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as a chowhound how do you keep from getting fat???

Back in the day, I could eat whatever I wanted - no as I close in on 4o and have had 2 kids, my metebolism has changed and I can no longer eat with abandon (although I love to). Even with watching what I eat and exercising, I still feel like it is a battle - there is so much I want to eat and cook. I live in Brooklyn, so there is always a new restaurant to try, interesting ingredients to cook with, a new food stand with a delicious something or other... any suggestions on how to enjoy food and continue to fit through the door at the restaurants?

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  1. Without regular exercise, I'd be huge. I coach/teach three sports (two seasonal, one year-round), and I'm also a referee in one of them (soccer). Since my son has recently taken an interest in cycling, he's been dragging me along on 25-40 mile rides, too.

    At meal times, I *must* get up soon after I'm finished eating (that is, when I start to feel full irrespective of how much may be left on my plate). If I sit there with food in front of me, I'll continue to pick at my food until it's finished. At home, that means I get up and clear my own dishes, and if the rest of the family is still eating, I'll return to the table and drink my water while they eat. Not exactly the most polite behavior, but it keeps me from overeating.

    1. I revoked my membership in the Clean Plate club...rule is also to taste and savor every bite (even if it's only soup), not inhale. Eat about a third of your serving, and take home the rest...even if it means eating only 2 of your five scallops...also talk alot during the meal, it slows down your eating...if you're against carrying out a doggie bag, share with your dining partner or leave it behind. Also always share desserts. I don't eat red meat or poultry, so that may help me out, but I sometimes will adhere religiously to the "no white food (bread, rice, potatoes)" program if I feel the pants getting a little snug. A vigorous morning walk...and oh, take a DANCE class, any dance class, it's easy and fun exercise! When I did Lindy Hop and line dancing a few times a week, and practiced at home, it was the best fitness program ever. I also have a horse, so riding plus mucking out a stall probably doesn't hurt.

      1. Well I resigned myself to adding a few pounds! I'm 54 now and have put on about 30 pounds from what I weighed in my 20's. When I hit 140, I started walking 3 miles, 5 times a week and waited for the pounds to melt away but I still gained a few more (menopause!) Sure I wish I weighed what I did in my 20's but oh well, I'm not going to live on rice cakes and undressed salads. In many cultures it is still the wealthier and healthier individuals that weigh more (up to a point, I know). Gaining a few pounds comes with aging too. And I am a believer that your body has a natural set point for weight - hopefully I have hit that now and I can still get thru the doors of my favorite restaurants. Good luck with keeping the weight off but I hope you don't have to pass up too much good chow!

        1. Lots of good suggestions in the vein of "eat less/exercise more" but the other thing I do is be mindful of what I'm eating (I can mentally calculate how many calories I've taken in) and practice "deficit eating" in advance of a big meal (I cut back a couple of days before the big meal if possible). I've always kind of taken the point of view that I have to cut back 2 days for each day of overeating. I've been within a 3-lb range for 20 years and I don't have great metabolism.

          1. Try all the new restaurants and ingredients you want, but watch the portions. A great way to do that in restaurants is sharing everything. I usually share an appetizer and dessert, but get my own entree. But it would still be enough food if we shared everything. I like the sharing/small portion approach because you still get to eat everything you want. Besides, the 10th bite of something is never as exciting as the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, so you really don't lose out. I also avoid drinking too much alcohol...you can drink an amazing number or calories without realizing it, and personally I would rather spend my calories and money on food not drink. Another thing I sometimes do is balance splurge meals with low-calorie meals...I might eat healthy on weekdays, then eat whatever I want on the weekends, so it all balances out. Or eat really healthy for 2 out of 3 meals in a day.