Are you tired of going out to eat and feeling like you’ve undone all of your hard work towards a healthier lifestyle? 

Studies have shown that we consume an extra 250-500 calories when eating out…Yikes!

With summer around the corner–travel plans and eating out with friends, it’s more important than ever to develop a healthy restaurant mindset.

That’s why in this episode of Thin Thinking, we’ve got you covered. 

From pre-soup to post-nuts and everything in between, we’ll guide you through strategies to help you stay on track while dining out. With a little thin thinking sprinkled in for flavor, you can enjoy your meal without sabotaging your health goals.

As someone who has traveled and worked in the service industry, I know that dining customs vary all over the world. But regardless of where you are, our tips and tricks will help you make healthier choices no matter what the menu looks like.

So whether you’re heading out for a quick bite or a fancy dinner, grab your menu and tune in to this episode of Thin Thinking. Your waistline will thank you!

Subscribe to our mailing list and get a FREE 15-minute hypnosis session that will help you Shift Out of Your Sugar Cravings. 

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Rita Black: 250 to 500 more calories. That is what studies have shown that we consume that many more calories when we are eating out. Since the world has been recovering from the pandemic, and more and more people are filling their social schedules with dining out with friends or grabbing that quick bite during a busy working week, we have noticed, in addition to an expanded social calendar, there may be some other expansions that are not so thrilling. But, never fear. In today's Thin Thinking Podcast, we have got you covered. I am gonna walk you through strategies on how to go through the entire restaurant experience from pre soup to post nuts and then some, all with some Thin Thinking strategies and mindsets sprinkled in there for zest and flavor. So grab that menu and come on in.

New Speaker: Did you know that our struggle with weight doesn't start with the food on your plate or get fixed in the gym? 80% of our weight struggle is mental. That's right. The key to unlocking long-term weight release and management begins in your mind. Hi there, I'm Rita Black. I'm a clinical hypnotherapist weight loss expert, bestselling author, and the creator of the Shift Weight Mastery Process. And not only have I helped thousands of people over the past 20 years achieved long-term weight mastery, I am also a former weight struggler, carb addict and binge eater. And after two decades of failed diets and fad weight loss programs, I lost 40 pounds with the help of hypnosis. Not only did I release all that weight, I have kept it off for 25 years. Enter the Thin Thinking Podcast where you too will learn how to remove the mental roadblocks that keep you struggling. I'll give you the thin thinking tools, skills, and insights to help you develop the mindset you need, not only to achieve your ideal weight, but to stay there long term and live your best life.

Rita Black: Hey there, my friend. I hope this Thin Thinking episode finds you healthy and happy. I know our audience comes from all over the world and from all age groups and nationalities, and I so love that we all come together today with the restaurant eating episode. I was thinking about how though everyone's experience of dining may be different all over the world, I've traveled a fair amount, so I know some customs that are different in other countries than here, like a salad as a final course in France, or never a cappuccino afternoon in Italy. And when I lived in England, I was shocked to learn how small the course sizes were. So when I moved back to the United States, I was shocked once again because I had gotten so used to these small portions that when we came home and I ordered a half a salad and it covered, you know, half the table.

Rita Black: It was a shocking experience. So as a former server, proudly so, who worked at many dining establishments all over the world, in fact in New York City, in the south on the West Coast, and even in England I spent many meetings before the doors opened at the restaurants, being trained on how to offer food and alcohol in a way that got people to order more. And with so many people, students, and clients going out more and more, as we head into the big summer social season, I'm really happy to offer you an episode for my archive on how to remain thin thinking while dining out. I think you're gonna find this really valuable. There is a lot in here that is just what, how to prepare, how to go through the actual experience itself and how to leave from the beginning to the end.

Rita Black: So I really hope you enjoy and get a lot from this episode. So here's from my perspective, the way that we normally eat out, you know, back in the day, restaurants used to be this special occasion. I remember being a kid growing up in the seventies in Seattle, Washington, and, you know, we only ate out for a birthday or, you know, maybe my family maybe ate out five times, six times a year. We would go out to breakfast after church on Sunday sometimes. But for the most part, eating out was expensive and we would, it would just be a celebration. And as time, and, you know, we would get pizza, we would go through the drive-through. There weren't a ton of drive-throughs, you know. In the seventies there was McDonald's, there were some, but it's not like it is now, right? We can eat out any night of the week.

