Dining Right

UT Researcher Creates Mindful Eating Program

Decadent pastas, warm bread baskets, gourmet desserts: eating out has always been every dieter’s enemy—but not anymore, thanks to a new “Mindful Restaurant Eating” program developed by UT associate professor of nursing Gayle Timmerman.

In her study, Timmerman took 35 women, ages 40-59, who ate out at least three times a week and revamped their eating out habits. The participants, who were mostly overweight or obese, were taught simple calorie-saving and healthy eating techniques.

The result: at the end of the six-week program, most of the women had lost 3-4 pounds, though the goal was to simply maintain their weight while eating out regularly.

The study participants used the following steal-worthy tips, courtesy of Timmerman, to achieve mindful restaurant eating.

Ask for a to-go box as soon as you order. When your meal arrives, slide half into the box before you start eating to prevent mindless overeating.

Go a la carte. Pick and choose the items you really want to avoid consuming calories from a side dish that’s just so-so.

Savor every bite. Slow down. Pay attention to what you’re eating and the pleasure you’re getting from it, and the meal will seem more satisfying.

Share. An oldie but a goodie: split a dish with a friend to halve your calorie intake (and your check).

Listen to your body. According to Timmerman, it takes a complete 20 minutes to start feeling full. Taking your time will prevent feeling stuffed after a restaurant meal.


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