By Team Best Life
It’s a simple fact: Your family, friends, and coworkers can make or break your attempts to eat healthfully or lose weight. In fact, a recent review study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that participants who were told that others were making a low-calorie or high-calorie food choice were more likely to make a similar food choice.
You know how it is when one of your dining companions offers to split an order of potato skins or a slice of chocolate cake? You feel pressure to agree, even if you’re not in the mood for it. Likewise, when your tablemate orders a salad with grilled chicken, you’re less inclined to order the deluxe cheeseburger.
Ideally, you’d use your own internal cues to know when to put your fork down. But it can be easy to get distracted, especially when you’re dining out or with others. Use the tips below to eat well no matter where you eat or who’s at your table.
Focus on you. Try not to get wrapped up in what everyone else is ordering or eating. If you can sneak a peek at the menu and pick out one or two healthy dishes prior to arriving at the restaurant, that might help limit others’ influence on your choice. When someone asks you if you want to share, simply say, “Thanks, but I’m actually in the mood for _______.”
Use the hunger scale. This handy tool, which assigns a number value to your hunger or fullness, can help prevent overeating. At the beginning of the meal, give yourself a rating from 1 to 10, where 1 is starving and 10 is uncomfortably full. Check in with yourself throughout your meal. When you get to a 5 or 6, put your fork down. Are other people still eating? Ask the waitress to wrap your plate, sip some water and use the time to socialize.
Surround yourself with healthy eaters. If you’re going to be influenced by others, you might as well choose to hang out with people who are going to help you reach your goals. That’s not to say you can’t spend time with your dessert-loving friends—you just may want to do so at places that don’t serve food.