Rita Black: Sometimes it's cheaper to eat out than to eat at home. You know? There's many, many types of eating out situations. So the way that I see eating out are, there are three different kinds of eating out strategies that you wanna have. One is just, it's a night of the week where you don't wanna cook or you know, it's, you don't have time to cook or you don't have food in your house to cook and you just go out and grab some food. You're going out with your family or you're going out with your friends, or you're going out by yourself. And it's just, it's not a celebration meal. It's just, I need to eat a meal. And so I'm eating, choosing to eat out or get takeout, right? Now, the crazy thing is with eating out, and I've heard this from many, many clients to know that, that I'm not, not bonkers saying this is that even those kinds of meals just walking into a restaurant, we feel we're kind of in celebration mode, right?

Rita Black: And so even those, you know, when I talk to people who, you know, maybe eat out with their family three times, four times a week, they say they just can't get away from this idea that I'm always, you know, going into a restaurant means I'm relaxing, I'm rewarding myself and I'm celebrating. So we end up eating way more than if we would had we eaten at home. But, so there's one way, there's that sort of just normal eating out night of the week that our strategy should really be to probably consume as many calories or as much food as we would at home or, you know, to have a certain focus and not to get into that reward eating brain. Now, the second way, you know, you could eat out would be a social special situation, right? So maybe you're going out with friends and it is like a you know, a night of the week that we're getting together and we're gonna go out with, we have these friends in LA, we joke because they are the most social people and we feel like we're on a list that they just cycle through because they'll call us every once in a while.

Rita Black: They'll say, you know, we will like to go out to dinner with you on Thursday night. And we're like, I, oh, they must have cycled through their social list and now it's our turn to go out with them. But like, they're, I mean, and I mean this in the most endearing way. They're lovely, lovely people, but they're so social. So, but you know, we go out to dinner with them and it's in an event because, you know, we don't see them that often. So we're going to a restaurant and we're sitting down. So that would be an event where maybe you are going to consume, you know, a drink, an alcoholic beverage or two, and you might be you know, consuming a few more calories because you are going out and it's a special occasion. And then the third event would be more the really special occasion where you're going out to like an event restaurant or you know, where it's such an amazing new restaurant, or it's a, it's a really fancy restaurant and it's like that big occasion, not like my wedding anniversary would, I would say is, is more in the second tier or, you know, like even for me, I'm probably not, you know, it gets, it's nice, we're going out.

Rita Black: We're probably gonna have a glass of wine, but you know, we're not going to over-indulge. But then there's those like over-indulge. You know? It's going to be a really spectacular meal and it's a anniversary or it's a party, or it's the Christmas party at the restaurant. It's, you know, something bigger is going on. Okay? And the problem with all restaurant eating, like I said, is restaurants are stimulating. Research shows that we tend to eat 250 more calories, if not more, when dining out at a restaurant. So we really do need to prepare our minds before we even get to the restaurant, because believe me, restaurants are really booby trapped to get you to consume.

Rita Black: Now I know this not only from, you know, just being as somebody who helps people weight manage but I also know because I put myself through college waitressing and you know, and I say, you know, like in post-college, I even waitressed and catered.

Rita Black: And so I have a lot of experience in the food and beverage industry. So from the side of the server as well. And, you know, servers are told to go and sell food, right? They're there to get you more wine and sell you the al hors d'oeuvres and show you the desserts and make sure that you are gonna leave, you know, having spent money at that particular place. So, you know, and it's fun to go out to our restaurant. It's fun to be served. It's, it does feel rewarding, but we need to remember that leaving that restaurant feeling full, like we drank too much and ate too much is never a good time, right? Or waking up the next day and saying, why did I do that? You know, how many times have I, you know, woken up feeling full and bloated when I struggled with my weight all the time?

