After a lot of weight loss diet fads have come and gone over the years, most nutritionists have realized that the most sustainable long-term solution for a healthy and lean body is a simple, balanced diet. However, maintaining such a diet means exercising discipline and portion control, especially with regards to eating out without compromising your weight loss efforts.
Food is everywhere these days, and with busy jobs and multiple responsibilities, people are increasingly beginning to rely on restaurants and food chains. However, with the emphasis on taste over health, eating out for weight loss is a big challenge. Here are some strategies that should work.
The Danger of Malls and Movie Theaters
A shopping trip to the mall is invariably followed by a visit to the food court. Similarly, a movie outing feels incomplete without a soda and popcorn. However, did you know that a large tub of popcorn and soda, or a steak meal with fries can load you with 1,000 – 1,200 calories? Furthermore, cream rolls, sandwiches, shakes and even some flavored coffees all measure in at over 500 calories each. In other words, a single fun outing can disrupt your weight loss efforts without you even realizing it.
Carry Healthy Snacks
So, the next time you go for a movie or shopping, carry a couple of healthy snacks with you, such as a few pieces of fruit or a handful of nuts. This will keep the hunger pangs away, and when you step into the food court, you will find it quite easy to exercise portion control. Also, remember to keep yourself hydrated. It is easy to forget to drink water in an air-conditioned mall, but your body may interpret thirst as hunger, thus making you overeat.
Junior Sizes are the Best Bet
Now you may be wondering what portion control really means with a food court meal or a popcorn combo. Very simply, think ‘small’ or ‘junior’, as far as helpings go. Portion sizes have increased over the years, and what was considered a fair helping for an adult a generation ago, is now considered ‘kid’s size’, ‘junior size’. No wonder, Americans are getting fatter!
Value-for-money Deal is a Trap!
By restricting yourself to small burgers, sandwiches, popcorn tubs or meals, you will be able to enjoy the taste and still exercise portion control for weight loss. Whatever you do, never fall for the temptation of value-for-money combos, which charge little for a soda or a large portion of fries. It may be lucrative in dollars, but it will only add more meat to your belly! By the same token, you should also avoid buffets!
Weight Loss while Eating Out at Restaurants
With a growing number of people tackling obesity, a lot of restaurants have also become calorie conscious, and have special menu items for people on a diet. So, don’t hesitate to ask your server for the lightest and most nutritious choices.
The entrees at dinner are always larger than lunch servings, so you can even ask specially for lunch-time portions. A lot of restaurants entertain such requests. Another effective strategy, if you want to lose weight even while you eat out, is to ask your server to pack half your meal for take-out, and only have the remainder at the table. If you eat slowly and patiently, you may realize that half a serving is enough for your meal. The idea of portion control for weight loss is to eat as much as your body requires, and not out of greed.
With these strategies, you will be able to enjoy some nice food without compromising your weight loss efforts.
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