If you’ve ever visited a farm or been around pigs, you know how they eat their meals: out of a tough. Buffet style eating is a similar act. The food is all piled right in front of you and you can come and go as you please, getting as much as you want. There’s so much variety of food, it’s hard to resist trying it all. Unfortunately, if you struggle with overeating and are trying to lose weight, buffets can be a major diet pitfall. You may think you’re getting a deal by eating at an “all-you-can-eat restaurant” but the potential for calorie overload is staring you in the face.
In the event you’re working towards weight loss, you may do well to avoid buffets altogether. But if this isn’t possible (there’s a buffet meal at your nephew’s wedding or you have to attend an office lunch at the nearby Chinese buffet), then you’ll have to use the following tricks that the boot camp in Portland wants you to try to resist the temptations lining the buffet.
As you enter the venue, ask the hostess for a seat as far away from the buffet as possible. Having to walk those extra feet might deter you to some degree.
When possible, sit in a location where you can’t see the food. By sitting in a position where food isn’t visible, you may not think about revisiting the buffet as often. If a distant or out-of-sight seat isn’t available, at least choose to sit with your back facing the food. Not seeing the food may be just has helpful as being far away from it.
Scout Your Options
Research has shown that thin people are more likely to peruse the buffet options before choosing what to put on their plates. Overweight folks are more prone to go down the line and pick and choose as they go. This method makes it hard to say no to each dish.
So as you approach the smorgasbord of food, take your time and walk around to see what foods are available before you start piling it on your plate. As you walk, decide which option looks best before getting in line and choosing your plate. Then, head straight for what you decided on. This way, you’ll be more likely to eat less. Remember—you don’t need to eat three main dishes on top of salad, bread, and dessert!
After you’ve scouted out what looks appealing on the buffet, it’s time to choose your plate. If there are various sized plates available, choose the smallest. Our minds are often bigger than our stomachs. If you see a plate full of food, your mind may be tricked into thinking you’re getting plenty to eat. Smaller plates will help you eat right-sized portions and therefore less food.
As you eat, it takes an average of 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that it’s full. This means: take your time as you eat. If you chew and swallow fast (overweight people often do), your mind doesn’t have time to know that it’s full and you’ll head back towards the buffet for seconds, thirds, or even fifths. Chew slowly, savor each bite, and enjoy conversation with your tablemates. Then use some self-control and stop eating when you’re full.
If headed to an Asian-style buffet, choose chopsticks over a fork. Studies have shown that using chopsticks helps you avoid overeating. This may be due to the fact it’s difficult to eat a large bite and they are trickier to use.
Water Up! Eating at a buffet? The Portland boot camp says to skip the soda and fill up on water. It’ll keep you from drinking more unnecessary calories and can also help you fend off excessive hunger that takes you back to the buffet line time and again.