Rita Black: I mean, I would finish a waitressing gig at one restaurant and I go out with my friends to a late night restaurant and pig out and eat too much and drink too much and wake up feeling horrible the next day, swearing I'm gonna do different the next time. And of course I didn't. So when it comes to restaurant eating, we really need to start to prepare ourselves before we go out. So I wanna cover three solid strategies with you. One, preparing your mind before, which like I said, I feel like is the most important, how to stick with yourself during a restaurant experience. And then also briefly getting into having a plan for after the restaurant as well. For those of you who tend to go out and eat and then say, well, screw it since I ate out a bunch or ate a bunch at the restaurant, I might as well come home and make toast and eat that too.

Rita Black: So, and that was something that I would do. So first of all, to prepare your mind before the most important is you wanna have a practice play. Last weekend I talked about how to prepare for a three day weekend. And really as you get to know me and get to know thin thinking, so much of thin thinking is focused on preparing your mind ahead of time. Because the more you think things through, the more you have a strategy and a plan, the better things turn out for you. Okay? If you don't have a world, I'm sorry, if you don't have a plan, the world has one for you. And in restaurants, it's not a slimming plan, right? So going in and I'm not saying you have to have a specific, knowing exactly what you're gonna order plan, but planning your mind ahead of time.

Rita Black: Because here's the thing, once you enter into a restaurant, not only do you have your own beliefs and habits that just get trip wired in your brain, like automatic pilot, right? It's not that you're gonna be in control. Once the train has left the station, it's very hard to pull yourself back in. How can I, how many clients can I tell you have the best of intentions heading into that restaurant? They got the menu and they said, I don't know what happened, but I was going to order the fish and I order the macaroni and cheese. I just heard myself saying that, right? So if your brain is in the habit of particular behaviors, thinking that you are gonna change that behavior in the moment when the waiter is standing there, when the music is playing in the background, when the smells of all the restaurant goodies are wafting around you, think again my friend.

Rita Black: No, you want to come in with a plan in mind for what you wanna create. So I wanna dive into that. So one thing you wanna do before you even leave, sit down with your inner coach, right? Not your inner critic or inner rebel, cuz your inner critic is gonna tell you you're gonna fail. And your inner rebel is gonna say, well, what's the problem? Order the macaroni and cheese, right? But we want the inner coach who wants the best for you. And I want you to sit down with your inner coach and I want you to think of how you wanna leave that restaurant feeling, first of all, because again, I got into this last, in the last episode. So if you didn't hear the episode on three day weekends it's a great episode to listen to also about going out and being social.

Rita Black: But this is more specifically geared towards restaurants. You wanna really have a vision of how you wanna leave that restaurant feeling. Not just a vision of like what it's gonna look like, but what it's gonna feel like to leave that restaurant feeling light driving home or walking home feeling like you didn't eat too much, that you really took care of yourself, but you had a good time. That you had the perfect amount of food, you had the perfect conversations, that you connected with people. It wasn't just about the food, it was about everything else. Because restaurants are wonderful places where you can sit back, relax, enjoy music, enjoy the ambiance. I mean, at least some of them. I mean, I've been, I've real, you know, let's be honest, I've spent half my life in some pretty divey dumps. But I like those divey dumps.

Rita Black: We, my husband's really into eating, you know, like in fun little restaurants, in mini malls, you know a lot of people here in LA like to go to mini mall restaurants, you know, cuz they're family owned and they're small and you can usually get a really good meal for not that much money because let's face it, in Los Angeles, you can drop a pretty big dollar on a lot of these fancy pants restaurants around here, which are super fun to go to. But you know, let's be real. If you're a family living in Los Angeles, you make it work for you, if you know what I mean. But anyway, I digress. But you know, you wanna have a vision of how you want to feel and leaving that restaurant and having enjoyed yourself. Now here's something that you can do most of the time nowadays that I think is a huge help.

Rita Black: And that's look at the restaurant menu ahead of time. Now with the pandemic, most restaurants have put their menu online because they were all selling food online or they probably went out of business. So you can go and check out their menu. A lot of them are not gonna tell you the calories or the content, but some of them will. But you can have a look and really start to know what choices you are gonna have ahead of time and really start to think this through. This is going to get your brain starting to focus on what's gonna feel good for you to eat, meaning lighter, leaner, and you know, what are some of the choices maybe you wanna avoid. You know, our brain is a problem solver. So when you once you're looking at that menu with your friends, with the music, playing with the waiter standing there, it's a completely different experience for your brain.

