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May 26, 2006 07:20 PM

How do those of you that eat out often not gain weight?

  • t

Are you gym addicted? portion controlled? what is it?

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  1. Yes and yes. Despite all the various fads and claims, the only way to maintain your weight is to burn as many calories as you take in.

    Portion control is especially important -- most restaurants serve much bigger portions than a person should eat on a regular basis. Most good diet plans will give you various techniques for figuring out what a "real" portion should be.

    Other ways to eat less when eating out are to share portions with your dining companions and to *talk* with your dining companions so that you eat more slowly and don't over order because your body hasn't realized how much it's already consumed. Don't feel like you have to order an entree -- maybe an appetizer (or two, if you were going to order one and an entree) will be just as good (or better: in a lot of restaurants I know, the appetizers are more interesting than the entrees).

    A couple of other tricks are to avoid consuming "unmindful" calories, like automatically emptying the bread basket while you're waiting for your order (my downfall is chips in a Mexican place -- I eat the whole basket and then when my entree comes I'm not hungry!) or drinking several high-calorie beverages (coke, beer, some cocktails) -- a lot of people don't take the calories in their beverages into account when they think about how much they ate, and they can add up.

    As for exercise, aerobic exercise burns more fat while you're exercising, but weight training (or strength training, as they prefer to call it these days) builds muscle mass that will burn more calories 24/7, so you should include it in your gym regimen. Adding muscle mass means you might not lose weight, but you'll be losing fat, and your clothes will show it, even if your scale doesn't.

    And finally, walk to and/or from the restaurant, or take a walk after your meal (which will also help your digestion). A lovely dinner and a walk in the moonlight -- what could be better?!

    1. Actually I eat less in restaurants - at home it's so easy to have 'seconds' and to just load up my plate with large portions.

      In restaurants I usually don't order dessert and will share a couple of bites. For my palate, most desserts are not that great after a couple of bites anyway.

      Do lots of walking if you live in a big city like New York. That helps too. That's how I also discover great restaurants! ;)

      1. The trend of "small plates" is very helpful. But if I go to a place with standard huge restaurant portions, I share, or take part of it to go--usually good for one or two more meals at home or work.

        Not a big fan of fried foods, so I usually avoid those. If the server asks if I want bread, I say no thanks.

        It's good to plan ahead...if I'm really in the mood for dessert, I only have an appetizer beforehand.

        And...walk everywhere!

        1. I don't have a car and walk a lot. If I stopped doing this, I think I would gain 20 pounds in just a few months.

          1. planning and exercise. numer 1 - look at the meal in its entirety, not individual courses. if you have a fattier than average app, then look to balance with a lighter entree, take advantage of fish and summer. if an entree looks great, lighten up on the app. say no to the dessert menu, do not even look at it, i have never met one that did not have at least one "gotta have." anti-chowhound advise number 2 - no booze. look at the calories. number 3 - exercise, in a big city try to walk, to and from the restaurant or take a nice walk after. likewise try to hit the gym regularly, and while your sweating it up don't fret about what you ate the night before, but think about what you can eat the following night because you are being good and pumping iron.