitement. This is a landmine opportunity to self sabotage if we have the tendancy to eat past comfort and finish off the last bits on our friends plates too. Again, awareness is key here. You and you only, are in cahrge of where your hand wanders.
Keep in mind, when ordering food, the waiters job is to upsell and entice you to order more, including alcoholic and sugar laden drinks, appetizers, bread, desserts etc. However, you are the one in charge of your order, so don't feel pressurred to order more than you need. Also, don't be afraid to share plates, drinks and desserts either.
Often times, when I dine out, I will share wine, fries and dessert with my husband. Often, enough is as good as a feast. After the first few sips and bites, the pleasure factor starts to decline, so next time, pay attention to how the pleasure factor diminishes. The flavour and pleasure really pops at the beginning, so consider stopping after three mouthfuls of dessert, knowing that you can always order another serving tomorrow or the next day.
I tend not to order sugar laden drinks with my meal, because I would rather chew my sugar, as in, eat dessert instead. This is a personal choice. You need to weigh up what's important to you. However, keep in mind that drinking too much with your meal can stretch out your stomach, potentially making you feel bloated and drinking to much fluid with yoyur meal can also interfere with digestion.
Having said that, if I'm in a warm climate and I'm thirsty, I will sip a large drink, such as an ice-tea, or ice-coffee, however I always dilute it with water and lots of ice, especially if its overy sugary. Better still, if they offer a stevia sweetened beverage, this is a good option. ersonally I avoid aspartame laden drinks, since this type of sweetener is a known carcinogen.
As a side note, I would also make a conscious effort to avoid clothes with elasticized wastes when eating out, as its far too easy to shoot past comfortable satisfaction when you don't physically feel your pants getting tighter as you eat. A zipper and button serves as a gentle reminder that you have had enough to eat.
As a side note, bear in mind that our stomachs, at rest, are about the size of our clenched fist. Therefore, more than a fistful or so of food (imagine, though that non starchy vegetables, such as lettuce, is condensed down) will stretch out youyr stomach. The stomach will keep stretching if we continue to overfeed it.
This is why stomach banding is so effective, because we literally are forced to stop eating, due to the reduced size of our stomach pouch.
Eating out is a wonderful opportunity to socialize with friends and colleagues. If you are trying to reach a healthy weight, there is np need to avoid these situations.
With increased mindfulness and attention to your body cues, there is no reason why yoyu cant walk out of the restaurant feeling pleasantly content, without having felt the pressure to overeat past satisfaction.
Remember, no one can force food on you, and if they do try, then you may need to questions whther these people really have your best interests at heart.
Finally, be sure to order what is is you really fancy, rather than ordering around what you really want and then going home and eating more to make up for that feeling of deprivation. In my experience, its far wiser to not eat around a craving, just go straight for it, enjoy it with maximum pleasure, and go home feeling content, minus the guilt.
G'day. Welcome to my blog, where I write about mindful eating. My name is Sally Asher and I'm a wellness author of three books. I hold a Health Science degree and have a passion for behavioral change. I live between South Florida and Melbourne with my husband and two teenagers. My husband and I run a real estate investment company. I love to help people eat mindfully and reconnect with the innate, intuitive sense of eating that we are all born with.