Rita Black: Then it is sitting at home really with your best intentions for yourself in mind. So having that preview look at the menu, if not like, really kind of locking down and thinking about what you truly want to eat, it really, really will be very helpful for you to, to put that into place. So check out the menu and a lot of times like for a lot of times. For instance, my husband and I think might be going to Muo and Frank, which is this very old place in Hollywood, on Hollywood Boulevard. It's like been in movies before. It's like got the darkwood paneling and the waiters all have, you know, talk like this. What you gonna have? You're gonna have the steak, okay? You know, cuz it's a steak place, you get a martini and a steak. But we're gonna split a steak because the stakes are so much no, but also I, I joke, but, but no, the stakes are very expensive, but they're good.

Rita Black: But we will like probably split our meal and split some appetizers. And again, looking at the menu ahead of time allows you to start to get your creative brain going. Like, oh, how can I get a little bit of this? And a little bit of that, but not over-indulge. And also think through, you know the, you know, drink situation as well. I'm gonna get into that in a minute, but just look at the menu ahead of time. So you can plan to be successful for yourself. What you truly wanna have. Okay, so now who's coming with you to the restaurant? Do you need to manage their expectations? You know, a lot of times we are all going out in celebration mode if, if we're eating out with like four or more people and sometimes we get a little shy about our goals.

Rita Black: Like we don't want people to know that we're focusing on weight release. So we might just go with the flow and not want to, and I can't tell you how many people really get upset with themselves and feel a lot of regret for not, you know, making the choices that they really want to. So if you think it through ahead of time, you can also think through, like, if people say things like, are you on a diet? Why are you ordering that? Or, come on, let down your hair tonight. You look great, you lost some weight. You know, you can over-indulge, you know, like, you can think through what people are gonna say ahead of time so that you can come up with some powerful answers for them. One thing I always counsel, if you are in weight release mode and you're going out with people who probably aren't, if they start to question your, you know, what you want to eat, you know, the, I think the most powerful thing to say to them, you know, if they're like, are you on a diet?

Rita Black: Because if people say, yes, I'm on a diet, oh, don't be on a diet. We, because you know, the human psyche, everybody, nobody wants to feel judged, right? Your friends don't wanna feel like you're sitting there eating the salad, judging them for eating the fried calamari and the, you know, the three cheese burrito or whatever. They don't wanna have to think about that cuz they are wanting to disconnect and not think about that, right? So one way to really kind of overcome that social part of it is to say, oh, you guys go ahead. You know, like if you make them feel like, oh yeah, you guys go ahead and order that. I just, I'm avoiding, you know, whatever the thing is, I'm avoiding flour or I'm avoiding cheese right now because it's not making me feel good in the morning.

Rita Black: You know? Like your friends can't argue with food making you feel bad. I mean, the diet thing I think trips people up more than just saying, yeah, I'm avoiding eating that right now. It's just not sitting well with me. Or I might have an allergy to it or something. Which, you know, is kind of honest in a way when you're saying, you know, it doesn't make me feel good because yeah, when you eat fried calamari a whole plate of it and a three cheese burrito, who does feel good the next day? Probably very few people. So you don't have to lie, but you're just focusing on how you wanna feel, which also helps you reinforce what you want for yourself versus saying, I'm on a diet which sounds to you deprived and also sounds to them like, oh, that's not fun. You are not being fun, okay? So stick up for yourself and advocate for yourself, but you don't have to say you are on a diet.

Rita Black: And one way to avoid all of this is to order last. Because if you order last nobody's, everybody's ordered and gone on with their conversation, they're not gonna be sitting there listening to you, but if you order first, they might be. So just order last. Do you need a drink? Do you, would you like a drink? You know, Here's the thing, some people in our social circle, I can go out with friends and, you know, I don't even think about having a drink with them because it's just like, not what we're up to. We'll have a drink and then there's some people that I have a drink with, you know, and some people I need a drink to be with.

