Are you influenced by your friend’s eating choices when you eat out with them? Drink a little more alcohol? Indulge a bit more than if dining alone?
It turns out obesity may just be a “socially transmitted disease.” In other words, social groups influence one another’s eating and exercise habits. Although a recent study just came out showing this, did we really need a study to tell us we eat more when we’re with our friends? (“Another round of drinks for the table!” sound familiar?) However, the study does call attention to social overeating so we can strategize and prevent the weight gain that comes with dining with friends. Here are our top 4 tips.
1.Make a foolproof plan by always having a veggie pre-meal before you go so that no matter what is ordered, you won’t be ravenous and devour it all. Also have warm tea before you go to help pacify you so you’ll eat less. Tea contains the amino acid theanine which brings on a mental calmness and relaxation so you are better able to make a rational decision.
2. Set a three bite rule. Typically in a group many foods that are ordered are calorie bombs. Allow yourself three bites of each of the unhealthy items and eat more of the better options. You won’t be hungry because of your pre-meal so this will be easier. Having limits set in advance will help to keep you in control. As for your veggie pre-meal, load up on any veggie that will fill you with nutrients and fiber, but without the calories. Good examples: Bell peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, celery, carrots, etc.
3. Be a leader, not a follower. Take charge and order for the group. Make healthy suggestions that won’t set you up to feel guilty and heavy after your meal.
4 .Plan in advance what you will and will not eat to set limits and not just eat willy nilly. For example, if you go to your meal knowing that you’re following the 3-bite rule when it comes to the unhealthy items and that you’ll start your meal with a veggie based soup or salad, and eating more of the healthy items, then you’ve got a plan!