Walk Away from the Buffet!
The hazards of pig-out portions.
Published: January 29, 2011
By Arnold Bull
How to resist the urge to supersize.
Restaurants were an important part of my life as a traveling business executive on an unlimited expense account. Now, however, finding a restaurant that meets my particular dietary requirements is getting harder all the time. There seems to be universal competition to see who can provide the fattiest, saltiest, and least nutritious appetizers with an aroma that most diners can’t seem to resist, and not all eateries offer a low-calorie or nonfat salad dressing. It’s no wonder our country is going through an obesity crisis!
For some reason, portions served in many establishments today are far too large. Have you noticed the recent proliferation of the “doggie bag” phenomenon, evident even in upscale gourmet restaurants? What you used to sheepishly take home in a brown paper bag years ago now comes in a custom-made, hard plastic container, which you can casually carry out to enjoy as another gourmet meal tomorrow! How about the ubiquitous fast-food restaurants that proudly name their menu items “Big Mac,” “Whopper,” “Super,” “Mega,” and so on. And where does one go to get a “small” soda that is under 18 or 20 ounces any more? From these gargantuan portions, our kids are getting a head start on how to pig out, clogging their arteries and developing a lifelong tendency to overeat.
That leads me to the movie-theatre refreshment counter, which is an abomination in excess. In the old days, you could leave the concession stand and head for your seat with a bag of popcorn in one hand and a drink in the other. Today the soda comes in a 32-ounce container, and the popcorn in a one-gallon tub. Now you head for your seat, both arms wrapped around your purchases, with a mouthful of paper napkins (and, need I add, a much lighter wallet)! And I ask: Who needs the discomfort of a full bladder while watching a hot love scene or a knockdown, drag-out fight?
By the same token, I always get a great kick out of the size-18 matrons who laughingly exclaim in the front of an overloaded buffet, “Hey, come on—this is a special occasion, so we can splurge a little. . . what’s the harm?” Well, if they’re like so many of us, these ladies have extended families that number into the 20s and 30s, so there’s apt to be a special occasion virtually every other day. There are countless birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, christenings, and bar and bat mitzvahs—and don’t forget Thanksgiving, Easter, Passover, Christmas, wakes, funerals, the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, labor Day, and on and on! I’m sorry, but if you can’t exert a bit of will power and still enjoy the celebration, then forget about that slim waistline you’ve been dreaming about.
Arnold Bull is in his mid-80s and recognized nationally and internationally as America’s Oldest, Active Certified Aerobics Instructor.
Gwen Shamblin of the Weigh Down Workshop says to ask for the carry out when the meal is brought to the table and cut it in half and place that half in the carry out before beginning to eat. She also suggests splitting a meal with another person. She also suggests drinking a small glass of orange juice before going out to eat to take the edge off of your hunger. I've heard it suggested that at a buffet or smorgasbord to walk around the table and see everything that is available and decide what you especially want. I always try to get things when I am out that I cannot make at home. I don't get green beans - they take up room that could be used for something really wonderful. It is also easier to just eat somewhere other than a smorgasbord - why put yourself through it? Remember at McDonald's you can order a Happy Meal too!! Can't afford Jenny Craig or Nutri-System? I read that their success is based on portion control. You can buy Lean Quisine and other brands of portion controlled prepared meals and do the same thing.