Rita Black: No, I'm kidding. But yeah, you know the alcohol thing is always a question. And definitely setting limits with yourself and thinking that through ahead of time is going to be important too. And, and here is a big question, and I think I brought this up in the last week's podcast too. How much alcohol do I need in order to have a good time? There seems to be a real limit on, you know, one glass maybe, you know, like, and again, I, for those of you who don't drink, this is, you can close your ears and not even listen to this right now, but one drink maybe, you know, socially loosens you up a bit. But after that, like drink in half, two drinks, it starts, the value starts to have a downward spiral effect. So, you know, thinking through when you might have that glass of wine or glass and a half of wine or splitting the second glass rather than you know, getting there.

Rita Black: And what happens a lot of times is we'll be hungry, we'll order a drink, the drink will come first. We'll drink that drink and it will hit our stomach. We'll have no food in our stomach, it will hit our brain, and then it hits a lot harder than if we've had a glass of water, maybe had a little food, and then we have that glass of wine. You're more likely not to overeat. You're more likely to not over drink if the first thing that hits your stomach isn't alcohol. So another thing that I am going to say is to maybe eat a little something before you go to the restaurant at some protein or something, just so that just in case you don't get served for a while just in case if you are gonna have that drink with your friends don't put a drink in on an empty stomach.

Rita Black: Your chances of overeating and over drinking are gonna go way up. And practice responses to the drinking thing too. If you need to, like, oh, you know, after a drink, one drink, I, you know, tomorrow I'll wake up with a splitting headache. You know? Don't let people bully you into disconnecting with yourself. You know? People, they have very good intentions, they want you to have a good time, but you know yourself. And if you've aligned yourself with yourself before you go out, chances are you're gonna be able to say no a lot more easily than if you just go into it hoping to not drink as much as you did the last time. You know, think it through and think, how do I want to leave this restaurant feeling both from a being full standpoint, but also an alcohol standpoint and create some strategies and just practice them ahead in your mind.

Rita Black: You know, all of this stuff that I'm talking about, practice it ahead in your mind. Practice your friends saying, Hey, have another one. Hey, don't order the salad. Let's order this. You know? And practice your comeback to that because if you do that ahead of time, chances are it will come out of your mouth rather than if you don't practice, it will feel a lot more awkward and chances are you are not going to say it. Okay? Have a goal for the outing other than food. I remember back when I went to the Tolo, did you guys ever go to Tolo? Do you even know what the hell a Tolo is? So back in my high school in our junior year the girls, well, I guess everybody, but it was the, my junior year I lost weight. Was it my junior year?

Rita Black: No, no. I take that back. It was not my junior year. I was way overweight in my junior year. My senior year I lost weight. Gosh. And it was the first time I was really able to like, I felt confident enough to ask a guy out to the Tolo because the Tolo was a girl's boy. So I asked a guy and he wasn't a boyfriend, he was just a guy from my math class. He was very cute. And my friend Melissa and I took two guys that we weren't, like, they weren't our boyfriends, so we felt really awkward. This was our kind of like our first date out and we got all dressed up. I hand, I sewed like on a sewing machine, my outfit. And and it was really exciting. So we went to a restaurant and I remember Melissa and I, we were really scared that we were gonna run out of conversation with these guys.

Rita Black: We didn't know because we were girls and we didn't really hang out with guys. And so, I mean, we had friends, but we were just like, we were afraid we were gonna get shy and stammer and not say anything. So we literally had a list, we sat on the same side of the table and we had this list of conversation topics that we had, like we kind of had underneath the table. Like if, you know, we ran out of something to say, we could, you know, ask them another question like, what do you think about the football team this year? Or what colleges are you thinking of going to? You know, like it was, it was like really pathetic. But anyway but yeah, no, I honestly, I still, when I go out with people, like, especially, you know, even with my husband, I'm like, what do we wanna, like, what do we wanna dig into conversation wise?

Rita Black: I think about the people that I'm going to go out with and it's like, what's up for them in their life right now? What's up for me? What's a common thing that we can really dig into? So the restaurant experience isn't just about food, but it is also about human connection. I think that when you go in with that sort of objective in mind, it can be super duper helpful. Alright, now now we, we've planned for our dinner experience. Good. Now we're gonna go to the dinner. We're going to, we're now imagine yourself at the restaurant and you sit down and you take a breath and you center yourself, right? So again, restaurants are very stimulating places. There's noise, there's the kitchen, there's your friends and conversation. We often get outside of ourselves at a restaurant, right? So, we forget that we have a, we're kind of ahead floating on some sort of body, but, you know, we forget about that for a while.

