There is friendly chatter in the air while waiters and waitresses bustle around. As you and your girlfriends stare at your menus, your stomach begins to turn and your heart beats faster than usual. You know it’s coming, and now that you’re not in the security of your own home where a kale salad is your friend, you begin to feel doomed. Erica on the right orders a sirloin steak and baked potato with extra butter and sour cream, and Jenna on your left orders chicken parmesan. It’s your turn, and with all of your might, you muster up the courage to order that salad with the balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Just when you thought you were in the clear after ordering, out comes the complementary bread. You defend your thighs, but your mouth begs to differ. Erica grabs a piece and dips it in the olive oil, and instantly your inner voice justifies everything you’re about to do. So, you take that bread and dip! With every bite, you chew the guilt and constitute this as “cheat food.” You are officially eating under the influence!
It is incredibly hard to make changes to your eating habits and stick to it; it’s especially difficult to do so under the influence of others. While it’s easy to stay on track when you’re alone or at home in your calorie-friendly kitchen where you have all the control, it is another story when you’re surrounded by friends who order items that make you rue the day you began dieting. Things to keep in mind when you find yourself in this situation: be the first to order, start eating last, pace yourself, slow and steady, and most importantly, be honest with yourself.
When you are the first to order, you will have skipped hearing the delicious details your friends will ask for when ordering, like extra cheese, dressing, or sauce on top. You can take control, order the calorie-friendly meal, and stick to your instincts. Next, by waiting till you’re the last to begin eating, you have slowed down the process and are less tempted to pick at complementary food like chips or bread. As you pace yourself, really try to enjoy your company instead of burying your fingers in the dip cup with mindless chatter. Finally, be honest with yourself and set your own boundaries. Whether you’re out with friends, family, or clients, you are in charge of what you consume, so do yourself a favor and make it easier to stand firm. Take control now, and don’t get caught up eating under the influence. Your body will thank you later! W