CMTs

February 27, 2008 at 1:57 am Leave a comment

Portion control is critical to my weight loss success, so I’ve developed a few Consumption Management Techniques (CMTs) to help me cut down on the number of calories I consume when I’m out to eat. Give one or all of ‘em a go and let me know what you think!

JUST SAY NO. Regardless of what’s on the menu, you ultimately decide what gets placed in front of you. Just Say No to those items you don’t want. If the sandwich comes with chili mayo, just say “no mayo”. If there are croutons and cheese on the salad, ask to get it without them.

Pros. If it’s not there in the first place, you probably won’t miss it… or the calories that come along with it.

Cons. They may mess up your request and include what you’ve told them not to. If it’s really egregious, send it back. You’re the customer; you have a right to receive what you’ve ordered. Otherwise, follow the tips in SET-ASIDE STRATEGIES.

THE PEPPER POUR. Sometimes you just want a few bites of something. For me, it’s typically sweets. I love to end a meal with a “bit of sweet”. Problem is, there’s no such thing as a “bit” of dessert in today’s restaurant portions. So, after you’ve enjoyed your three bites of pie, pour pepper on the rest of the piece. There’s no way you’re going to nibble on it now.

Pros. It’s practically full proof. Even extreme pepper lovers have their limits.

Cons. Your dining partners will undoubtedly think you’re strange for taking such a “drastic” measure to avoid eating. Also, if you do this to food friends have prepared for you, they’re liable to be offended.

GO BOX BASICS. We’ve all heard about getting a “to go box” right away and putting half your entrée or dessert into it before you even start eating. That’s a great strategy, but it needs to go one step further. Once you’ve put the extra food in the box, place the box somewhere out of your sight. If it’s in your eye line, you’re that much more likely to open it up and munch as the meal progresses. Also, if you think it’ll be too yummy for you resist once you get in the car, follow the tips in SET-ASIDE STRATEGIES.

Pros. You have cut your calorie consumption significantly, and you’ve got another gourmet meal to look forward to.

Cons. It’s easy to overeat later if you really like the food.

SAVVY SUBSTITUTION. Don’t hesitate to ask if you can substitute one item for another. I frequently get a side salad instead of fries with my entrées. This is a fairly common substitution request, but don’t stop there. Think outside the dinner plate! Even if the restaurant doesn’t advertise Egg Beaters on the menu, ask if they can use egg whites in your omelet. Request fresh fruit or celery instead of bread or potato chips. Ask for only the strawberry topping that normally comes on the New York Cheesecake. Whatever you’d like to substitute, ask.

Pros. You have the potential to create the perfect meal for you.

Cons. They may say no. A greater likelihood is that they’ll charge you extra. There’s not much you can do if they refuse, but for me, it’s worth it to pay a little extra to have a healthier, lower calorie meal.

SET-ASIDE STRATEGIES. The other day, I got a delicious salmon sandwich on a whole wheat bun. I immediately pulled the top half of the bun off and set it aside. (I’d already said no to the chili mayo, so I was all good there!) I also removed the croutons from the salad I substituted for the standard fries. Each item I pulled off went into a little pile on my bread plate. I quickly flagged the server down and asked her to remove that plate from the table. A whole bunch of calories gone… just like that! Now, I had asked not to have croutons on my salad, but they forgot. No biggie… I picked ‘em out. I hadn’t asked for half a bun because, somehow, that seemed hard to explain. So, I just took care of it myself.

Pros. Setting stuff aside is probably the strongest weapon in your consumption management arsenal because it works in a range of situations and is a great back-up for the other techniques that don’t work out.

Cons. It’s critical to have the set-aside items removed as soon as possible so they don’t end up back on your plate and then in your mouth.

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Entry filed under: coping strategies, tips & techniques. Tags: , , .

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