Rita Black: So when you sit in the chair or the booth, take a breath and, you know, center yourself. Be in your body for a second and remember that vision of you leaving that restaurant filling light, lean, and centered. So you're bringing that back to your brain, okay? And order some water first, maybe sparkly water, whatever kind of water, but just order some waters hydrate and have that be your first order. And here's the thing about bread and chips. They don't really even serve them anymore, at least where I live in LA. They make you pay for them, but maybe where you live, they still like, they, they still treat you like they did in the old days and bring some bread and bring some chips to the table. So with regards to that, you can tell them to take it away or, you know, you can, I've had some clever clients who've told me, like they go to a Mexican food restaurant and you know, they wanna bring 'em this big old bowl of chips, which, you know, you're gonna plow through in like five seconds and then order another one.

Rita Black: And then by the time they bring dinner, you're just like so full of chips. So I had a client told me the biggest and best tip ones, well there's lots of great tips for this, but the one I loved was she's, she asked herself ahead of time. So again, she sat down with her inner coach. She was like, how many chips do I need to really feel like I've eaten chips and enjoyed them but not over indulged? And the number was seven. So she told the waiter, she, everybody else had their own like big old thing of chips and she just said, can you bring me a separate chip basket with seven chips in it? And the waiter kinda looked at her staring, she goes, just indulge me. And he did. And everybody kind of laughed at her, but they were like, when after they had plowed through two bowls of chips and she had had her seven and ate them really slowly and broke them up and, you know, enjoyed the salsa, enjoyed it, and she still had room for her dinner and felt light and lean.

Rita Black: They were all like, oh my God, I wish you had done what you did. You know? So you know, think that through ahead of time and you know, I could tell you many other stories and I will in future podcasts about mindless eating at restaurants and bread and stuff like that. But that's, that's a good enough story. Now don't be afraid of the waiter. Ask for what you need and order last if you're embarrassed. So don't be afraid. So many people are afraid of the waiter. They don't wanna upset the waiter. You know, waiters are opposers, waiters are not people to be afraid of. Honestly, I was a waiter and I worked in a, you know, rest restaurants in New York. I worked in restaurants in Los Angeles in Bell Air. You know, I waitressed, you know, in the best, the best restaurants and in the worst restaurants.

Rita Black: And one thing I will say is that you can really ask for what you want and the waiter will give it to you. You know, and you know, many times I've asked the waiter, I'll say, look, I don't, this is what I want. I don't, I see this is on the menu. I see you have arugula and I see cuz like a lot of times you go into restaurants and you think the salad is a healthy choice. But if you imagine taking away the lettuce leaves from all the other things like the cheese and the candied nuts, and I mean, literally, I, most restaurants I go into and all the salads have like really heavy goopy stuff on a few lettuce leaves, right? And I have to laugh so hard because if you remove the lettuce leaves, probably that stuff on the plate would be far more calories than any of the entrees.

Rita Black: So and, and once you put the dressing on and all of that stuff, so I will say, I see you have this, you know, this particular thing like asparagus and that you have over here and you have arugula. And, and I'll just say, can you assemble these various things together on a play for me? I'll pay, you know, or I'll or if I don't make my own thing, I'll say, you know, I see this is five ounces, or, or I mean, sorry, 12 ounces. Can you bring me five ounces or can you wrap half of it up for me and bring it to me in a doggy bag? So I don't have a whole thing. I mean, I do not fear advocating for yourself. You can, they can say no to you if,, but I think that one thing that we have to be when we walk into a restaurant is our own best friend.

Rita Black: And you have to start to create an identity for yourself. Like, I take care of myself, I ask for what I need, and without being a pain in the you can be very gracious about it. And I have a, I have asked for many things over the years and you know, like I said, I, you know, people at my dinner table will kind of look at me and roll their eyes out. There goes Rita, but people, I am telling you, because chefs will get orders for these, you know, things I put together. I'll put, you know, some veggies, some grilled veggies on the plate and put, you know, some shrimp on top and then put the you know, bring me your, your salsa and, and put that around. And everybody at the restaurant will be like, where is that on the menu?

