stop overeating

Why It's Easy to Overeat When Eating Out

And 7 Solutions to Keep Your Appetite in Check

eating healthierMy SuperBetter quests to eat healthier have come back, and today's question is to evaluate why it's so easy overeat when eating and to come up with solutions to those reasons. For the purpose of this exercise, I'm going to define eating out as actually sitting down at the restaurant or fast food joint to eat. This isn't going to include takeout, delivery, or eating the leftovers the next day. Here are two main reasons why it's so easy to overeat, and 7 solutions you can do to stop yourself from eating too much the next time you choose to indulge (hint: one of these solutions isn't to stop eating out all together. That's just no fun and everyone deserves a little fun in life):

Portions are Huge, and No One Wants to Waste

Sometimes, the best places to eat out offer huge portions at a great price. Others upsell, where for just a dollar more you get a larger drink or an extra side. Every now and then, it's just a lot of food. The point is that it's easy to overeat when eating out because, well, there's a lot of food to eat. Here are a few solutions to the huge portions problem:

  1. Don't Go for the Upsell - Sure you get something more for just a dollar more, but you also save a dollar by sticking with your original order.
  2. Cut the Liquid Calories - Drink water and water only. It fills you up without adding to the calorie count. A bonus trick is to drink a whole glass of water before having your meal, whether at the restaurant or before you go.
  3. Be Willing to Take Something Home - Some people have a thing against leftovers, which is just stupid. Another excuse I hear is, "this doesn't reheat well." If it's delicious, and you can't eat it all, then just take it home. I like the idea of having a second meal that I don't have to cook and can just throw in the microwave.
  4. Stop Eating When You Are Full - If there isn't enough there to take home for an additional meal, then you don't have to eat it all. The best way to avoid overeating is not overeat, and to not force yourself to clean your plate because that's the right or polite thing to do.

It's Easy to Go Overboard with Dessert/Appetizers/the Free Bread etc.

Another way to overeat is to order too much food by having additional courses, or not paying attention to all those rolls, bread sticks, fill-in-the-blank free food in the basket. Here are a few solutions to that problem:

  1. Split the Dessert- Sometimes, the desserts can be pretty big themselves. Desserts are part of the fun when eating out, and eating out should be fun. To avoid overeating, split the dessert with someone. If it's something like cake or cheesecake, then only eat half and save the other half for another day (I grant that might be hard to do with ice cream).
  2. Skip It All Together - Part of the reason to eat out is to have dessert, or to try that delicious new appetizer.  But, the additional courses don't help if you're trying to watch your weight and not overeat. Instead, pass and eat all of your main course.
  3. Ask the Waiter/Waitress to Stop Refilling the Bread - No one thinks to do this because it's turning away free stuff, and probably because no one thinks to do this. But, if you're full, or if you want to avoid overeating, then let that food go to someone else.