Frequently eating out and consuming high-calorie foods in large portions at restaurants can contribute to excess calorie intake and weight gain. But a new study in the “Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior” says that individuals can eat out and still lose weight.
U.S. researchers enrolled 35 healthy, women aged 40 to 59 years who eat out frequently. They took part in a six-week program called “Mindful Restaurant Eating,” which helps people develop skills to reduce caloric and fat intake when eating out. The focus of the program was to prevent weight gain, not help with shedding pounds.
These days, it is important to maintain a health abdominal waistline, as added fat boosts the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. In the study, women using the mindfulness tips dropped significantly more pounds, had lower calorie and fat intake and overall had an easier time maintaining weight while eating out.
Plus, in case you missed it, here is how mindfulness training could help you keep the pounds off: How to Shed Weight Without Dieting.
The mindfulness group dropped 1.7 kg of body weight in six weeks despite not dieting. They also reduced their daily caloric intake by roughly 300 calories. Fewer calories seem to have been consumed at home as well, suggesting that mindfulness eating was also performed there. In those weeks, the number of times women ate out did not significantly decrease. So, they were able to manage weight while continuing their typical restaurant patterns.
What it shows is that if you want to stay in good shape but love to eat out, it takes some skills. Mindfulness is essentially staying cognizant of what you are ordering, eating more slowly, opting out of desserts and high-calorie beverages, and selecting entrees that do not have hidden cream, butter and salt.
This study addresses the importance of developing creative solutions in preventing weight gain. It starts by simply knowing that restaurants are high-risk environments for unhealthy eating. Developing restaurant eating skills to manage intake in the high- risk restaurant food environment may be one of those solutions.