Rita Black: I want that, that looks amazing. And people, you know, stop laughing at me when I get what I want. So you know, I had those kinds of people ask me for what they wanted and I respected them, you know? Yeah. Was it like, okay, but I respected them. I was like, wow, they are really taking care of themselves. So don't what the waiter is thinking about you is none of your business. Just ask for what you need and get it. And don't be afraid. Ask for things on the side. Don't be afraid to ask for smaller portions. Look, I've, as a joke, asked for one chicken wing on a plate just to prove my point to my friends. And the waiter did it, you know, and my friends were all like, wow.

Rita Black: So ask for what you need. So when the food comes, take a breath, take another breath and center yourself before diving into the food because it's very, very easy for us again to be caught up in the conversation, caught up in the moment, and not even be in, not even experience the food as you're eating it. So take that breath, look at the food, look at how much of the food is yours, and look at how much of the food you wanna leave. Like, and again, some, you know, tactics, I guess these would be you know, restaurant eating tactics 101 would be to have the way to bring you all plates. And I, I mean, I love just eating family style. Not even just Chinese food, but all sorts of, you know, I I like to say if there's four people order three dishes and then a salad and a vegetable so that you can all, you know, have little bits of the dinners and you can serve yourself how much you want or need.

Rita Black: I do this a lot with friends now because we all want to eat less. And you know, it's, that's the rule of thumb is like to order one dish dish less than there are people and then compensate maybe with a salad or side veggie or both. So but if you're, you're ordering an entree for yourself, maybe you can ask for a plate and just put on your plate what you want to eat, or have the waiter, you know, like wrap up half before you come in, just because restaurant servings, I remember in the seventies when I was growing up and we only ate out every once in a while, you know, when you ate out, you could see the white on the plate in between the food, you know, there, there was literally an ice cream scoop of, I remember going to Iver's Salmon house, like that was like the big treat place.

Rita Black: And they would literally have a scoop, an ice cream scoop of a gratin, potatoes, you know, a little piece of salmon, a little piece of cornbread, and it was like on this big white plate. But now you go and the plate is full. So, you know, think about that. I had a client who lost a hundred pounds and she got really good. She ate out all the time. She would take that breath and look at, you know, she would kind of draw a little line with a knife in the food, you know, half all the different things on her plate. And she, she would say, this half belongs to me and this half belongs to the restaurant. So she just visually kind of segmented things before she started, and she ate slowly and mindfully. And that's gonna be my next thing is to eat slowly, eat, then talk, then eat.

Rita Black: So eat, focus on the food, enjoying it, and then have a chat, and don't be eating while you're chatting. And then go back to eating. Touch your stomach. Hmm, how, you know, like how full am I getting? So that you're staying connected to yourself throughout the eating experience. And when you're done, when you have had enough, I would suggest, this is my trick, I get up and I go to the restroom just to break the food spell because it's very easy to stay with a half eaten plate of food and then start picking at it. But if you get up and use the restroom go wash your face take a breath, kind of, you know, even if you're sitting in there in the restaurant, I mean, sorry, in the restroom, you get that sort of breath on your own. You, your brain gets to calm down for a moment.

Rita Black: You get to have that little conversation with yourself. Like, okay, I've finished dinner. What are my plans? When are, you know, and you can just kind of have a plan to go back out, finish your dinner if you're gonna have, you know, a few bites of dessert. Okay, cool. But that would be a great time to make a plan with yourself. And yeah, and if you are gonna order dessert with the table, you know, everybody, I think a lot of now nowadays people will split desserts, but the three bite rule is very helpful. Three bites after three bites, the taste experience goes down substantially. So just really enjoy those three bites. And the same thing if you're gonna order a decadent side dish for the table you can have some, but you know, those three bites are gonna probably be enough for you.

Rita Black: And then last but not least, after dinner. So some of you might not struggle at all with eating after eating out, but sometimes I get clients and I myself have done this where I was ashamed to eat, especially when I was overweight, eat a lot at a meal when I'm out with other people, I always ordered the salad and I had a lot of food shame, like eating in front of people, food shame. And so I would eat really not so much while I ate out, and then I would come home and pig out. So or I would go out and eat and then I'd get into that, oh, I blew it, so I might as well eat everything inside that's not nailed down when I go home. And then I'll start again tomorrow. So have a plan also for those of you who are like me for when you come home, maybe plan to have a cup of herbal tea.

Rita Black: Have a plan to not even go to the kitchen, but to go upstairs and pet your dog and read a book or take a bath or, or something. But have a plan because I think thinking it through ahead of time again is gonna help your brain set a different course for you ahead of time. And you know, if you plan to have a cup of tea or something, or a glass of water, then go brush your teeth and just be done for the day. And remember you guys, it's not about being good while you're at a restaurant, but it's who you are becoming. You are becoming a powerful weight master who dines out not some weight struggler who's trying to be good at a restaurant. You're somebody who masters dining out in a way that allows them to live their life at their ideal weight.

Rita Black: Okay? So here is a quick little vision exercise for you. This isn't gonna be a meditation, but this is something you can do with yourself. So before you go out, I want you to imagine going backwards from the restaurant experience. So it's called reverse engineering. You've probably heard that term, but you are gonna reverse engineer. You're gonna go from how you wanna feel leaving that restaurant. So just really imagine leaving that restaurant, how do you wanna feel in your stomach? How do you wanna feel in your whole body? How do you wanna feel in your mind, confident, light, good, aligned with yourself, right? So get yourself into that feeling then in the, in the vision so that your body actually feels that positive emotion. And the body's like in the mind. It's like, yes, I want that. Let's create that so that then your brain can go to work for you to draw you towards that experience rather than feeling gross and horrible and awful.

Rita Black: And why did I eat that? And remorseful. So how do you wanna feel leaving? And then reverse backwards thinking about the actions you wanna take. Maybe imagine the waiter coming around and offering you a second or a third glass of wine and you're saying No thank you. Just imagine that. Imagine your friend saying, should we order two desserts? Or one? Imagine saying, ah, just one or maybe none. Imagine yourself looking at the menu and making that healthy choice, seeing what actions you're gonna take while you're there. Imagine yourself sitting and having a powerful conversation with somebody, and that's being the most enjoyable part of the meal. See yourself working backwards from that, sitting down at the meal and taking that breath and centering yourself. See yourself preparing as you go into the restaurant. Maybe eating a little something before you head in some protein.

Rita Black: I always eat like a little yogurt, like a little Greek yogurt or something just to coat my stomach so I'm not starved. And then, you know, star, if I'm starved, I'm making different choices from the menu. I am alcohol's hitting my stomach and it's, it's creating a show for me. I, you know, so eating a little bit beforehand, such a great idea. A little, have a little jerky Turkey jerky or vegan jerky or whatever, some protein in your glove compartment, something that doesn't go bad. Some nuts, something that will stabilize you. It doesn't have to be a lot of calories. Just a little bit goes a long way. See yourself sitting down with your inner coach and heading into that and have that be your starting point. That powwow with your inner coach before you head in that pow that you have in the moment when you sit down at the table, okay, I'm aligning with that vision and then enjoying that eating out experience.

Rita Black: And it might seem like this is all barita, this is so much work just to go out and eat, but believe me, it is a lot more work to struggle with yourself, struggle with your weight. And I have clients who are like, I think about food and my weight and all of it, all freaking day long. And I'm telling you, when you start to use your thin thinking in this way, yes, in the beginning, it takes some concerted effort and time. It takes you showing up for yourself. And this is a stretch for everyone. But I'm telling you, when you start doing this and start mastering these situations, which used to undo you in the old days, man makes all the difference in life. Well, here's your build. No, all the difference in the world. 15% yourself, the world, maybe 20. Ah-Huh. Well remember to subscribe everyone and start implementing these. We have a lot more than thinking strategies coming your way this summer, but I hope these restaurant strategies were helpful for you and have an amazing week coming up. Remember that the key and probably the only key to unlocking the door, the weight struggle is inside you. So keep listening and find it, and I will see you next week.

Rita Black: You wanna dive deeper into the mindset of long-term weight release, head on over to www.shiftweight That's www.shiftweight, where you'll find numerous tools and resources to help you unlock your mind for permanent weight release tips, strategies, and more. And be sure to check the show notes to learn more about my book From Fat to Thin Thinking. Unlock Your Mind for Permanent Weight loss.